How do I handle a small outstanding loan (payable in full immediately) while preparing to purchase first home?

I have a few thousand dollars of outstanding college loans and am looking into purchasing my first home this summer. I could easily pay off the loan with savings, but that would eat into my fairly pathetic down payment. I just read that paying off debts helps your credit score, which is why I am asking. Until now I... show more I have a few thousand dollars of outstanding college loans and am looking into purchasing my first home this summer. I could easily pay off the loan with savings, but that would eat into my fairly pathetic down payment. I just read that paying off debts helps your credit score, which is why I am asking. Until now I was trying to maximize my down payment.
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