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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, 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 about getting student loans with no credit.
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.
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. 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 since 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.
State-Specific No Credit Check Options
Some states operate student loan programs you could also take advantage of without having your credit checked. These programs focus on financial need or residency rather than whether you have a positive credit history.
There may be loan programs in your state that will provide you with loans for school even if 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 Loans With No Credit Check
If you’ve exhausted both federal and state loan options and you still don’t have enough money to pay for school, you can try to obtain private student loans.
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.
All private lenders want to make sure you’ll pay back the loan. This means that 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 credit. In order to process your application, these lenders may still be required to run a credit check. Here are some of your options.
7.99% – 13.49%
$3,001 – $10,000
Up to 10 years
Funding U 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 without any effect on their 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.
3.17% – 14.92%
$1,000 – $20,000
10 or 15 years
The information above is for the Ascent Non-Cosigned Future Income-Based Loan.
Ascent offers non-cosigned student loans without credit requirements for juniors and seniors. You can check your pre-qualified rate without affecting your credit score. Upon graduation, Ascent offers a 1% cash back reward.
- Variable rates: 3.17% – 13.92%
- Fixed rates: 3.98% – 14.92%
- Rate reduction: 0.25% automatic payment discount
- Fees: None
- Repayment options: Deferred payment
- Grace period: 9 months
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 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.
If you decide to add a cosigner to your loan, check out our guide to the best private student loans. This way you can compare lenders with even lower rates.
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 necessary financing to fund your education. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to shop around among lenders.
You can also take steps to try to build or improve your credit. By improving your own credit score, you might be able to qualify for private loans with lower interest rates.
Author: Jeff Gitlen