Credit check for students

Do student loans affect your credit score?

Student loans are typically installment loans (like auto loans and mortgages), so they may appear on your credit report and affect your credit score. Over time, making loan payments may boost your score. Missed payments could hurt your score. Be in the know—get a free credit report today.

How Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score:


Payment history

You may not need to make payments while in school. Once they’re due, paying on time is key.


Debt-to-income ratio

Student loans may increase your debt-to-income ratio.


Length of history

Depending on your history, student loans may be some of your oldest accounts.


Credit mix

Your credit mix may change when you add more credit products alongside student loans.


Education Costs and Credit

Do student loans require a credit check?

Generally, no credit check is required for federal student loans—except for Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS loans.1 This means you may not need a minimum credit score or any credit history at all to borrow money for educational expenses. However, private student loans usually involve a credit check. While minimum credit scores and other eligibility requirements vary from lender to lender, qualifying for a low-interest private student loan may be harder if you have poor or no credit history.

How to Build Credit in College


Authorized User

Consider asking a guardian to add you to an existing credit card account in good standing.


Secured credit cards

These cards are backed by an upfront cash deposit and may help you build or rebuild credit.


Timely payments

Your payment history is an important factor that goes into your credit score.


Balance pay offs

You can often enhance your score by paying down existing debt.


Typically, student loan payments begin after you graduate. Until then, those loans are considered to be “deferred,” and they may not affect your payment history. However, student loans may appear on your credit report right away.

Most federal student loans (other than PLUS loans) don’t have a credit score or credit history requirements. Rules for private student loans may vary, but many lenders set a minimum score for you and/or a cosigner.

Generally, applying for a federal student loan (other than a PLUS loan) doesn’t involve any type of credit check. Applying for a private loan may result in a “hard inquiry” or “hard pull” which could temporarily shave a few points off your score.

Since student loans may impact your account age and credit mix, paying one off may cause a minor, temporary dip in your credit score. Your credit score will likely bounce back as long as you keep paying your other bills on time and in full.

More CreditWise Resources

Educate yourself about credit impact