Principal and Interest Rate Defined

January 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

As we head into the new academic year, many international students will be looking at international student loan options. Comparing loans is not easy, especially with bank terminology. One of the most important terms that will effect students is how much you are going to pay back over the course of your loan. Loans are repaid in two parts: principal and interest rates. See below for the principal and interest rate defined:

Principal
Principal is the total amount of money you were loaned. Let’s say you are planning to attend New York University and you took out a $30,000 loan to cover tuition, room and board, books, etc. This amount is what you have borrowed from the bank, and thus will be expected to pay back.

Interest Rate
There is a cost to borrowing, and this is known as the interest rate. This is the amount that you pay back to the bank on top of what you initially borrowed (the principal). Lenders typically have a range for the amount of interest they charge, which will depend on you (and your co-signer’s) creditworthiness. Typically this is expressed on an annual basis known as the annual percentage rate (APR) which will be finalized after your loan application has been submitted and reviewed. There are two types of interest rates that will be disclosed before you apply for a loan:

  • Variable Interest Rates – These interest rates move up and down depending on the interest rate index. The index is a floating rate, called the prime rate, which is typically added to a margin which is determined based on your creditworthiness. The true margin will be disclosed and finalized once your application has been reviewed.
  • Fixed Interest Rates – These interest rates will remain the same over the entire length of your loan.

Most student loans are fixed rate interest, however many private student loans do offer variable interst rate. It is important to read the terms and conditions to know how the principal and interest rate are defined, how it will be determined, and how it may change.


Applying for International Scholarships

January 23rd, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

If you are an international student planning to come to the US, you may be interested in applying for international scholarships. While you’ll need to fill out the application and meet the requirements for your scholarship, if awarded you’ll receive a payment to support your education. Scholarships can be awarded for academic or other achievement – and there are many available so make the most of it!

We’ve put together a list of tips to help you when applying for international scholarships:

– Deadlines. When it comes to financial aid in general, timing is everything. Make sure that you know what is due, and more importantly when. Many scholarships have limited funding and are competitive with many applicants. Make sure to keep track of when you’ll need to submit the necessary documents to increase the chances of receiving a scholarships. If you use a calendar, make sure to note deadlines and set reminders to keep you on track.

– Essays. Many scholarships require applicants to write essays. You may find yourself writing, reading, and then re-reading your essay. Many students at the end of the process will end up reading what they thought they wrote – instead of what they actually wrote – and will miss small typos or key words. Have friends, teachers, and family members read over your essay and make any changes. Proofreading your essays can increase your odds of being awarded a scholarship.

– Don’t waste time. Many scholarships have eligibility requirements – before applying make sure you read all the fine print. There are many scholarships out there that you can apply for, but spending time applying to scholarships that you are not eligible for is a sure loss of time. We all know that international students are busy, between wrapping up school, working, and the many other day-to-day tasks. Spend your time wisely by reading the details carefully.

– Best foot forward. While content is #1, there is something to be said for presentation. Make sure that your documents are well organized and presented neatly. If you need to handwrite documents, be sure to spend the extra few minutes to make it clear and legible.

– Application. Not all fields on an application will apply to you. Don’t leave any ambiguity as to whether you forgot to fill it in. Make sure that you fill out every field, if it doesn’t apply to you just indicate “N/A” (or, not applicable).

– Create a timeline. Applying for international scholarships can require many steps, including essays, applications, references, transcripts, and much more! Don’t leave it to the last minute. Create a calendar that divides up the tasks to make sure there is enough time to get everything done.

– Make copies. Before submitting the information, make sure you keep copies on hand. It’s always a good idea to be able to refer back to it for other scholarships or to resubmit it in case it gets lost in transit. No need to do the same work twice if you’ve already done a good job the first time. Make it count, and make the most of your time!

– Last glance. Finally, before you submit your work to the organization make sure you go over all the requirements and dates. If you have additional time, have another trusted person take a look at it as well to make sure that you meet all of the requirements.

Good luck applying for international scholarships! Let us know if you have any additional scholarships tips that you’ve found.


Increase Demand for US MBA Programs

January 16th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

The economic downturn is evident worldwide. Even with signs of growth in many countries, the employment figures are lagging behind. Those individuals who have the ability will seek higher education as a way to build skills for the competitive job market.

One way people are doing this is by enrolling at a MBA program in the US. Many students and professionals see education in the US as one way to build connections, increase one’s skills, and develop a worldwide prospective. According to a recent report by Council of Graduate Schools, the increase demand for US MBA Programs jumped 6% over last year. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported that 33.4% of MBA programs are made up of international students. The primary reason for this increase was due to the number of Chinese applicants, followed by Taiwanese and Vietnamese.

The increase demand for US MBA programs has been helped by the increase in F-1 international student visas issued in the US. An increase of 54,000 visas were issued last year, totaling 385,210 visas. This increase in visas has been directly attributed with increasing the number of foreign students enrolling in MBA programs in the US.

This comes as good news to MBA programs in the US, who are competing with other higher education institutions from around the world. Because of the expense and difficulty of going to a US institution, many international students have been opting for schools in Canada or the United Kingdom. With the help of the Department of State, there has been a shift back to America where this year has been the largest increase in demand for US MBA Programs since 2007.

Cornell saw a 12% increase in their international enrollments in New York. On the western coast, University of Southern California saw that 75% of their one-year international MBA program was from Asia. This is just two of the many graduate programs seeing an increase in their international student numbers.

As economies recover, recruiting efforts expand, and the need for a business degree becomes ever more important, it is likely that this is the beginning of a trend for MBA programs in the US as long as the US State Department continues it’s visa policies for international students.


Loans for Spring Semester

January 10th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

It’s that time of year again! Many of you have enjoyed your winter vacation filled with holiday cheer and New Year celebrations. As you head back for Spring semester, you may realize that your holiday money did not exactly match the tab for your education. If this is your case, you may consider loans for Spring semester.

International Student Loan matches students will loans for their upcoming academic school semester. If you are an international, study abroad, or foreign enrolled student, you are not too late to apply for loans for Spring semester. To do this, you can simply compare your loan options, and apply right online.

You can apply for up to the total cost of education, as determined by your school, minus any other aid received. After you apply and receive credit approval for you and your co-signer, your school must certify the amount of the loan. The proceeds are then disbursed directly to the school. Most US students and international students must have a US co-signer thatis a US citizen or permanent resident with good credit and income history and who has lived in the US for the past two years.

Check the eligible school list to see if your school has been approved so that you can start applying for loans for Spring semester!


Study Abroad Scholarships for High School Students

January 3rd, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program
Scholarship Deadline: January 11, 2012

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program is offering 55 scholarships to US high school students interested in studying abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Thailand and Turkey.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Study (YES) Abroad program gives high school students (ages 15-17) the opportunity to study in selected countries. Bringing US citizens overseas, as well as non-US students to the US, this exchange was started back in 2002, “as a key component of renewed commitment to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world, particularly those with significant Muslim populations.”

These are full merit-based scholarships covering program costs, travel, tuition, room and board, food, and much more! These full scholarships will cover students planning to study overseas for a year, thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must be U.S. Citizens, high school students at the time of application, and 15-18 years of age. The deadline for applying is January 11, 2012.