I graduated college a few years ago and have roughly $12,000 in student loan debt left. Even though I make 1 monthly payment, the loan shows up on my credit score as 6 installment loans. When I go to the student loan website, it shows 7 entries; 2 of which have a $0 balance. In the information provided on the credit report site, it says that I have too many installment loans and that it is negatively impacting my credit.

Other than the student loans I have 1 other installment loan (car) and a credit card with a low percentage of utilization.

I feel like the number of loans representing a relatively small amount of money could be artificially lowering my credit score.

The balances are as follows:

  • Unsubsidized loan: $0
  • Unsubsidized loan: $0
  • Unsubsidized loan: $5,500
  • Unsubsidized loan: $2,300
  • Unsubsidized loan: $1,700
  • Subsidized loan: $1,500
  • Subsidized loan: $800

3 Answers 3


The only thing I'd be concerned about is whether or not the credit report site offers a loan consolidation option right next to the statement that "too many installment loans are lowering your score." If it is, then the site stands to get a kickback for referring you, and you might question whether or not the advice is correct.

But if not, then take that statement at face value and look to consolidate. Just run the numbers to see what it will cost (or save) you.


One of your credit reports said this was negatively impacting your credit. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once per year from each of the three major credit reporting companies in the U.S. (TRW, Equifax and one other). It is a good idea to check on these anyway, if you have credit accounts.

Get copies from the other two credit reporting companies. See if they also say that your credit is negatively impacted by so many loans, even though the balances are small. If all three credit reporting companies are in consensus about negative effecting your credit, then it is true.

If that IS the case, check with your subsidized loan lender about consolidation. If the unsubsidized loans are from the same lender, ask them too. If they're from different lenders, you might want to ask at your bank about getting a debt consolidation loan. You might be able to save money by refinancing (consolidating) the unsubsidized student loans as one loan, maybe even ALL the loans as one loan, particularly if you bank at a credit union.


That sounds like bunk too me. Even if it does, the total number of loans isn't going to be a major factor in your credit score. I wouldn't worry about it unless you have other reasons to consolidate the loans.

For example, Government student loans can introduce risk into your finances in that they are difficult to dismiss as part of a bankruptcy if that ever becomes necessary.

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