So even your regular bills, like the fees for your monthly streaming services, can help build your credit

So even your regular bills, like the fees for your monthly streaming services, can help build your credit

So even your regular bills, like the fees for your monthly streaming services, can help build your credit

Take out a credit card. You can definitely do damage to your credit with a credit card, but as long as you use it wisely and pay it on time (and ideally, in full), a credit card is a great way to build your credit.

Pay your bills on time. Lenders mostly want to see that you can be trusted to pay what you owe and do it on time.

Ensure your credit report is accurate. Serious mistakes on credit reports happen more often than you might think. It can happen lots of ways: entries for someone with the same name as you can be included in your report, a bank could enter the wrong information regarding your account, or it could reflect undiscovered identity theft. At least once a year, get a copy of your credit report. (This is a free, government-authorized source. ) Review it for any errors and if you find any, contact the relevant companies immediately to fix it.

Think creatively. If you don’t want, or can’t get, a credit card, consider getting a small credit line or cash-secured loan from a local bank. You can also ask a parent or other trusted person to make you an authorized user on their account. As long as you pay back what you owe on time, these all count toward building your credit score.

Get a job. We say that not because we think you’re slacking, but because having a steady source of income makes you a more attractive borrower even though it doesn’t directly impact your credit score. It has the added benefit of making it easier to save money, which means you may have to borrow less in the long term.

6. Shop around among private lenders

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Not all lenders use the same formula to evaluate borrowers. Some use different models to rate borrowers and may give more weight to areas besides your credit history. They also have different criteria for when a cosigner is needed. Just because one lender wants you to have a cosigner doesn’t mean all lenders will.

For example, Ascent has an option for college juniors and seniors that doesn’t require a cosigner . And if you opt to use a cosigner, you can easily release them after you’ve made the first 24 consecutive months of principal and interest payments on time.

Funding U is another lender who will approve student loans without a cosigner. In fact, that’s the only kind of loan they offer. Maximum limits for the loans are $15,000. Interests rates are fixed, but may be a bit higher than you would see on a cosigned loan. But, it is one more option in your college finance toolbox.

Bottom line: If you want (or need) a private student loan without a cosigner, you have multiple ways to reach that goal.

7. Look for alternative funding options

If your parents are willing, they may be able to use personal loans , home equity loans, and Parent PLUS loans to help bridge your tuition gap.

Just be aware these loans come with their own pros and cons so you (and your parents or guardian) should evaluate each of them carefully to see how they’d work for your specific financial circumstances. Remember: Just because you can take out a loan doesn’t mean you should.

8. Consider a gap year

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A well-established tradition in some countries, gap years – a planned year between high school and college to work or pursue other goals – is becoming more common in the U.S.

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