Can I Get a Loan to Study Abroad? Understanding Study Abroad Student Loans

December 29th, 2021 by Sagnik Santra

The short answer to the question is: yes. The simple fact is that studying abroad can be costly, and most students do not have the money to pay in full. For this reason, most people will look into student loans as a possible option for paying for school expenses.

Having a good credit history is important to qualify for student loans, especially for those who may need a cosigner.

Since study abroad is an official academic program set up by your school, your student loan can be used to cover any of the associated costs. This could include airfare, room and board, tuition, and other related expenses. Studying abroad brings a lot of opportunities with it and should not be hindered by financial limitations.

You should keep in mind a few things if you are thinking about using student loans to finance your education abroad. Let’s explore what you need to know in a little more depth.

Why do you need student loans to study abroad anyway?

As we mentioned earlier, studying abroad can be an expensive venture. Some students will have the resources to come up with a large sum of money, but most will not. For this reason, students need to look into student loans as a possible option when it comes time to pay their way through school.

If you want to study in developed countries like the U.S. and UK, it is not surprising that the tuition fees are expensive. Even the living cost can be very high in these countries. For example, the tuition costs for studying at Harvard is $38,891 per year, while Oxford University’s one-year course fee is around the £18,000 mark (more than $29,000).

Additionally, students should explore the availability of federal financial aid and the importance of federal student aid programs as options for funding study abroad. This includes understanding the eligibility for federal student loans and the process of applying through the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA).

Therefore, it makes sense to look into student loans as a possible option if you want to study abroad.

Different types of student loans?

There are two types of student loans – Federal Student Loans and Private Loans. Direct Unsubsidized Loans, a type of federal student loan, are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

1. Federal Student Loans:

Federal loans are the loans that are offered and regulated by the United States Department of Education. These loans are typically offered to students who cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for their education and living expenses. Federal loans are usually offered at a lower interest rate than private student loans.

2. Private Student Loans:

Private loans are offered by private lenders, such as banks and credit unions. These loans usually have a higher interest rate than federal loans, and they also come with a range of fees. The United States Department of Education does not regulate private loans. They are controlled mainly by private organizations like banks and credit unions.

Federal Student Loans vs. Private Student Loans

When it comes to comparing Federal Loans and Private Loans, here are some of the differences between them.

1. Interest rates:

Typically, private loans have a higher interest rate than federal loans. The interest rates vary from 3% to 12%, depending on the borrower’s credit score, among other factors. Federal Loans are offered at an interest rate that the government determines. The current interest rate for Federal Loans is 4.29%.

2. Fees:

Private lenders usually have a range of fees, which can include an origination fee, a late payment fee, and a prepayment penalty. Federal loans do not come with any origination fees, late payment fees, or prepayment penalties, as they are considered non-profit loans.

3. Cosigners:

Private student loans typically require a cosigner. Having a good credit history can help in securing a cosigner with favorable terms. A cosigner is a person who agrees to be responsible for the loan if the borrower cannot repay it. And if you are applying for study abroad loans, it is essential to have a cosigner with a good credit score unless you are lucky enough to be approved for a loan without a cosigner. Federal loans do not require a cosigner.

4. Repayment options:

Private lenders typically offer a range of repayment options, including deferred payment, interest-only payments, and graduated repayment.

5. Eligibility criteria:

Federal loans do not have any eligibility criteria for income level or geographic location. They are not affected by the ability of the student to repay the loan or find a job after graduation. They mostly look into students’ academic history and credit scores. On the other hand, private student loans have very stringent eligibility criteria that are based on the credit score of the borrower and cosigner, as well as the borrower’s income level.

6. Loan amount:

Private international student loans usually offer a higher loan amount than federal loans when it comes to the loan amount. The annual limit for Undergraduate students is $12,000-$15,000 and $55,000-$60,000 total in federal loans. Graduate students can borrow up to $20,000-$22,000 annually and $135,000-$ 140,000 total. When it comes to private students loan borrowing, you can almost double the loan amount.

7. Default:

One of the most significant differences between a private student loan and a federal student loan is that personal loans typically have stricter repayment options if the borrower defaults on the loan payments. In the case of Federal Loans, there are no such repayment options, and the government can even garnish the borrower’s wages.

Which type of student loan should you get?

Now that you know some of the differences between Federal Loans and Private Loans, it is essential to decide which type of loan is best for you. Private loans can be expensive and come with a lot of fees. Also, if you default on repayment, private lenders have more stringent repayment options. If you want to save money on interest rates and smaller or no fees, federal loans are the way to go.

However, keep in mind that there are stringent eligibility criteria for federal loans compared to private student loans. You must have a good credit score and meet the income level requirements. So, if you want to study abroad and do not have a perfect credit score or do not meet the income level requirements, you might want to consider getting a study abroad loan from a private lender. A cosigner with a good credit score can help you get a better interest rate as well.

Can I take both Federal and Private Loans to Study Abroad?

Yes. You can take both federal loans and private loans to study abroad. Study abroad financial aid can include a combination of federal and private loans, as well as scholarships and grants.

As we mentioned before, federal loans only offer a limited amount of money for students studying abroad. And sometimes that amount is not enough. So, in that case, you can take a study abroad loan from a private lender. For example, you can use the federal loan towards your tuition fee and the private loan towards the living costs.

What should you consider before taking a study abroad student loan?

Before taking a study abroad student loan, there are a few things to consider. If you are not sure whether it is the right decision for you, here are a couple of points that can help you make that decision:

1. Double check if you qualify for any scholarship, financial aid, or grant for studying abroad.

2. Make sure that you understand your private student loan repayment options.

3. Make sure to read all the terms and conditions of your loan before signing on the dotted line. Please do not take it lightly!

4. Increase your credit score so that you can increase your chances of getting a reasonable interest rate on your student loan.

5. Make sure that you do not borrow any more money than you need to study abroad.

6. Do not think of a study loan as a free ride to have fun during your stay overseas. You still have to pay it back with interest!


Studying abroad is the dream of millions of students around the world. But the costs associated with studying abroad make it difficult for students to fulfill their dreams. If you are one of those students, getting a student loan is the key to making your dream a reality. International students also have options for securing student loans to study abroad. This article will help you understand everything you need to know about getting a student loan to study abroad.

Other Interesting Posts:


  1. parth says:

    i need education loan , i got offer latter from university, its an emergency ,pls contact me .


    I need education loan, I have been admired at University of Quebec at Chicoutimi.

  3. Gilbert Taylor says:

    Hi, I’m Gilbert Taylor from Sierra Leone west Africa I want scholarship so I can study abroad as an international undergraduate student so help me

  4. Elvis Kambie Bangura says:

    Hi! I’m Elvis Kambie Bangura from Sierra Leone. I’ve been offered admission to Brandies University The Heller School For Social Policy and Management to study MA Sustainable International Development. I’ve been offered a merit-based scholarship of 55% by Heller. I still need more funds to cover up other cost and my best bit is raising money from scholarship.
    I’d like to know if I’m eligible for a federal loan ad and what amount should I apply for.

  5. John Opoku says:

    Does it work well towards F-1 visa application if a private international student loamy have to support my post graduate educational funding, say half or more?

  6. Agenanga linda prisca says:

    Hi am Agenanga linda prisca from Uganda.Am looking fora scholarship to study abroad

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi there,

      If you’re looking for a scholarships that you may be eligible, you can find them here: Using the quick search tool, you can narrow down your choices by browsing the scholarships available.

      Best of luck,
      The IEFA Team

  7. Demis alamrew says:

    As you mentioned above I can’t afford a payment so please show me the way how I get funds for education and for other expencese until I complet my education

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi Demis,

      Have you tried applying for a scholarship yet? One of the best ways to get financial aid for education is through scholarships and grants. These are awards that do not need to be repaid and can cover tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with your studies. You can start by researching scholarship from to get started.

      Best of luck with your application,
      -The IEFA Team

  8. Nathaniel Mohamed Keita says:

    Hi! I have been offered acceptance at Albion College-Albion, Michigan. I don’t have a sponsor to help me get my I-20 from the school. Please help me out with federal loan.

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi there.

      Congratulations on your acceptance to Albion College in Albion, Michigan!

      Regarding your question about obtaining your I-20, have you tried reaching out to the college’s international student office for guidance on how to proceed without a sponsor? Additionally, you may want to explore options for international student loans to help cover the costs of your education. offers loans for students in your situation.

      Good luck with your studies!

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi there,

      When it comes to financing your education, there are options available for international students. One such option is applying for an international student loan. You may want to check out websites like and for more information and to apply for loans.

  9. Vivian says:

    I need a study loan to pursue my education at Niagara College On The Lake come jan 2024

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi there!

      To start your search, please visit our website. There, you can view scholarships that you might be eligible for by browsing our awards or using our quick search tool, which will narrow down the scholarships based on what you are studying, where you are studying, or where you are from.

      Once you find a scholarship you are eligible for or interested in, you must contact the institution responsible for the scholarship directly. They can assist you with the application process and any questions.

    • Charmone Wallace says:

      Hi there!

      We have lenders available to international students studying at approved schools in the United States or Canada. We also have loans available for U.S. citizens/permanent residents who are studying abroad.

      To get started visit our website.

      Please be aware that each lender has specific requirements. To ensure accuracy, kindly verify these requirements with each individual lender.

Join the conversation

IEFA logo
Thank you for visiting
Providing information about international financial aid & scholarships since 1998
2024 MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation
1101 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036