What Credit Score Do I Need for Federal Student Loans?

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Kristen Kuchar

By Kristen Kuchar

April 26, 2021

Student loans can help you pay for college once you exhaust savings, scholarships, grants, and any other resources to fund your education. However, you do need to go through an application process for both federal and private student loans. If you are pursuing federal student loans, you may wonder, what credit score is required for these loans?

Good news on this. While you do need more than a minimum credit score for private student loans, there is no credit check when you apply for federal student loans.

If you are applying for federal student loans, you do not need to worry about having a minimum credit score. You don’t even need to worry about having a credit history, period. This could be a relief to majority of young college bound students who have no or limited credit. This is also a relief to borrowers who may not have the best credit.

Unlike for private student loans, your credit score will not affect the interest rate on your federal student loans. All federal student loan borrowers are offered the same interest rate, regardless of whether they have good or bad credit. You also will not need a cosigner for federal student loans, which is rare for private student loans.

However, Federal Parent PLUS loans and Federal Grad PLUS loans for graduate students do require the borrower to pass a modest credit check, but with no minimum credit score required.

To qualify for federal student loans, you do need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Federal Loans vs. Private Loans

The fact that there is no credit check or minimum credit score required for most federal student loans is just one of the many perks of federal student loans. Federal student loans are a better option over private student loans because they offer the following:

  • The potential for student loan forgiveness
  • An option to pause payments if you lose your job
  • An option to pause payments if you have an economic hardship
  • Subsidized federal loans (not all federal loans) do not accrue interest during deferment – the government pays it
  • The potential for widespread student loan forgiveness

Before you borrow any student loans, be sure you are exhausting all other options, including scholarships, grants, employer tuition assistance, tuition installment plans, student employment and other resources.

A good place to start:

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