Your credit rating will be taken into account when applying for private student loans, and certain federal student loans take your financial situation into account as well. The best way to get poor credit student loans is by taking some extra time to compare your options and negotiate with loan providers.
Before taking private loans into account, exhaust all your options with federal loans and financial aid. If you have poor credit, federal PLUS loans will require a cosigner. Stafford loans, on the other hand, do not require a cosigner or credit check and, if you qualify, you can get a need-based subsidized loan.
Apply for any financial aid you may qualify for and seriously consider whether you can make it on the combination of financial aid and federal loans. If you have no credit or bad credit, getting private student loans will be difficult, but if it’s necessary to get an education, it will be worth the effort.
If you have a cosigner, getting a loan won’t be too difficult with no credit. Having a cosigner with good credit can make up for having bad credit. This is the easiest way to get a credit-based student loan, and will allow you to obtain private loans as well as federal PLUS loans. This cosigner has to be someone who really believes in you, however, because if you default on the loan, debt collectors will come to them for payment.
If you have credit which is bad or under par for private lenders, and still need money to continue your education beyond what federal loans can pay, you have two different options.
You can start making calls. Private lenders all have lending specialists who will answer your questions by phone or even by email or online chat. You can call a variety of different lenders and compare and contrast payment plans and requirements. Some lenders will simply say no if you have bad credit, but lending is profitable business and lenders often have some leeway to negotiate. Take detailed notes on all lenders’ offers and make them bid against each other. Even with bad credit, you may find that they are willing to compete for your business.
Another option is to actually increase your credit, either before going to school or before taking out private loans. If you can get through a year or two on federal loans, and you’re willing to study half time and work, you can build up better credit or take care of old debts while you study. In addition to paying off debts, you can use any extra money to make it easier to get by on that federal loan. If you’re not going to be able to work and study at the same time or if federal loans won’t cover your cost of living, you can take a year or two off before studying and work to build up your credit, then go to school when you are eligible for a loan.
Don’t stop looking; poor credit student loans can be found. You may end up paying higher interest rates, but getting an education is worth it.