If you are an international student interested in coming to the United States to study, or if you are currently enrolled in a US university or college, you may be looking for private sources of funding. While scholarships, grants and fellowships are a great place to start, you may soon realize that this is insufficient to cover your tuition, room and board, books, and other living expenses. Many international students turn to private student loans in this case.
If you are an international student considering a private student loan, there are a couple of pointers that you will want to know before applying for any loan.
1. Not all loans work for international students. Each lender has their own restrictions on eligibility. Some lenders only work with US citizens or green card holders, thereby eliminating any possibility of an international student obtaining a private student loan. Before you begin your application, be sure to check whether you are eligible before spending time gathering your information and completing the required documents.
2. Not all loans work for all schools. Private student loans have to be school-certified and thus only certain schools work with specific lenders. You will need to check with your lender to confirm that they work directly with the school you plan to attend – or the school you are currently enrolled in. Once you apply for a loan, the total loan amount is certified by your school. Loans are typically certified for the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. The funds are then dispersed to your school that then disperse the funds to the international student.
3. Cosigner required. Most international students are required to have a US cosigner. That cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident that has lived in the United States for the last two years. To get the best available rate, your cosigner should have good credit history and rating.
For additional help in comparing lenders, check out our international student loan comparison tool that consider all of these factors to provide you with a list of eligible private student loan options. By choosing your school and citizenship, you will be given a list of lenders that have been prescreened based on your eligibility.