I don't know how I got them... but I have godawful credit (thanks to being 18-19 with credit cards) and I got loans through Access Group with no problem. I didn't even need a co-signer. I went through the school financial aid office and they just did it for me, it was no problem. Maybe it is because they are Stafford/FFEL loans?? I know that there are some types of student loans that don't require credit checks, you just can't have any other federal loans in default. I had to go through a consolidation to get my undergrad loans in order, but after that it was no problem.
Do you have federal loans? Have you tried to apply for them yet and been turned down, or are you just nervous to even try? (...I was) If you haven't even picked a lender yet, just choose one and see what happens, you might be pleasantly surprised. I was:)
At any rate, good luck. I am sorry to see another person digging themselves out of a hole like me, it is no fun. I even have to have co-signers to get an apartment. That is a pain at 24!