Building Good Credit

A good credit score is crucial for financial success. A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage, loan or credit card. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved as well as what interest rate you are charged. A good credit score is generally considered to be 720 or higher. Lenders, however, can each have different standards for what they consider to be a good credit score, so it‘s important to keep building your score to receive the most favorable interest rates and highest rates of credit approval.

Graduate PLUS Loan requires Credit Check

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan requires a credit check as part of the application process. Your credit history affects your eligibility to borrow a Graduate PLUS loan. You are considered to have an adverse credit history if you:

  • Are 90 or more days delinquent on any debt, OR
  • Within 5 years of the date of the credit report you have been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a federal student aid debt.

PLUS loan credit approval is valid for 90 days. Your credit is evaluated every time you request a new PLUS loan unless you have had a credit decision within the preceding 90 days.

The PLUS loan credit check does not consider how much debt you have. It does consider your credit history in making timely payments to your debt.

If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS loan if you:

  • Obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser (or co-signer) is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

    The entire process must be completed in a single session. Each Endorser Addendum takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

    In this process, you will complete the following steps:
    1. Enter personal information, loan information and reference information.
    2. Consent to a credit check.
    3. Read the terms and conditions.
    4. Review, electronically sign and submit the Endorser Addendum.
  • OR, appeal the denial by contacting Federal Student Aid Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394 to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that:
    • The information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect or has been corrected, OR
    • There are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history. (Note that endorsers are not eligible for this option.)

Read More: Studentloans.gov FAQ, ifap.gov PLUS PDF Loan

Identity Theft

Don't be a victim. Use the Identity Theft Risk Assessment Exercise to help you spot your potential vulnerabilities of identity theft and limit the damages that may result from being a victim.

Credit Bureaus

You can request a free credit file disclosure, commonly called a credit report, once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers to obtain their free credit report.

Consumer Credit Reporting Companies

Equifax
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
1-800-685-1111

Experian
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-0949
1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)

Trans Union
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
1-800-916-8800

How a FICO Score Breaks Down


Credit Reports and Scores

myFICO


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Contact Us

Janice Maddox
Literacy Coordinator
One Stop Shop
910 Madison Avenue, Suite 105
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-1601
Email: jmaddox9@uthsc.edu
Skype: janice.maddox3

Christopher Pollard
Literacy Coordinator
910 Madison Avenue, Suite 105
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-2190
Email: mbj846@uthsc.edu