Office of Enrollment Management

Building Credit

What is a credit score?

Credit scores are a way to measure your ability manage debt. Credit is your reputation as a borrower. Scores are created for each person based on payment history, length of credit history, recent credit, amounts owed, and credit mix (myFico). The FICO score helps lenders determine how likely you are to repay a loan.

FICO pie chart


 A credit score is considered when applying for a loan and the amount of interest charged. The higher the credit score the more favorable the loan terms are.

Benefits to Good Credit

Lower interest rates
Saving money on insurance (car and homeowners)
Reduced or no security deposits on utilities and cell phone service

How can you improve your credit score?

To improve your credit score, you must look at what is causing your score to be lower. Federal law allows you to obtain a copy of your credit report every 12 months free of charge from the credit reporting agencies. These agencies are Experian, Equifax, and Experian. Monitoring your credit report ensures there are no mistakes and gives you a better idea of what is impacting your credit score.

Many banks and credit unions provide information on your credit score. Many will provide tips on how to improve that are more specific to your circumstances. What improves your score may not be the best course of action for another.

Focus on improving the area that is causing your score to dip. Explore tips to improving your credit score (PDF).


Best practices

Obtain a free credit report annually. Use the tips above to make adjustments in your lifestyle to improve your score.