If you want to go to college but you don't have established credit or you have bad credit, you should learn about how to pay for college with bad credit. Having a bad credit score can make it difficult to buy a home or a car, but it doesn't need to affect you paying for college. There are many government-funded grants and loans that don't even check your credit. Follow these steps to pay for college with bad credit.
Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out the FAFSA is the first step to paying for college with bad credit. In order to be eligible for any government funding of your college costs, you must fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA takes into account your financial information, your year in school and your martial status to determine which aid programs are applicable for you.
- Hope that you are eligible for a grant. The Pell Grant (for example) is an award that you don't have to repay. You will automatically be considered for a Pell Grant if you fill out the FAFSA. The maximum annual award is $5,550. The amount you get depends on a number of factors: your financial situation, the cost of your institution and whether you are attending part-time or full-time.
- Accept a Stafford Loan. These loans are the best option for paying for college with bad credit. There are no credit checks and you are automatically considered when you fill out your FAFSA. There are two types of Stafford Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on financial need and the government pays the interest while you are enrolled in school (and six months after). Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and they are available to all students (even if you are a millionaire). The difference is that unsubsidized loans will accrue a small amount of interest while you are in school. The amount you can borrow depends on your year in school and whether or not you are a dependent or independent student. First-year students who are not dependent on their parents can borrow up to $10,000 per year.
- Check with your institution for additional grants and loans. If the above steps still don't give you enough money, visit your school's financial aid office and they can help you with other forms of aid specific to your school. For example, many schools offer academic-based grants and emergency, short-term loans.