<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://q.quora.com/_/ad/bdd9d941ae754c498fe2d2326d029ffa/pixel?tag=ViewContent&amp;noscript=1">

How Can I Pay for College with Bad Credit?

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories

If you are a parent of a soon-to-be college aged student, and you have bad credit, you might be worried that it will affect your ability to pay for your child’s college education.

With a low credit score, the rate at which you receive a loan, how much money you can borrow, or even receiving a loan at all may be limited.

But even with bad credit there are a few ways you can set your child up for success and pay for college.

Yes, You Can Still Take Out a Loan

While your options may be limited, yes you can take out a loan when you have bad credit.

You can consider taking out federal or private student loans, and you can take out two if you and your child file as separate borrowers. As a parent, your credit score will only be taken into account on the loan under your name.

There are organizations that are willing to work with borrowers with bad credit, but be sure to read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.

Private loans do check your credit before granting a loan, but some will allow a co-signer on the loan, who would be held responsible if you defaulted on the loan. A grandparent or other trusted relative or friend could be a good option as a co-signer, if they’re willing.

Another good option is federal loans. When applying for a federal loan, your credit score is not actually taken into account. You will have to fill out your FAFSA, though, which takes into account your income and assets.

Look Into Tuition Discounts and Scholarships

Depending on the school your child plans to attend, your child  may qualify for tuition discounts, grants, or work-study programs. There are also scholarships from either the school or that they can apply to receive from local organizations.

Start by checking with the school your child plans to attend. The school will often offer need-based financial aid, and they’ll use your FAFSA form to determine this. Then, look into scholarships based on merit that your child may be eligible for.

Merit based scholarships are purely based on your child’s achievement, not income. Schools will often require you to submit a one-page application to be considered.

Private merit-based scholarships may require more, such as essays and a questionnaire. While it does take more work, if your child is a high-achiever, these extra scholarships can be key to helping your family afford college.

Also ask your local high school if there are any scholarships your student may qualify for.

Don’t Borrow More than You Can Pay Back

While you may want to help your child attend his or her dream school, spending more than you can afford on college will likely only hurt your credit score further.

By borrowing more than you can afford to pay back, you may default or go further into debt, therefore decreasing your credit score.

It’s important to have a conversation at the beginning of the college application process about what colleges you and your family can actually afford and the plan to pay for them.

Paying for College Yourself with Bad Credit

If you’re the student and the one shouldering the cost of paying for college, you too can still pay for your education.

Look mostly into federal loans, where your credit is not taken into account, and take the time to apply to merit-based scholarships that can help supplement the cost.

Edmit's advice helps you to be better off after graduation.

  • Merit and financial aid estimates based on your student profile
  • Earnings estimates and financial scores for your college and major
  • Recommendations to save thousands on college

Sign up for updates

Popular Tags

Financial Aid and Scholarships* Cost of College* paying for college financial aid FAFSA Student Loans* grants and scholarships federal student loans Saving for College* Salary and Career* college tuition 529 plan cost of attendance expected family contribution private student loans college financial planning financial aid award taxes career college savings plan room and board on-campus housing merit scholarships budgeting for college college expenses federal financial aid merit-based financial aid private universities public universities edmit hidden gems edmit team college costs parent PLUS loan college applications living expenses CSS profile education expenses financial need income application fees career fit choosing a major financial aid appeal off-campus housing choosing a college college majors loan forgiveness affordable college degree programs loan repayment repayment plans researching careers student loan assistance student loan debt work-study application fee waivers career exploration college search coronavirus edmit scholarship institutional aid net price private scholarships SAT career goals college visits in-state tuition prepaid tuition plans ACT budget free tuition international students internships need-based financial aid need-blind colleges qualified higher education expenses retirement savings school-based scholarships southern colleges standardized testing tuition discount tuition guarantee tuition payment plans 401k UGMA UTMA applying to college college financial health college ranking systems college spending college transfers credit score discretionary income distance learning education savings accounts fees financial literacy full ride scholarship gap year grants health insurance options investment ivy league schools liberal arts degree meal plans midwestern colleges need-aware colleges out-of-state tuition saving state aid tuition increases western colleges 568 presidents group Inversant MEFA asset protection allowance best price campus life college advisor college credits college deposit college viability community college concurrent enrollment cost by region cost by state crowdfunding dorms early decision educational expenses esports fee waivers financial wellness for-profit universities fraternities and sororities full tuition graduate school home equity loan income share agreements job applications line of credit lists medical expenses medical school military benefits net price calculators new england colleges non-profit universities online learning online tuition out-of-state students percent need met private college consultant remote learning self-assessment siblings small business state schools student bank accounts student organizations subsidized loans title IV schools travel expenses tuition decreases tuition insurance tuition reciprocity undocumented students unsubsidized loans work-based learning