If you’ve researched all the available funding options for you as an international student in the US, and you are still in need of additional financing, your next place to look is an international student loan.
If, like many international students, you didn’t realize that loans were even available for international students, here’s a roundup of 10 things you need to know about international student loans and how to apply for them. We will also point you in the direction of additional useful resources and the loan comparison tool which you can find here.
International Student Loans are specialized private education loans that are available for international students who are studying in the USA or Canada at approved colleges and universities. US students in the USA are able to apply for Federal student loans (provided by the US Government), but these are not available to international students.
In many cases, international students in the US have to apply with a qualified cosigner and should only apply for international student loans after exhausting all scholarships, personal funds, and other options. At select schools in the US and Canada there are loans without a cosigner available for select students to apply for.
Students who are not US citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending an eligible US college or university. Loans are also available to international students in Canada (including US students) at select universities.
In most cases in the US, borrowers are required to have a credit-worthy cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident. However, there are loans available at select schools that do not require a cosigner, depending on your situation as the borrower.
Students who are not US citizens or permanent residents and who are attending schools outside the US/Canada are not currently eligible for an international student loan.
Lenders only work with specific colleges and universities, and not every lender works with international students. This can make it difficult at times to find the right option for your situation.
International Student Loan has a helpful comparison tool which will show the options that are available to you depending on your circumstances – taking into account your course of study, duration of study, field of study and if you’re studying at an approved US or Canadian college or university.
There are loans for students who have a US cosigner, and loans that do not require a co-signer that are available to students in select instances.
International student loans, like all private education loans, can be used for education-related expenses.
The main categories/items that an international student loan can cover are:
The maximum amount that you are able to take out in the form of an international student loan is the total cost of your education minus any other aid (like scholarships, grants, etc) received.
The total cost of your education will vary based on your school and the program’s cost of attendance. After you apply and receive credit approval your school must certify the amount of the loan.
Most international student loan options are only for non-US citizens studying inside the United States. However, we now have loan options at a few select universities for those who want to study in Canada!
A cosigner is required for many international student loan programs, but not all. If a cosigner is required they must be a US citizen or a US permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. Non-US citizens or non-US permanent residents cannot act as a cosigner.
Although we are not able to assist with finding a cosigner, it is common to ask close friends or family members. If you do not have a cosigner you will want to explore lenders that do not require a cosigner.
Before applying for a private student loan, you should know exactly how much you need to borrow. To do this, review the financial aid award letter sent to you by your school. Next, find a loan that meets your needs. You can use our Loan Comparison Tool to help you find a loan that suits you.
You will need to submit your application to the lender. Most international students studying in the United States are required to have a US co-signer. After you have completed your part of the student loan application, your co-signer will need to complete their part of the application.
After submission you will be sent documents relating to your loan application. Follow any instructions carefully, and ensure that you (and your cosigner) sign and return the documents in a timely manner.
When your lender has received and approved all of the documents the money is transferred directly to your school/university, and you will receive your loan proceeds from them once they have been applied to your student account.
The interest rate and repayment terms will depend on the loan option and lender you select. When selecting a lender you will need to review the terms or contact the lender directly with any specific questions. If you go with a lender that requires a cosigner the interest rate is calculated based on factors including your cosigner’s creditworthiness.
If a lender does not require a cosigner the interest and repayment rates are established in a different way. For example, with MPOWER, the interest and repayment is determined based on other factors. While they do not require a credit score, they do need to review a detailed credit report to verify payment history and good standing.
It is possible to begin the loan application process prior to being accepted to your school, however, you will need to be accepted with your student visa to finalize the loan. The first step is to find a lender; see if one is available at your college or university.
We hope you’ve found these 10 things you need to know about international student loans useful for your plans to study in the USA.
For more information check out our posts on 5 international student loan terms you need to know and Student loan repayment explained.
If you are already, or are going to be an international student in the US, it will be required of you to have a cosigner while applying for a loan.
If you do require a cosigner, the cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and they must have lived in the US for more than 2 years. They should likewise have good credit history. Non-US natives and non-US permanent residents are not allowed to be a cosigner for international student loans.
Despite of the fact that most international student loan applications require a cosigner, students attending a growing number of schools and colleges in the US and Canada can apply for a loan without one.
If you do not have a cosigner, there is guidance on how to find one in the International Student Loan Resources, but looking for a “no cosigner loan” could be the best choice for you.
Since most international students in the US don’t have any financial history there, a cosigner joins the loan application process. Approval for the loan and the interest rate applicable are then based upon the perceived reliability of the cosigner.
The cosigner is lawfully bound to repay the loan if the borrower does not make the payments.
Don’t have a cosigner? If research doesn’t help you find one, see if a loan that doesn’t require a cosigner is available for you.
With loans that do not require a cosigner, rather than using the applicant’s credit history, lenders assess your education and career path, in addition to other factors when making a decision on approval for a loan. These might include your nation of origin, graduation date, and what school you are attending.
The majority of student loans available for international students are solely for non-US natives who will be in the United States. However, a new option helps students apply for loans at a number of colleges in Canada as well!
International Students in Canada may now apply for an international student loan without a cosigner!
International Student Loan has partnered with a lender that can offer loans to students from over 190 countries, including the US, who are attending select schools in Canada. Up to this point it has been hard for international students to finance university education in Canada, but thanks to our partner lenders and International Student Loan, there are now various schools in Canada where no-cosigner loans are available.
International students at eligible schools can apply for a loan to fund the expense of your education including the cost of tuition, lodging, sustenance, insurance, and supplies. As referenced previously, with this sort of loan, rather than focusing on your or your cosigner’s financial record, the loan specialists take into account different factors.
For example, your education and future career, your nation of origin, your expected graduation date and what school you will be studying at will be considered. Students who are not US natives or permanent residents, and who are going to schools outside the US/Canada are not presently qualified for international student loans.
Students who are not US natives or permanent residents, and who are going to schools outside the US/Canada are not presently qualified for international student loans.
International students should use the loan comparison tool to see whether they can apply for a loan without a cosigner and if their chosen school is available. Provided that this is the case, they should then be able to review the terms and conditions of the credit agreement and apply online.
While inquiring about a no-cosigner loan, here are a couple of things you should consider:
When your application has been assessed you will get further information about your loan and the terms and conditions. These will cover the financing cost and the total amount you can obtain. These will differ by loan specialist and depend on your circumstances.
No-cosigner advances through our partner have a fixed rate of interest and enable you to access up to $50,000 in a 2 year period. You should state the amount you might want to borrow on your application.
Once approved for the loan, the funds are disbursed directly to your school or college.
The whole process takes around about a month and a half, so you should plan ahead and ensure that you make your application in time.
To check whether there are no-cosigner loans at your school, start with the loan comparison tool.
Find out more about International Student Loans.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.