Do Student Loans Build Your Credit?

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Lucy Lazarony

By Lucy Lazarony

April 30, 2020

Student loan debt causes many people to have financial stress. But if you are making payments every month on-time, student loans may be helping build your credit in a positive way.

Those student loan payments that you are hustling to pay each month are helping to build up your credit history. Continue to stay the course with on-time payments and you will give your credit a boost.

On-Time Payments

It can’t be emphasized enough. Making on-time payments on every one of your student loans is good for your credit. On-time payments account for 35% of your credit score. Sign up for auto payments to ensure you never miss a payment. Many lenders even offer a small interest rate deduction if you are on auto pay.

Total Debt 

The amount of debt that you carry is part of your credit score as well. Amounts owed account for 30% of your credit score. Student loans can make up a big chunk of this section for many college grads.

Having a Mix of Credit 

Mix of credit makes up 10% of a credit score so in addition to credit cards and car loans you will have a big chunk of student loans in your mix of credit. Having a mix of payment types is good for your credit score, and having student loans in the mix is a good addition.

Credit History

Length of credit history makes up 15% of your payment history and those student loans with 10 years or more of payment history will help you to build up a lengthy credit history, which is good for your credit score.

As you can see, how you manage your student loans has a big impact on your credit score. Paying on-time, every time is the best thing you can do for your credit.

If you are finding it difficult to make payments, you may have the option to enroll in a payment plan based on your income if you have federal loans. You can also apply for an unemployment deferment or economic hardship deferment if you lose your job. 

If you are struggling to make payments on private student loans, you can consider refinancing to a lower interest rate and a more reasonable payment amount, something you can manage each month without a great deal of financial strain. But keep in mind that refinancing federal student loans means a loss in irreplaceable benefits, including possible federal loan forgiveness, potential for widespread loan cancellation, an option to make payments based on your income, and generous options for deferments. Consider the pros and cons of refinancing your private loans and if it’s right for you, Credible is a great tool for comparing multiple lenders at once.

Consider the ChangEd app to possibly pay down student debt sooner. It rounds up your purchases and puts that money towards your loans. You could even ask family members or friends to do the same. Learn how it works



At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.


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