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.
If you are like most international students right now, you are probably scratching your head wondering how you are going to cover your education expenses. After all, tuition alone will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. And, who has that money at their disposal?
If you need more money to help cover this year’s education expenses, international student loans can help you cover your expenses. In fact, apply now and you’ll be able to receive the money before your semester begins.
But wait! Do you know where to start? Do you know how to compare your options? Is there a way you can see what student loan options are available to you in just a few clicks?
International Student Loan cordially invites you to join them on Thursday, July 24th at 11am EST, where they will be answering these, and other important questions that come up.
What: Compare Your Student Loan Options
Where: Right Online – Reserve Your Spot Now
When: Thursday, July 24th at 11am EST
Why: To Find Student Loans that meets your needs!
Tune in for more tips on how you can navigate your financial aid and what other resources are available to help cover your costs no matter where your studies take you.
Deadline: July 9th at 3pm EST
International Student Loan and International Student have combined forces during the month of July to bring you three great chances to win $100! Yesterday the Financial Aid Fun contest was announced and today question 1 of the Financial Aid Fun Contest released! All you need to do is find the correct answer to the question (you can find help here), then post the correct answer either to this blog or one of the following:
If you submit the correct answer you’ll be entered into the drawing to win $100! You only have until July 9th at 3pm EST to submit your answer, so make sure you post your answer as soon as possible!
The question you must correctly answer is:
What is a co-signer?
Time is limited so start searching now and post your answer before the deadline. If you aren’t the winner this week make sure you come back next week. There will be a new question posted, meaning a new chance to win $100!
If you missed the announcement of the winner for the first question- here he is:
“A cosigner is someone who guarantees that if the borrower cannot pay back the loan, they will be legally responsible to pay back the debt. In other words, the cosigner is taking on a huge responsibility for the international student loan or study abroad loan since they are being asked to accept the responsibility of paying back the total loan amount plus any interest.”
Congrats Islam! For those who did not win, don’t worry, just answer our next question for a chance to win!
International student loan terms are confusing. Repayment, deferral, interest rate, cosigner, credit score, and the list goes on and on. It’s almost that time to apply for international student loans, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. As you make these important financial decisions, you will need to know what these terms are, and how they apply to you. After all, these terms can impact how much you’ll pay back – and when.
Join us this Thursday, June 26th at 10:00 am EST for our next live Hangout where you can learn about student loan terms and what they can mean for you. So grab your notebook and a cup of coffee, and let’s talk international student loan.
What: Uncoding student loan terms
Where: Google+ Hangout – RSVP now
When: Thursday, June 26th at 10:00 am EST
Jennifer Frankel, Director of Financial Services at International Student Loan, will provide you with an overview, and then will answer all of your questions to make sure you are prepared! Be sure to set a calendar reminder, and let us know if you’ll be joining our Hangout. Have your questions ready and join the conversation in the meantime on Twitter at #FinancialAidTalk.
If you need an international student loan for the semester, you have a few more months to prepare! That’s why tomorrow, Wednesday, at 3pm EST, International Student Loan will be hosting a free Google Hangout to answer all of your questions. Join them to learn about international student loans including:
- What you need to apply
- Requirements for approval
- What to expect during the process
They’ll be available to answer all of your questions when it comes to your international student loan, so don’t miss it! To join the Hangout live, all you need to do is:
- Sign up for the Hangout
- Bookmark the page
- Set a calendar alarm for 3pm EST on Wednesday, May 21st
- Get your questions ready
- Join us live!
Want to see previous hangouts? Check out International Student Loan’s YouTube page where you can find videos on all things financial aid for students studying abroad.
If you are looking to apply for a student loan to help finance your education, then you’ll need to have a US cosigner. All international students and most US students need a cosigner to join their student loan application in order to get a US student loan. That’s because these banks and lenders need to have solid credit history to issue their approval. For many students, this can be a stopping point. But don’t let it stop you!
Join me, Jennifer Frankel, this Friday where we will host an entire Google Hangout devoted to giving you the information you need to help you in finding a US cosigner. We will discuss important issues including:
- What is a cosigner?
- Why should you care about getting a cosigner?
- What are the requirements your cosigner must have?
- Where can you find a cosigner?
- How should you start the dialogue?
Joining the conversation is easy – and it’s brought to you free.
When Is It?
Attend the Google Hangout this Friday, April 11th at 3:00 EST Set your calendar to remind you when you’re ready.
Be sure to check your local time so that you don’t miss it!
What Do I Need to Know?
Here’s how to join the free information session:
- Join us on our On Air Hangout from your Google + account.
- Send in your questions through the Hangout.
- We will also be available to answer any questions on Twitter or Facebook using #FinancialAidTalk
We hope you’ll join our Hangout and we look forward to seeing you there!
December is here! And before you head off for winter break, it’s important to also think about your finances. Set a few hours each day searching for awards and applying so that you’ll be in good shape in time for the new semester. Our Scholarship Search makes it easy to do, here’s how:
Create an account to allow you to search, save and apply for the awards of your choice. Totally free, all you need to do is register here.
- Search awards
Once you have registered, now you can search awards based on the name of the award, what you are studying, where you are studying, or where you are from. You will be able to narrow down the awards to those your are eligible for.
You will be able to get the information you need to apply for the scholarship. Fill out the appropriate forms and submit the information directly to the organization of your choice.
Not ready to apply? You can also bookmark the awards that you are interested in, and come back later to apply. Yes, it really is that simple!
Scholarships, grants, and fellowships are the perfect award as it is money given to you that is not required to pay back. Depending on the award, you may need to show that you need the money, or it may be based on merit.
If you still need additional help funding your education overseas, then an international student loan can cover the gap. Unlike scholarships, grants, and fellowships, loans require that you pay back the money with interest. Our Comparison Tool will allow you to select your school and citizenship, and find the available loans that will work for you.
Want more information on scholarships? Check out our scholarship blog posts.
As an international student in the US, chances are you have to worry more about funding your education in the US than your domestic peers do. Because international students do not qualify for federal loans and often have to pay out of state tuition at state colleges, they generally end up paying more for their education than US students.
This infographic seeks to help international students explore their options when it comes to funding their education in the US. Renata and Cristian are both international students, one at a private university, the other at a community college. Like 63% of international students, each primarily rely on personal and family support to pay for their education. However, when something comes up, they both have to find different ways to support themselves.
We hope that this infographic will prove helpful to you as you learn about your different funding options. With the right combination of financial aid, we are certain that you will be able to afford your US education.
Click the infographic above to zoom in.
The new school year is almost here and while you may know where you are planning to study abroad – and perhaps even know what classes you’ll be taking – you may soon realize that you still have to get your finances in order. After all, the amount of financial aid available to international students can be quite limited. If you have finalized your budget for school and found that you still need help covering your expenses, you can apply for student loans for your overseas adventure.
Now’s the Time
July and August are the peak months when most international students apply for their loans. While loans can be applied to year round, this allows sufficient time to process all the necessary paperwork, get approved, transfer the money from your lender to your school, and for you to receive the funds from your university or college.
Understanding the Loan Process
To apply for international student loans, you can simply compare lenders and find the one that works best to suit your needs. Most non-US citizens will need to have a US cosigner who has been in the US for the past two years with good credit. The cosigner can only be a US citizen or US permanent resident. US citizens applying for loans are not required to have a cosigner, however this can reduce the interest rate and improve the likelihood of approval. Once you have your cosigner:
- You and your cosigner can complete the online application
- Depending on your lender you can get instant approval immediately (some lenders take about 48 hours)
- Give yourself 6-8 weeks to process your loan information
- Your lender will then disburse the funds directly to your university
- Your university will then apply the funds to your costs and refund you the excess amount
Apply for International Student Loans
To get started, you can use our comparison tool to see what options are available at your school. You will be able to apply for the total cost of your education minus any financial aid you receive. Remember, your school will need to certify the amount of money you take out, and because of this the lender must work with the school you’ll be attending. Our loan comparison tool takes all of this into consideration and only shows those lenders that work with your school so that it makes it easy for you to apply for student loans.
If you are planning to apply for student loans come July or August, it’s important to know key terms so that you can evaluate lenders and choose the one that works best for you. The international student loans that are available have different repayment options. Repayment is defined as the act of paying back the money (with interest) that was initially loaned to you. It means that you are looking not only at how much you are borrowing, but the timing – when will you be expected to begin paying back the loans? So let’s take a closer look at student loan repayment.
Borrowers typically have three different options available on private student loans, it includes full deferral, payment of interest only, or immediate interest and principal repayment. We will explain the three options below, however keep in mind the further you delay payments the more money the lender will expect you to pay.
- Full Loan Deferral – Student loans with a full loan deferral mean that you will not be required to pay back interest or principal until 6 months after graduation, or if you are no longer considered a full time student. Keep in mind that interest will accrue during the deferral period and will be added to the amount you owe.
- Interest Payments Only – As the name alludes, you will only pay back interest while you are enrolled in school and the principal (and remaining interest) will be deferred until 45 days after graduation or if you are no longer considered full time. With this option, you will be required to begin making payments on your loan while you are in school, but since you will be paying back interest during this period – you will owe less since you will not be deferring interest as well.
- Immediate Repayment – This means that once you’ve received your loan, you will begin immediately making payments back to the lender to cover both the principal and repayment. This option requires you to pay back the money right away, and thus is typically the less expensive option since you do not defer payments (and accrue more interest).
Interested in learning more about student loans? Check out our previous blog on understanding interest rates.