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Old 03-07-2006, 06:55 AM   #1
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Default Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences?

I asked a friend of mine who's a financial advisor, and he said no. However when I got my Experian score recently, all of my student loans are factored in to the score (and in my case badly damage it). Previously when checking credit via Equifax, student loan debt was not factored in the same as revolving debt or commercial (ie car) loans.

Now to clarify - my friend said if I were to visit a bank in person to work out a loan for a house or what have you, we'd be able to discuss those points in relation to my student debt. However if I'm going through an automated rating system for say a credit card (or 90% of all credit applications these days), then there's nothing I can do. Before going to grad school, I was at about 760-775 depending on the service. Now? 650. I actually have substantially less revolving debt with higher limits, so that's not it. Late payments from '97-'98 when I was a broke college student are no longer reported, so that's not it. I'm making about twice as much money, so that's definitely not it. Hmmm...

At my current repayment, I won't be out of education related debt until I'm friggin 48 years old! I fully expect to be making more money in the next year or so, but regardless, I'd like to know what others experiences with student debt and credit ratings have been.

A deeply conservative righty coworker of mine said it was A) my parents' fault for being educators and not having careers in a field that could provide adequate financial support for a family (and for getting divorced) and B) my fault for not going to community college if I couldn't afford it out of my own pocket. I told him to stuff it up his trust fund.
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Quote, originally posted by ATYPR things we've "misplaced" during the Iraq war
380 ton of explosive
$12 Billion in cash
190,000 AK-47 and pistols and we don't have any of the serial numbers on record
An estimated 547 million barrels of oil worth $39 billion dollars
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:16 AM   #2
 
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (Chairman Kaga)

If you have a large amount of debt in student loans it will lower your score. Just like having a large car loan will make people less likely to loan you more money.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (patmcd)

I have also heard not paying your student loan on time is one of the worst things you can do for your credit score. This was from a financial advisor as well.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:26 AM   #4
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I have no idea, but the interest on your student loans may be tax-deductable. Did you get a 1098-E this year? Mrs. Splat's loans knocked almost $1200 off our tax burden this year.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (patmcd)

It still effects your credit score, but I would say not as much as a high credit card balance or something like that. Of course, if you owe $100,000+ and have a $400 monthly payment for the next 30 years, it might deter you from getting the best loan offers, but it usually doesn't hurt that much.

Student loan debt is considered 'better to have' than lots of credit card or auto loan debt, because it is related to education and increases earning potential. Also, the interest is tax deductible and it can be deferred or put into forbearance very easily in the event of unemployment, so a lender is likely to be okay with lots of student loan debt, because those payments can be delayed so that you don't go into default on your mortgage, car loan, etc.

I have about $35,000 in student loan debt that I am in repayment on, and my credit score is above 800. I don't have any other debt though. When I had credit debt and my loans were in deferment, I had a mid-700 credit score. If you pay ontime and keep out of revolving debt, you will be fine. Your friend is right, when you go outside of the automated system and talk to an actual loan officer, you will probably get better offers because they will take the fact that your debt is mostly student loan related into consideration. Also, when it comes time to finance a house, just go into deferment (take a couple CC classes) for a year and qualify for some really good financing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Kaga

A deeply conservative righty coworker of mine said it was A) my parents' fault for being educators and not having careers in a field that could provide adequate financial support for a family (and for getting divorced) and B) my fault for not going to community college if I couldn't afford it out of my own pocket. I told him to stuff it up his trust fund.
That cracks me up, tell your deeply conservative righty coworker that in the previous generation, nobody had student loans. In the 'golden age' of American conservatism (coincidentally it is the same time period that most reactionaries long for), people were able to go to school for virtually nothing because of government educational funding. Now, that funding has been cut, and the current generation is asked to amass serious amounts of federally subsidized student loan debt in order to equal the same educational achievement as our predecessors. It has nothing to do with your parents careers or their divorce, or your educational choices, it has everything to do with his dumbass not wanting to pay income tax.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

Your points are leading me to wonder if there isn't something else going on with my credit score. There's no reason for such a dip AFTER landing a new job and AFTER completing my MA and AFTER those late payments were wiped off. If I can find the old reports I can see what things looked like before I left for school, but I know it was in the high 700s. I usually don't go this long without checking my credit (usually every 6 months) but for some reason I missed last fall. I think I'll investigate further!

EDIT: I should add my righty friend believes all public education is socialism and should be abolished.
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Quote, originally posted by ATYPR things we've "misplaced" during the Iraq war
380 ton of explosive
$12 Billion in cash
190,000 AK-47 and pistols and we don't have any of the serial numbers on record
An estimated 547 million barrels of oil worth $39 billion dollars
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (GZR4DR)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GZR4DR
I have also heard not paying your student loan on time is one of the worst things you can do for your credit score. This was from a financial advisor as well.
do what now? you mean deferring my loans was a bad thing to do? (I'm in grad school)

it's not like I'm missing payments...
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (dreamer)

So you think your score dropped because of your student loan? How long have you had it, and is it in good standing? Is 650 that bad of a score?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splat
I have no idea, but the interest on your student loans may be tax-deductable. Did you get a 1098-E this year? Mrs. Splat's loans knocked almost $1200 off our tax burden this year.
Damn. They capped me at 8 or 900. Bastards.

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Old 03-07-2006, 08:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (dreamer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamer

do what now? you mean deferring my loans was a bad thing to do? (I'm in grad school)

it's not like I'm missing payments...
No, not at all. Deferring your loans is a GREAT thing to do. If you look at your credit report, you will see that they might show up but it says not in repayment and does not count against you. He means to actually be in repayment and pay them late or go into default. That is a very bad thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Kaga
Your points are leading me to wonder if there isn't something else going on with my credit score. There's no reason for such a dip AFTER landing a new job and AFTER completing my MA and AFTER those late payments were wiped off. If I can find the old reports I can see what things looked like before I left for school, but I know it was in the high 700s. I usually don't go this long without checking my credit (usually every 6 months) but for some reason I missed last fall. I think I'll investigate further!
Definitely investigate further. If there are some negatives on your report, try to get them corrected. Landing a new job and a Masters won't help your score, they don't care, it's mostly based on amount of debt you have revolving, late payments, number of credit requests initiated by you, etc. When I finished grad school, my credit score didn't see any movement. It was all based on how I handle bills and debt, not what degree I have.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (AutoXer)

Yes, I got to deduct interest.

Deferring a student loan isn't a "bad thing". Next fall I'll be enrolling in a couple of courses and will likely defer for a few months just as an opportunity to replentish some savings. What he's referring to is the all-too-common "if I don't pay my on student loans they'll go away" syndrome. I know several people who have tried this and it does not work!
I have a weird situation with a lender who issued two separate loans, both on the same account but for different amounts, and the payments are always getting mixed up. Sometimes the payments will go toward the same loan, or the payments will be switched up leaving me short in one of them. Since it's a private loan I can't consolidated with my federal loans. PITA.
650 is not a good score (borderline poor according to Experian), especially since I want to refinance my car later this year for a lower interest rate and possibly look into buying a house within the next year or two.

EDIT: With the school and work comment, I just meant I was making a lot more money, thus improving my debt to income ratio. I'm heading back intot he report...
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Quote, originally posted by ATYPR things we've "misplaced" during the Iraq war
380 ton of explosive
$12 Billion in cash
190,000 AK-47 and pistols and we don't have any of the serial numbers on record
An estimated 547 million barrels of oil worth $39 billion dollars
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:09 AM   #11
 
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

Out of curiousity, who can I get an online credit score from? I once upon a time did the equifax snail-mail report, and when I got it, the one thing I actually wanted, the credit score, wasn't even on there. It was just a list of my accounts showing them all "as agreed."
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (PUMA)

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

This is the free federally mandated site, you still have to pay extra for a score report though. There are probably some for-profit credit report sites that will let you get a free report and score if you sign up for their 30 day trial and cancel.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:25 AM   #13
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (Chairman Kaga)

I'm still a full-time college student, and my student loans are in "deferred" status right now, but I've found that they still effect my credit. I don't know how they effected the "score", but I know before I had the student loans, I got a $10K car loan without a co-signer. After I paid that loan off, and sold the car, I went to get another car loan for less money ($6.5K), and was denied because of loans on my credit report (it had to be the student loans, those were the only other loans I had).

So it's been my experience that even deferred student loans will adversely effect your credit rating.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:33 AM   #14
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (smithenhiven)

Quote:
Originally Posted by smithenhiven
I'm still a full-time college student, and my student loans are in "deferred" status right now, but I've found that they still effect my credit. I don't know how they effected the "score", but I know before I had the student loans, I got a $10K car loan without a co-signer. After I paid that loan off, and sold the car, I went to get another car loan for less money ($6.5K), and was denied because of loans on my credit report (it had to be the student loans, those were the only other loans I had).

So it's been my experience that even deferred student loans will adversely effect your credit rating.
I was in the same situation a few years ago, but I called the bank that denied me due to excessive loan debt and sent them proof of in-school status and my graduation date, and a letter from Sallie Mae saying that I would not be in repayment for 5 more years, and they reversed the decision and gave me a very respectable interest rate. I am sure they made the decision based on whatever came up on their screen, so maybe they needed additional info (like how long you would be in deferment) before they made the correct decision.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:39 AM   #15
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (smithenhiven)

Well here's what I found, and I don't know how I overlooked this. This was a monster thread from way back when... In 1999-2000, the bank I had a car loan with changed hands. In that process, one of my payments was applied to the OLD account number rather than the new, and was for all practical purposes never made. I never received notification of this until almost a year later, when I checked my credit and saw I was 30 days behind every month for the past year (testimony for checking your credit every few months). I had the bank statement showing I'd paid the "missing" payment then proceeded to go round and round for the next two years getting it cleared up, finally going through a lawyer. He issued an ugly letter and it was allegedly finally fixed. Now I check the Experian report (I'd gone through Equifax before) and ALL of those late payments are back. Fourteen of them. Is it possible the bank only reported the correction to one credit reporting agency (Equifax), or that there was some sort of glitch that brought those late payment reports back? I am stymied. I was going to lodge a dispute but their online tool is conveniently broken.
I also found another interesting item that I might need to counsel with my financial advisor buddy on...
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Quote, originally posted by ATYPR things we've "misplaced" during the Iraq war
380 ton of explosive
$12 Billion in cash
190,000 AK-47 and pistols and we don't have any of the serial numbers on record
An estimated 547 million barrels of oil worth $39 billion dollars
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (Chairman Kaga)

Yup, that is a very likely scenario. That's why they have you check all 3, because often different errors will be present on different reports, and you will need to issue letters to each of the 3 main credit companies to fix them. If you don't want to wait, I am sure you can call all 3 and ask them if you can fax a copy of the letter your lawyer wrote, that should take care of your problem.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:51 AM   #17
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

Yeah, it was almost 5 years ago, so it'll take a little work. I wonder if they could just corroborate information with Equifax, were I to lodge a dispute?
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Quote, originally posted by ATYPR things we've "misplaced" during the Iraq war
380 ton of explosive
$12 Billion in cash
190,000 AK-47 and pistols and we don't have any of the serial numbers on record
An estimated 547 million barrels of oil worth $39 billion dollars
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:51 AM   #18
 
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

I just did the freebie on Experian, and with $6.5k in deferred student loans and two cards with over 50% balance, I still came out with a 729, w00t!
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:02 AM   #19
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (Chairman Kaga)

They probably could, but they are all lazy asses. I say write a letter to each of the other 2 companies explaining the reason why those 14 late payments are an error, attach a copy of your 'clean' report showing the errors were deleted years ago, and they should be able to fix the problem. Persistence is important when dealing with credit reporting agencies and Sallie Mae, but it's worth it to bug them enough that they want to get the issue resolved. If possible, call both credit agencies and ask for a specific person to work on the issue (caseworker), so you can send the letter and proof directly to them, and they are your only point of contact. It's much easier to get results that way.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (PUMA)

Quote:
Originally Posted by PUMA
I just did the freebie on Experian, and with $6.5k in deferred student loans and two cards with over 50% balance, I still came out with a 729, w00t!
Does checking your score for free hurt your score? From what I've been told, anytime you apply for a loan and they pull your credit score, you are deducted a point from your score (I know, not much but still).
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:18 AM   #21
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (GSRpower)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSRpower
Does checking your score for free hurt your score? From what I've been told, anytime you apply for a loan and they pull your credit score, you are deducted a point from your score (I know, not much but still).
That's not really true. Checking your score yourself does not hurt you at all. Random companies checking your score and sending you offers also does not hurt you. The thing that hurts you is when you are loan shopping and keep applying for loans and the finance company pulls your score. However, all of the big 3 credit reporting agencies consider all loan applications/credit score requests for around 14 days as part of the same 'loan shopping' experience. So it won't hurt you too much, as long as you don't loan shop for an entire year. Still, it doesn't hurt much, and they don't take exactly one point off for every credit application.

This is some good info on credit reports and how scores are calculated:
http://www.andrewpbrown.com/credit.php
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:24 AM   #22
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (Chairman Kaga)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Kaga
EDIT: With the school and work comment, I just meant I was making a lot more money, thus improving my debt to income ratio. I'm heading back intot he report...
I forgot to reply to this before, but in actuality, credit bureaus don't know your actual income. However, they do use a debt ratio which is the amount of money you owe divided by the amount of money you have in available credit. So, if you were to owe $5,000, but have one card with a $10,000 credit line, you would have a debt ratio of 50%. That is why they say if you are carrying balances, you shouldn't cancel all of your cards with zero balances right before making a major financed purchase. It will end up getting rid of all of the available credit and increasing your debt ratio.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:31 AM   #23
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

OK, so what about if one of my credit card companies pulls my credit? Is this a "hard pull" like that site says? I was going to ask for an increase in my credit limit for one of my cards, so that I will have less than a 50% balance on it (I have like $1400 on it out of a $2000 limit, so I want to raise the limit to at least 3k).

Which brings up another question. I thought they look at your total credit to debt ratio, rather than each card individually. For example in my case, I have $0 on a $10,000 limit card, $800 on a $4000 limit card, and $1400 on a $2000 limit card...which is about 14%. That would be good if they look at all cards combined, but if they look at each card individually, then that one card would hurt me. Right?

Sorry to kind of take this thread OT, but I'm about to buy my first house and want the best score possible.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:33 AM   #24
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (purplegsr)

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplegsr

I forgot to reply to this before, but in actuality, credit bureaus don't know your actual income. However, they do use a debt ratio which is the amount of money you owe divided by the amount of money you have in available credit. So, if you were to owe $5,000, but have one card with a $10,000 credit line, you would have a debt ratio of 50%. That is why they say if you are carrying balances, you shouldn't cancel all of your cards with zero balances right before making a major financed purchase. It will end up getting rid of all of the available credit and increasing your debt ratio.
Plus, you shouldn't close cards with a zero balance b/c you will lose the history with them.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:50 AM   #25
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Default Re: Do student loans actually count toward your credit score? Your experiences? (GSRpower)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSRpower
OK, so what about if one of my credit card companies pulls my credit? Is this a "hard pull" like that site says? I was going to ask for an increase in my credit limit for one of my cards, so that I will have less than a 50% balance on it (I have like $1400 on it out of a $2000 limit, so I want to raise the limit to at least 3k).

Which brings up another question. I thought they look at your total credit to debt ratio, rather than each card individually. For example in my case, I have $0 on a $10,000 limit card, $800 on a $4000 limit card, and $1400 on a $2000 limit card...which is about 14%. That would be good if they look at all cards combined, but if they look at each card individually, then that one card would hurt me. Right?

Sorry to kind of take this thread OT, but I'm about to buy my first house and want the best score possible.
If one of the companies that you currently have a relationship with pulls your credit, I doubt it would count as a hard pull. They do that on a regular basis so they can offer you more credit and other cards. Hard pulls would be things like self-initiated requests for car loans, personal loans, mortgages, etc. It could also be an application for a credit card, but the regular solicitations/pre-approvals you receive for cards are just soft pulls.

They do look at your total credit to debt ratio, but the example I used was if you only have 1 card. If like you, the person has multiple cards, your approach is correct. If you have 3 cards with 14% that is fine. The red flags go up when at 50%. Lenders also look at available credit, some might be weary to loan people money who have $100,000 of credit available. If they have to use it due to unemployment or something, they may not be able to meet all of their financial obligations. I try to keep myself limited to 3 cards at max, and I usually ask my companies not to raise my credit limit unless I ask them to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSRpower
Plus, you shouldn't close cards with a zero balance b/c you will lose the history with them.
That is true if you are shopping for a loan. It is good to have long histories with a few cards, but that doesn't mean you should rack up a whole bunch of new cards because you don't want to close the old ones. It would be preferable to take advantage of the new 0% offers, pay it off, then close it, while leaving your old cards there with no balance and all on-time payments (or lack thereof).
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