The world of international student loans can be confusing, especially if you’ve never obtained a loan and English is not your first language. Because of this, we’ve created a list of the top international student loan terms that you need to know and understand before you start the hunt for a loan.
Cosigner: A cosigner is someone who is joining the loan application with you. If you’re unable to repay your loan (yes, you must pay back what you’ve borrowed) the co-signer then takes over your repayment responsibility. To be a cosigner on your international student loan, they must be a US citizen or resident who has lived inside the US for the past two years and has good credit history. The better your cosigner’s credit history, the lower your APR will be.
Repayment Period: This refers to when you must start the re-paying of your loan and how often- something that will vary from one lender to the next. Check these terms, and know exactly when you will need to start paying back what you borrowed.
Interest Rate: An interest rate is the percentage of the amount borrowed that the lender can charge interest on to the borrower. The higher the interest rate, the more you must pay back in addition to what you borrowed. The interest rate will change depend on the market and can come in one of two categories: fixed and variable. A fixed interest rate is a rate that will remain the same from the time you agree to take out the loan to the last payment you make. A variable interest rate will fluctuate over time depending on the market, and can be more risky, depending on the market.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): While looking at terms based around repayment, let’s discuss exactly what an APR is, and how it can affect what you must pay back to the lender. When comparing loans, you will want to compare the APR and look for the lowest rate possible- the lower the APR, the less you pay. One key item to keep in mind: the APR and interest rate are not the same. The APR will help give you a more accurate look at the total cost of the loan including the interest and fees. Don’t let a low interest rate trick you into thinking you’re getting a deal- also check the APR.
Credit score: A credit score is based upon credit history and given in a credit report which reflects a score between 300 and 850. Your cosigner’s credit score will be evaluated when you apply for a loan- the higher the credit score, the better your chance will be of getting approved and being able to receive a low APR.
If you would like to receive an international student loan, start comparing lenders that work with your school.