Plus other factors providers look at when borrowing for school.
What credit score do I needs for a student loan?
The credit score you need to get a student loan depends on the type you’re applying for.
Federal student loans don’t have a minimum credit score. In fact, you don’t need a credit score at all to qualify for a loan from the Direct Loan program.
The only time your credit history might come into play is if you apply for a loan through the Direct PLUS program. With a Direct PLUS Loan, you could be required to undergo credit counseling, bring on a creditworthy endorser or provide a written explanation if you have negative marks on your credit report. But even with PLUS Loans, there is no set minimum credit score.
Private student loans
You generally need good to excellent credit to qualify for a private student loan. Most lenders require borrowers to have a credit score of at least 670 — sometimes even higher.
Students often can’t meet this requirement on their own, especially undergraduates. But private lenders typically allow you to bring on a parent or another creditworthy adult to cosign your loan.
Here are some of the minimum credit requirements from top student loan providers:
|Private student loan provider||Minimum credit score|
|CommonBond||700||Go to site button|
|LendingTree||680||Go to site button|
|EDvestinU||675||Go to site button|
|Advantage Education Loan||670||Read review|
Compare more private student loans
Do I need good credit to get a student loan?
No. You can apply for federal loans if you have bad credit. And if you have a creditworthy cosigner, you could qualify for most private student loans.
Don’t have a cosigner? Some providers offer alternative student loans that take your grades into account rather than your credit score. A few providers like Boro offer other types of loans for students, which you can use to cover expenses student loans won’t — like buying a car.
What other factors do private student loan providers consider?
Having a good credit score isn’t the only factor that private lenders take into account when you apply for a loan. Most also look at you or your cosigner’s:
- Income. Typically, you need to make at least $25,000 a year to qualify for a private loan, though some minimum income requirements can be as high as $40,000.
- Credit history. Some lenders also look at how long you’ve been paying off debt in addition to your credit score.
- Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Many lenders weigh how much you have available after paying your bills and debt obligations each month — even if they don’t advertise it. A DTI above 45% typically makes you ineligible for most loans.
- Age. You might be required to be the age of majority in your state even if you apply with a cosigner — though not always. Usually this means you must be older than 18.
- School. Most private lenders only work with a limited number of schools. You might have trouble qualifying if you don’t go to a university where federal loans are available.
- Enrollment. You generally need to be at least a half-time student to be eligible for any type of student loan.
3 tips to improve your credit rating
Have some time before applying for or cosigning a student loan? You might want to take some of these steps to boost your credit score for even better rates:
- Limit your credit card debt. It can be easy to let those balances add up with such low minimum payments. But using up your credit limit can lower your credit score.
- Pick a debt repayment strategy. If you’re struggling with a loan or credit card balance, consider using the avalanche or snowball method to tackle your debts.
- Take out a credit-builder loan. These small-dollar short-term loans come with low rates and are designed to diversify your credit report while also building up an emergency fund. You can typically find them at community banks or credit unions.
You don’t necessarily need to have a specific credit score to qualify for a student loan. Federal loans are available to borrowers of all credit types. And even with private lenders, you usually have the option to apply with a cosigner to meet its credit requirements.
Read our guide to student loans to compare lenders and learn more about how they work.