How to Get Student Loans With No Credit Check
It’s possible to get student loans with no credit check—you just have to know the options available to you. In addition to most federal student loans, you might find some state-based student loans and even a few private student loans that consider borrowers with a limited credit history.
When you need to borrow money for school, you might be interested in obtaining no credit check student loans. Getting student loans without a credit inquiry could be important to you if you have bad credit or if you simply haven’t had time to build credit because you’re too young.
The good news is that you have options to obtain loans, even if your credit history isn’t likely to impress a lender. You just need to understand the financing choices available to you. This four-step guide will tell you what you need to know.
On this page:
- Federal Student Loans With No Credit Check
- State-Based Student Loans With No Credit Check
- Private Student Loans With No Credit Check
Identify Options for No Credit Check Student Loans
If you need no credit check student loans, your best option is to borrow from the federal government. You will need to get loans from the government because private student loans are generally available only from lenders who confirm both that your credit is good and that you have proof of income.
The U.S. Department of Education offers federal student loans through the Direct Loan Program to eligible undergrads and graduate students, regardless of credit history. Options for student loans you might be eligible for—even with bad credit or no credit—include:
- Subsidized Direct Loans: These are available to undergraduates with demonstrated financial need, regardless of proof of income or credit score. Interest is subsidized for students while they’re still in school, during the repayment grace period, and if loans are put into deferment after graduation.
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans: These are available both to undergraduates and graduate or professional students. Income and credit score do not matter, and neither does financial need for this type of loan. Interest is not subsidized, though, and continues to accrue while in school.
While there is also another type of federal loan—PLUS Loans—available to grad students and parents of undergraduate college students, these loans are not available to people with adverse credit histories. That means a credit check would be required.
Complete Your FAFSA
In order to be eligible for student loans without a credit inquiry, you must complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Your FAFSA can not only open the door to getting Direct Loans with no credit check required, but it is also necessary to become eligible for many additional types of financial aid including state student loans, as well as certain scholarships and grants.
You can complete your FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov after creating a free online account. You’ll need to provide some basic financial information about you and, if you’re a dependent undergraduate, about your family as well.
Although you must put in your Social Security number when you complete the FAFSA, the purpose of this form isn’t to check your credit. It is to assess how much money you and your family can contribute to education costs and determine what types of financial aid you’ll be eligible for.
Borrow the Maximum From Direct Loans and Your State
When you complete your FAFSA, information is sent to the schools you’ve applied to or been accepted at. The schools will put together a financial aid package that is sent to you. This details the amount of Direct Loans available, as well as other sources of financial aid, such as work study or grants.
You should always exhaust free sources of funds, such as grants and scholarships, first. But once you need to borrow, it makes sense to take Direct Loans first before other types of loans. Direct Loans have a low fixed interest rate and origination fee set by the government, in addition to offering generous borrower protections. They will be the most affordable solution for educational financing—and may be your only solution if you need student loans without a credit check.
Unfortunately, students are limited in the amount they’re eligible to borrow. There are both annual and aggregate limits, and depending upon your financial aid package, you may not even be able to borrow the maximum. This may mean it’s difficult or impossible for you to get enough money to go to school by only applying for student loans that don’t require good credit.
Look Into State-Specific Solutions
Some, but not all, states operate student loan programs you could also take advantage of without having your credit checked.
While some states require credit checks to qualify for loans (and even impose minimum credit score requirements), many others focus on financial need or residency rather than whether you have a positive credit history.
For example, in Massachusetts, college students could take advantage of the No Interest Loan Program, which provides loans up to $4,000 per academic year based on financial need.
Permanent legal residents of Massachusetts are eligible if they meet certain requirements, such as enrolling full-time at an eligible institution and if they have not defaulted on student loans in the past. There are no credit score requirements imposed.
There may be loan programs in your state that are similar and will provide you with loans for school even if your credit is poor or you have no credit. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators provides a link to state financial aid programs so you can research options where you live.
Your school’s financial aid office is also a great source of information.
Private Student Loan Options
If you’ve exhausted both federal and state loan options and you still don’t have enough money to pay for school, you’ll have no choice but to try to obtain private student loans to cover any additional costs you can’t afford.
Private student loans work differently than federal loans. Not only do private student loans offer you fewer borrower protections, but interest rates and qualifying requirements vary from one private lender to another.
However, all private loan lenders want to make sure you’ll pay back the loan. This means they’ll check your qualifications—including your credit score and income. If you don’t have a good credit score, you may not qualify for a loan unless you add a cosigner.
There are, however, lenders that offer student loans for those without a cosigner, many of which are listed below as well.
Some private lenders are more willing than others to overlook poor credit or to look at the big picture of your financial situation when deciding whether to give you a loan. Finding one of these lenders could make it possible to get approved for financing even with an imperfect score or no credit history, but it will take some shopping around.
Here are a few examples of some lenders that might be willing to work with you.
Funding University offers student loans to undergraduates with no cosigner requirements. Unlike many private lenders, Funding University focuses not on your credit history but instead on whether your academic achievements suggest you’re likely to repay your loan.
Students can apply online and become pre-qualified for a loan in just two minutes. Funding University offers:
- Fixed interest rate loans to students
- Eligibility based on academic records, including class hours completed, estimated date of graduation, internship and employment experience, and involvement in activities that demonstrate a student is working hard towards professional goals.
- Loan amounts range from $3,001 to $10,000 annually in eligible states
- 10-year repayment plan
- Loans can be used to pay for undergraduate students to earn a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- Getting pre-qualified from Funding University won’t affect your credit score. But if you get approved and decide to borrow, the lender will check your credit report in the underwriting process to verify the debt and prevent fraud. Monthly payments will also be reported to the credit bureaus.
Ascent Student Loans
Ascent offers both cosigned student loans and independent loans for full-time juniors, seniors, and graduate students. While creditworthiness is considered, it is not the only factor, so many students can get approved even without a high credit score.
Loan terms include:
- Fixed or variable interest rate loans
- Eligibility is based on creditworthiness, graduation date, cost of attendance, major, and school program. Ascent works to make loans available to students who do not have a cosigner, as well as to borrowers with a qualifying cosigner
- Students can borrow up to 100 percent of the cost of tuition and living expenses; minimum $2,000 up to $200,000 (aggregate)
- Flexible 10- or 15-year repayment terms
- Must be a U.S. citizen or have U.S. permanent resident status
- Students without a cosigner can borrow to fund their junior year, senior year, or graduate program
MPower offers loans to students in the United States with legal status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). It also offers loans to international students who are studying in the United States.
Loan terms include:
- Fixed interest rate loans
- Eligibility not based on collateral or credit history; no cosigner is required
- Students can borrow between $2,001 and $50,000
- Up to 1.5% interest rate discount available
- 10-year repayment term
- Students can borrow only for the last two years of their program of study
Using a Cosigner to Qualify for Private Student Loans With No Credit Check
If your credit isn’t good enough to qualify on your own, asking a family member or close friend to cosign for private student loans could provide some benefits.
While cosigning is a big responsibility because the cosigner is responsible for repaying the debt if the primary borrower can’t, many parents and other relatives are willing to cosign to make going to school possible.
You Can Find Student Loans Without a Credit Inquiry If You Know Where to Look
By starting with federal student loans and considering a cosigner for any private loans you need, you should be able to get the financing you need to fund your education even if your credit isn’t perfect. Just leave yourself plenty of time to shop around among lenders.
You can also take steps to try to build or improve credit, such as getting a student credit card and paying bills on time. By improving your own credit score, you might be able to qualify for private loans in the future that will allow you to pay for costs that Direct Loans and state-provided loans don’t cover.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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