In today’s ultra-competitive economy, having the right educational credentials means the difference between pursuing the well-paid career of your dreams and being stuck with low-paid, unfulfilling work. As automation increasingly eliminates jobs requiring less skill and training, the educational imperative becomes more and more urgent. In many fields, a 4-year degree is the most basic qualification. Many fields require an advanced degree.

As a young student, you lack the credit history to qualify for many types of credit, including many student loans. For many students about to apply for college, this can be daunting, especially if they lack the resources to pay tuition and expenses on their own. With an education having become so crucial, it’s important to know that there are 4 ways to obtain the school loans you need, even with no credit or poor credit.

Federal student loans

The federal government provides these loans directly. As such, there are no credit criteria. The only conditions are that you have been accepted to an accredited school, have registered with the selective service, if required, and have no convictions for certain drug offenses.

The amount that you can borrow is limited. It may cover tuition at a community college or inexpensive state school, but it won’t come close to covering tuition at more expensive schools or room and board. To make up the difference, your parents can apply for a PLUS Loan. If attending a more expensive institution, financial aid beyond federal loans are necessary, unless you have a college fund to rely on. Private student loans can fill the gap between the cost of attendance and federal student loan eligibility.

Be declared an independent student

In normal circumstances, you have to be at least 24 years old or in graduate school to qualify as an independent student; however, if your parents are unable to qualify for a PLUS loan, you can request designation as an independent student, which allows you to borrow the PLUS loan amount yourself.

Have a cosigner for a private student loans

When the federal loan amounts fall short, private student loans are a convenient and fast method to get you into the school of your choice. By using online lending sites, you can instantly connect with multiple lenders and search for the loan program that works best for you. By searching the rates and terms available from a multitude of banks and credit unions, you can calculate your budget during school and the loan payments after graduation.

A cosigner is required for students with limited or poor credit histories. Though this adds an additional step to the application process, it works to your advantage. Having a cosigner allows you to qualify for more money, lower interest rates, and more advantageous terms.

Build credit history

Finally, when you take out a private student loan, you build your credit profile, which helps you obtain better lending alternatives in the future. For example, building your credit profile allows you to receive additional loans for graduate school. A positive credit history also qualifies you for car loans, credit cards, and, eventually, a home mortgage loan.

A college education has become a necessity in an economy where so many well-paying jobs require advanced training. By obtaining student loans, you build a positive credit history. This prepares you for your career and for your future borrowing needs.

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