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Qualifying for financial assistance from the Federal Perkins Loan and Stafford (student) Loan programs is never impacted by your credit history. However, if you find you need to borrow private educational loan funds to help you with your educational and living expenses, or if your parent wishes to be considered for a Federal PLUS Loan, you (or your parent) normally cannot have an adverse credit history.
A copy of a credit report may be obtained (for a fee) at any time from one or more of the three national reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and/or Equifax. A credit report containing information from all three agencies may be obtained (at no charge) once per year at Annual Credit Report or by calling 877-FACT-ACT.
Always review your credit report carefully for errors and incorrect information. If you identify a mistake, follow the instructions included in the report. If you have a negative credit report, do not utilize the services of any company or person claiming to be able to 'fix' your credit profile. They won't be able to do so. All information, positive and negative, remains a part of your credit history.
Your credit history does, however, continue to evolve over time. As you use credit responsibly and pay your bills on time, you'll build a positive credit history. In fact, your bill-paying pattern during the most recent 18-24 months is typically much more important than your financial activity of 3-5 years ago.
If you're having difficulty paying your bills, the non-profit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has member agencies that can assist you in establishing a budget and negotiating a repayment plan with your creditors.