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What’s a good credit score to get a student loan?

Plus other factors providers look at when borrowing for school.

When it comes to student loans, your credit score doesn’t matter as much as it might with other types of financing. However, your options could be limited if you need private loans and don’t meet a lender’s credit requirements. Especially if you can’t find a creditworthy cosigner.

What credit score do I need for a student loan?

The credit score you need to get a student loan depends on the type you’re applying for.

Federal loans

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 providerMinimum credit score
CommonBond700Go to site button
LendingTree680Go to site button
EDvestinU675Go to site button
Advantage Education Loan670Read review
MEFA670Read review
RISLA680Read review

Compare more private student loans

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Stride Funding Income Share Agreement
As low as 2%
Up to $25,000
2 to 10 years
A student loan alternative for graduate students based on your future salary.
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. Find them at community banks or credit unions.

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

How good does my credit need to be to refinance my student loans?

Refinance your student loans with bad credit if you have a creditworthy cosigner. If you want to refinance on your own, you’ll likely need to have good credit to qualify and excellent credit to get a competitive deal.

What credit score do I need to take a cosigner off my loan?

It varies by lender, but often you need to meet the same requirements as your cosigner when you first applied for the loan. Want to learn more? Check out our guide to removing a cosigner from your student loan.

What’s the minimum credit score required for a Sallie Mae student loan?

Sallie Mae doesn’t advertise a fixed minimum credit score for its student loans. However, you generally need to have strong credit and personal finances to qualify — or a cosigner who does. Read our Sallie Mae student loans review to find out what other requirements you need to meet to qualify.

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