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A student loan can be a great tool to pay for an undergraduate degree or graduate program, it can also be accompanied by a credit check. But there are also no student loans available for credit check.
Here’s a look at student loans that require a credit check (and other options if your credit is less than stellar):
The only loans available without a credit check are federal loans
Federal student loans are the only student loans that do not come with a credit check. These loans are guaranteed by the US government and you can apply for them by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA).
Here are the types of federal student loans that do not require a credit check:
- Subsidized direct loans: Subsidized loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. With these loans, the government covers the interest charges while you are in school. After you graduate, interest rates are kept low by the government.
- Direct unsubsidized loans: Unsubsidized loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students, and they do not take into account financial need. Unlike subsidized loans, non-subsidized loans immediately begin to earn interest. But they can still be a great deal if you have to borrow for school.
Federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans do not require a credit check. Instead, your school’s financial aid office will offer you financial aid based on your FAFSA results.
While you don’t need a credit score to qualify for most federal student loans, there are other important requirements to know. Here’s what you need to be eligible for federal student loans:
- A valid social security number
- Selective service registration (male students aged 18 to 25)
- Eligible citizenship or legal resident status
- High school diploma, GED or equivalent
- Enrollment in an eligible college, university or trades program
- FAFSA signed and completed
- Satisfactory academic progress (meets school GPA requirements)
- In good standing with existing loans
PLUS loans are another type of federal loan available to graduate students and parents. Unlike subsidized and unsubsidized loans, PLUS loans require a credit check. Keep in mind that if you have excellent credit, PLUS loans could be more expensive than private student loans.
Finally, don’t forget to look at free financial aids, such as scholarships and college grants. Unlike student loans, you don’t have to repay this type of assistance.
Learn more: 7 of the best student loans for bad credit
Most private student loan lenders require a credit check
Although most federal student loans do not require a credit check, private student lenders will examine your credit before issuing a new loan. Here’s a quick overview of how your credit is used to approve a private student loan:
- Get your loan rate: You can usually check your rate by filling out a short form that allows the lender to quickly examine your credit, along with other factors. This usually involves a smooth credit check, which won’t impact your credit score.
- Full subscription: If you like the rate and terms that you get by completing the short application, you can submit a full application. The lender will then examine your credit, income, and repayment capacity to make a final decision.
It’s a good idea to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. With Credible, you can easily check your rates with multiple lenders by filling out just one form. Plus, there is no credit check when checking rates, which means your credit score won’t be affected. Once you have decided to go ahead with a lender and apply for credit, the lender will perform a thorough credit check and this will impact your credit score.
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Have Bad Credit or No Credit? It’s time to have a co-signer
If federal loans, grants, and scholarships aren’t enough to fully cover your education costs, private loans could help close the gap. Even if you have bad or no credit, you may still be eligible for a private student loan with a creditworthy co-signer.
Whatever you decide, be sure to compare as many private student lenders as possible in order to get the right loan for your situation. You can view your rates from multiple lenders in as little as three minutes using Credible, including co-signer and non-co-signer loans.