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Financial Aid

Understanding Your Credit

Applicants must demonstrate credit worthiness in order to be eligible for supplemental education loans such as the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan or loans from private lenders.  Supplemental education loan lenders carefully review an applicant's credit history to determine their eligibility for a loan.

Individuals establish a credit history in many ways, like borrowing money or charging retail purchases. Financial institutions and major retail stores report their customer's credit information to national credit bureaus, which, in turn, compile the information in the form of a credit report. A credit report is a record of every credit card, retail account, student and personal loan, and other credit accounts made or established in your name.

In reviewing your credit report, the lender is trying to determine your ability and willingness to pay based on your payment history. A good credit record indicates that you are likely to repay the loan for which you are applying. If you are unsure about the status of your credit, you should request a copy of your credit report from a credit bureau. You may contact a local credit bureau in your area or one of the three national credit bureaus listed below:

Equifax: 800-685-1111

Experian: 800-682-7654

TransUnion: 877-322-8228

You may also receive a free copy of your credit report from all 3 major credit bureaus listed above by visiting, and we recommend reviewing your credit reports on an annual basis.

Once you have received your credit report check it for accuracy. If the information on your report is incorrect, you should contact the credit agency and request that the information be investigated. It is also advisable to contact the company that has reported you to that credit agency. If the information on your report is correct and you do have credit problems, it is imperative that you try to resolve these as soon as possible. Contact the company that has reported you to the credit agency and discuss the steps necessary to clear up your credit problem. If you do succeed in clearing up your credit, you should request this in writing from the reporting company and subsequently submit this information to the credit agency.

It may take several weeks to receive a credit report and several months to correct a credit problem, thus please plan accordingly. In the event that you may need to borrow through one of the alternative education loan programs, we encourage you to remedy any credit issues prior to coming to campus. Any questions or concerns that you may have regarding your credit worthiness should be addressed directly with the appropriate private education loan agency. Unfortunately, the HGSE Financial Aid Office is unable to assist you with personal credit problems or offer advice on the credit review process.