Ask Terry Questions Credit for college loans

Credit for college loans

By Terry Savage on September 18, 2019 | College Savings / Student Loans


I am wondering if my son who recently turned 18 should apply for a credit card. He is wanting to go to college and I have a friend whose sister recently got denied student loans because she has no credit. I cannot pay for him and he is going to do this on his own. So I am wondering if he needs to start some form of credit and if so what is the best way to go? I got your site from a friend. 🙂

Thank you,

Terry Says

FEDERAL student loans are based on NEED, not on credit.  And, for private student loans, which rely on credit,  there is no way he could demonstrate a credit history, even with getting a credit card now.  You would have to co-sign for him.  And this is the “kiss of death” because it will impact YOUR retirement for sure.

I’m glad your son wants to go to college.  But you need to see the impact of costs over the years.  Go to and spend some time there with him.  If you have no savings and he is doing this on his own, the very best — and only — choice is to attend a community college and live at  home.  He can apply for Federal student loans by filling out the FAFSA form — starting October 1.  Go to to learn more.   But beware of borrowing more than the annual FAFSA limit.  Many graduates are buried in more debt than their educaton can generate income to repay!

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