International Student Loans for Study in the US and Canada

July 23rd, 2007 by IEFA

Its that time of year again when international students are frantically trying to put together their funding for the year, and evaluating how much of a loan to apply for. To help, we are re-posting this article that originally ran last august.

Financing an education in the United States is difficult, even for a US student. For international students, paying for college in the US is even harder. Almost two-thirds of all students enrolled at private four-year US schools receive loans of some type. US students can receive loans guaranteed by the government (Stafford loans, among others), but these valuable loans are not available to international students. Luckily, private student loans are available to international students on the same terms received by US students.

Before applying for a loan, you should exhaust the following potential funding sources:

1. Apply for international student financial aid from your school. Here’s a searchable list of schools awarding financial aid to international students:

2. Research and apply for international student scholarships on your own:

3. Carefully evaluate how much money you or your family can provide towards your education. Every dollar you can pay directly is one less dollar you have to borrow.

Some international students can fund their US education simply using the sources above. However, like US students, most international students will need to fund at least a portion of their US education, if not the entire amount, with loans.

· US Co-Signer Required. International student loans require a US citizen or permanent resident (Green card holder) as a co-signer. The loans are credit-based, meaning the co-signer must have good credit history, good employment history (or other income history if the co-signer does not work), and must have lived in the US for the past two years. Although not everyone can find a family member, friend or other US citizen or permanent resident to co-sign for them, for those that do, they can access private student loans on the same basis as US students.

· Funds Paid Directly to You. Loan funds are paid to you, not to the school. This is a great feature in that you can use the funds for living expenses – but it also means that it is up to you to use the funds responsibly. Pay your tuition, room and board, health insurance and books first – anything extra is a luxury!

· Repayment. Repayment of an international student loan can be deferred while you are in school, and for six months after you finish school. After that, you will have up to 20 years to repay the loan, with a payment due every month. You are also eligible for hardship extensions if you run into unexpected circumstances that prevent you from being able to repay the loan for a short period of time.

· Interest Rates. Interest rates are variable, based on the LIBOR plus a margin. LIBOR is always several points below prime, so the margin is from 3.5% to 7.75%, and will be set by the lender based on the credit history of your co-signer and the repayment plan you select. The better your co-signer, the better your rate! LIBOR changes monthly, up or down, so the rate will be reset monthly. Click here for repayment examples for a $10,000 undergraduate international student loan.

· Online Application. You can apply online or by phone, and receive an almost immediate response as to whether you are conditionally approved for the loan. Then, you will need to sign the promissory note, and provide proof of enrollment and immigration status to receive your funds.

· No Application Fees. There are no application fees to apply for an international student loan. There is an origination fee if you actually receive the loan, but that amount is rolled into the loan amount and does not have to be paid out of pocket.

For more information on international student loans, visit

To receive a notice when the next post comes out, subscribe to our blog.

Other Interesting Posts:


  1. Jazzi says:

    Is this same with students who are in canada, like im a student in windsor

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:

      Hi Jazzi,

      Thank you for your inquiry. If you are from Canada and will be studying in the US as an international student, you are able to compare loans and apply online here.

  2. Franklin Sefa Owu says:

    plz i want to know the process for applying for the loan

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:

      Hi Franklin,

      Thank you for your inquiry. If you would like to apply for an international student loan you can start by using the loan comparison tool. From there, you can use the tool to view the available lenders and apply right online.

      Good luck!

  3. Shafaz says:

    I am currently attending high school in Canada as an international student from the US……I need a student loan to attend university …….can you plz send me the application etc

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:

      Hi Shafaz,

      Thank you for your interest, that is great you have decided to study in Canada. You can start the application process by using the loan comparison tool here. From there you will be matched with available lenders and can choose which one will fit your needs best.

      Best of luck!

  4. lashawn says:

    i am a jamaican and i want to study in the united states but i dont have a bank statement requesting the amount asked for; in order to get the the student visa.. what do u suggest i do?

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:


      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Typically you need to be admitted and enrolled, and have your visa, in order to apply. However, some students are able to use loan approval as proof of funds, but its not easy and its up to the school and consular officer if they’ll accept a loan approval as proper funds. You would need to apply for the loan now, list the school you plan to attend, get initially approved based on the credit of your co-signer, then use that initial approval to complete your acceptance to the school. You can apply for an international student loan here. Good luck.

  5. reddo says:

    hey i am trying to apply for a student loan but the college that i want to attend is not in the list. what should i do?…………….Monroe college

    • Bryanna Davis says:

      Hi Reddo,

      Thanks for visiting.

      Unfortunately, if a school is not on the list then we do not have a loan program for that school. I apologize for any problems this might cause. However, you can still check out scholarships here.

  6. Guillaume steeve says:

    i want to study in the us at iefa

  7. Maliye says:

    Are there no websites or companies who offer co signing?

    • Bryanna Davis says:

      Hi Maliye,

      Unfortunately we’re not able to help you with finding a co-signer. Please keep in mind that your co-signer must be a US citizen that has lived inside the US for the last 2 years. Usually this is a friend or family member that you already know.

  8. Avijit says:

    Hi there, I’m currently studying in China in sophomore year as the situation of my family is worsening than before that’s why I want to shift to Canada for better study. I have a good study background and my major is Computer Science.’
    And I have my cousin in the USA living more than 2 years so, is there any way to get the student loan for studying in Canada?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks for your message, however our student loans are only available to US students going abroad or non-US students coming to the US. While we don’t have any loan options, you may want to contact your school in Canada to see if they have any recommendations.

  9. Tevin Morgan says:

    I am a Jamaican student who received acceptance from a US university. I have a co signer but i am unsure whether the application process can be started while i am in Jamaica.

Join the conversation

IEFA logo
Thank you for visiting
Providing information about international financial aid & scholarships since 1998
2023 MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation
1101 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036