Your credit rating is something that will be very important throughout your lifetime, not only here at Harvard Law School, but beyond. All lenders run a credit check on each student who applies for a supplemental loan. After graduation, your credit will determine your ability to secure a car loan, house loans, or any other major financing ventures. Even potential landlords and employers are making credit checks prior to offering housing and/or employment. The following section is designed to help you manage your credit.
We strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of your credit report from all of the three major credit data services: Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to request a free copy of your credit report from each of the national credit bureaus once per year. The Federal Trade Commission, which is the nation’s consumer protection agency, has Facts for Consumers regarding this important legislation. There is only one web site authorized by the FCRA and the FTC to provide these free annual reports. That web site is AnnualCreditReport.com. Requesting a copy of your credit report is a good exercise even if you think you have good credit. It has been our experience that some students find erroneous derogatory information on their report. It will take a few weeks to eradicate these errors and it would be to your advantage to work on these matters as early as possible in the loan application process.
If you decide to request a copy of your credit reports more than once per year, you will have to pay for the additional request(s). You may request your report online, over the phone, or in writing by using the information listed below. Methods of payment will vary according to the way you request your report.
- Equifax – Consumer Affairs
- (800) 685-1111
- Trans Union Consumer Disclosures Center
- (800) 888-4213
- Experian – Consumer Assistance
- (888) 397-3742
Special Note: If you have been denied credit within the past 30 days, you are entitled to a free credit report from the agency that that provided the information for the denial.
To determine borrowing eligibility many lenders use a process called credit scoring. This process takes into account potential/current salary, past record of financial behavior, and number of credit cards/credit limits. The Fair Isaac Company pioneered the credit score. Many lenders use the Fair Isaac score when determining a student’s eligibility. You can obtain a copy of your credit score, which will give you a good idea of your creditworthiness, and will include explanations and commentary on the report, via the web at www.myfico.com for $14.95.
This information is provided to help you understand the general policies of these loan programs. We do not have access to your credit history, and we are not involved in a lender’s decision whether or not to approve your supplemental loan application. We are however, always available to speak with you regarding the issue of credit and would be happy to help you interpret your credit report. If you have been denied a loan, you will need to contact the lender directly to discuss the issues involved in the denial of your application.