Believe it or not, I have a particular acquaintance who was in the same, if not worse, situation earlier this year.
This individual graduated from a decent school, but felt the sudden impulse to "run away" and work in Japan. For three years he never looked back until his passport got flagged under the new Patriot Act (child support issue). In the meantime he racked up charge-offs galore, reposessions, unpaid spousal support judgements, defaulted student loans, and yep, even a bankruptcy permanently carved on his credit record. With all the key derogatories and red flags, miraculously the guy was STILL ABLE to get a Stafford loan AFTER he changed his undergad loan status from default to current.
Even more unbelievable, the aforementioned individual was ALSO ABLE to qualify for a Stafford Plus loan after getting an IRS tax lien removed.
(Sorry, but I don't know what the lien was for, but can imagine).
What really gets me is he is seriously book smart. GPA 3.8, GMAT 740 on his first crack... but just irresponsible as all hell. The kind of guy who blows his rent on whisky bars and lap dances, then comes begging for a grand until payday because his Visa cash advance is maxed.
The short and skinny is this: Stafford Loans are NOT
credit based, but Plus loans have some restrictions (albeit minimal).
Probably best to check your credit score and read into this link ---> http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic ... c8d54186e2