Best bad credit student loans of June 2022

If you need money to pay for college and have bad credit or no credit history, exhaust your federal loan options first before considering a private student loan

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Having bad credit doesn't have to stop you from getting a student loan. (Shutterstock)

Bad credit or no credit history can make it difficult to get a private student loan. But taking out a private loan isn’t your only option.

If you must borrow for college, before you consider private student loans, you should exhaust all your federal loan options first. Most federal loans don't require credit checks.

Here's what you should know about taking out a student loan with bad credit.

Even with bad credit, you can find a private loan to fund your college education. Visit Credible to see your prequalified student loan rates from various private lenders, all in one place.

Best bad credit student loans

To qualify for a private student loan with bad credit, you may have to apply with a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who agrees to be responsible for repaying your loan if you're unable to make payments.

Some lenders allow you to release a cosigner after you've made a certain number of on-time payments. The release process varies by lender, but you typically have to submit a cosigner release application after making the required number of payments. Once submitted, a lender performs a credit check and reviews your income to assess your ability to repay the loan.

The following Credible partner lenders are some of the best private student loan lenders to consider if you have bad credit. 

1. Ascent

Ascent offers student loans up to $200,000 if you’re required to get a credit check. For its non-credit based loan, the maximum loan amount is $20,000. Ascent offers a wide range of payment terms, ranging from five to 20 years.

In addition, you can receive an interest rate discount if you enroll in autopay and a 1% cash back reward if you graduate within five years.

  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Terms: 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, and 20 years
  • Maximum loan amount: $200,000 
  • Cosigner release: After 24 months

2. INvestEd

If you plan on attending school in Indiana or you’re already a resident, INvestED may be worth considering. You can borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance, and InVestED’s repayment terms range from five to 15 years. 

  • Minimum credit score: 670
  • Terms: 5, 10, and 15 years
  • Maximum loan amount: Up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months



MEFA offers student loans to undergraduates and graduates who attend not-for-profit colleges or universities across the U.S. You can borrow from $1,500 up to your school’s cost of attendance (minus any financial aid you receive), and loan terms range from 10 to 15 years.

  • Minimum credit score: 670
  • Terms: 10 or 15 years
  • Maximum loan amount: Up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance (minus any financial aid received)
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months (15-year undergraduate loans)

Other lenders to consider

The following lenders are not Credible partners, so you won’t be able to easily compare your rates with them on the Credible platform. But they may also be worth considering if you’re looking for a student loan for bad credit. 

1. Earnest

Earnest offers student loans from $1,000 to $250,000. You can choose from a wide range of repayment terms ranging from five to 15 years. Plus, you’re allowed to skip up to one payment each year, which can help if you encounter financial trouble.

  • Minimum credit score: 650
  • Terms: 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 years
  • Maximum loan amount: Up to $250,000
  • Cosigner release: Not available

2. Funding U

Funding U only offers non-cosigner loans to undergraduate students. You can borrow up to $20,000, and the loan term is 10 years. There is no minimum credit score, but Funding U reviews your credit history. If you have collection accounts or missed payments on your credit reports, your loan application may be denied.

  • Minimum credit score: None
  • Terms: 10 years
  • Maximum loan amount: $20,000
  • Cosigner release: Only offers no cosigner student loans


Credible evaluated private student loan lenders in 10 different categories to determine the best lenders for graduate student loans. This included interest rates, repayment options, terms, fees, discounts, customer service availability, as well as eligibility requirements and cosigner release options.


How to take out a student loan with bad credit

If you believe taking out a student loan is the right move for your situation, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the FAFSA. For starters, complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help your school determine if you qualify for federal loans and other types of federal aid, such as the federal work-study program, scholarships, or grants. Federal loans come with access to benefits that private lenders don’t offer, such as income-driven repayment (IDR) plans and access to student loan forgiveness programs.
  2. Consider private student loans. Once you’ve exhausted your federal loan options, consider taking out a private loan to fill in any funding gaps. Compare loan terms and rates offered from at least three to five lenders to get the best deal for your unique financial situation.
  3. Add a cosigner. If you have bad credit, you’ll likely have a tough time qualifying for a private student loan on your own. And even if you do qualify, a lender will likely charge you a higher interest rate. You can boost your approval odds and chances of securing a lower interest rate by adding a cosigner who has good credit and a solid income.
  4. Improve your credit score. If you don't need a student loan right away or can't find a cosigner, boosting your credit before applying can increase your chances of qualifying on your own. You can do this by practicing good credit-building habits, like paying down any debt you have and paying all your bills on time. In addition, it's also a good idea to review your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for inaccuracies by visiting

If you’re ready to apply for a private student loan, Credible makes it easy to see your prequalified student loan rates from multiple lenders.