Steps to Apply for an International Student Loan

June 11th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Are you an international student looking to apply for a loan? With the added cost of travel, living expenses, tuition, and books, students may sometimes find that they need additional financial aid to support their dream of studying overseas.

If you are going to apply for a student loan, you may find that some US lenders don’t work for international students. You may also find that if they do – lenders only work with select colleges and universities.

If you are an international, study abroad, or foreign enrolled students, we’ve made the steps to apply for an international student loan even easier. We’ve streamlined the process so that you can quickly be matched with lenders that work for you.

Here is a simple guide with the steps to apply for an international student loan:

  • Step 1. You can complete the compare student loan tool by selecting your citizenship and school on our International Student Loans partner site.
  • Step 2. Click compare student loans.
  • Step 3. Review the basic terms and conditions of each lender – and choose the one that’s right for you.
  • Step 4. When you’ve decided on your loan, “Apply Now” to begin the application right online.

It’s just as simple as these easy steps to apply for an international student loan. You can get initial approval as early as a few weeks of completing your application. Keep in mind, student loans require you to pay back the amount you borrow along with interest. It is important to consider all of your financial aid alternatives and maximize funding from scholarships and grants first before applying for a loan.

Compare international student loans and apply online today!


Financial Aid Definitions

May 29th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Are you confused about the financial aid jargon? If you are a student looking to get additional financing to support your education overseas, you may need help understanding the lingo. Here’s a list of financial aid definitions that commonly appear throughout the world of loans, scholarships and grants.

  • Award package – This is typically given by your college or university that details the type and amount of financial aid you’ll be offered.
  • Capitalization – Interest rates are deferred and added to the principal of the loan.
  • Cost of education – Many financial aid packages will want to know your cost of education. This includes tuition, fees, books, transportation, room and board, etc.
  • Deferment – When international students take out a loan, the deferment period is when payments of principal (the amount you borrow) are not required.
  • Departmental scholarship – Did you apply to a specific department at a college or university? This is typically an award given to a distinguished student.
  • Disbursement – Students will see this phrase commonly in international financial aid. This is the process by which funds are given to students to meet their educational and living expenses. In terms of loans, this is when the amount you want to borrow is given to the you – this is typically dispersed for an academic period.
  • Financial aid – of course we need to define this! – financial aid is the money given to student based on both need and merit in the form of scholarships, grants, employment (which is limited and restricted for international students) and loans.
  • Foreign student – When it comes to financial aid, this is a student who has their allegiance to another country other than the country they are studying in. For example, foreign students are typically on a student or exchange visa and are ineligible for federal financial assistance.
  • Need based aid – An award granted to a student based on the financial need of the student. These awards are limited for international students.
  • Tuition waivers – A handful of U.S. states are now offering tuition waivers to international students in state institutions if students contribute to the local community – this means that students don’t pay for their tuition. Keep in mind, though, that this is generally awarded to graduate students.

Is there another phrase that you’ve come across and don’t understand? Our financial aid definitions are common phrases that you’ll run across in scholarships, grants and loans – but there are many others. We have our experts ready to help you navigate the complicated world of financial aid as you study overseas.


Do you need a cosigner for international student loans?

May 21st, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Many international students looking to financially support their education overseas turn to US loans as a way to help fund their education. If you are in this situation and are looking to apply for an international student loan, you may have some questions about eligibility and how you can qualify.

If you want a US international student loan, the first criteria the lender will look at is if you have a US cosigner- most international students will be required to have a cosigner. Your cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. This person is typically a family member or a close friend.

Why do you need a cosigner, you might ask?

When you take out an international student loan, you are required to not only to pay back the amount that you borrowed – but you are also required to pay an additional amount to the lender for the ability to borrow. Because international students may return to their home country and since there is a possibility that students may be unable to repay the loan, who would the lender be able to turn to for repayment?

A cosigner is legally obligated to repay an international student loan. In fact, the loan will appear on the cosigner’s credit history as an outstanding obligation.  If the student fails to repay, the cosigner would have to step in and make the necessary repayments.

Overall, the cosigner is joining the loan application since an international student cannot receive such credit on his/her own. If you have questions about cosigners, feel free to ask our financial aid experts who are available to answer any questions on eligibility.

If you already have a US cosigner – you can begin comparing lenders and apply right online!


When to apply for an international student loan?

May 1st, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

It’s May, and that means that many of you have received your acceptance letters from colleges and universities. Once you’ve narrowed down your schools and confirmed your attendance, it’s time to start thinking about your student visa and financial aid.

Many students ask us, when is a good time to apply for a loan?

If you are going to be an international student in the US, you are not eligible for US Federal Stafford loans. Instead, many students choose to apply for private student loans. The best time to apply for a loan is once you’ve received your acceptance letter from the school you plan to attend. If you are currently enrolled at a college or university, you can apply for a loan at any time.

Before you begin your application, as an international student, you will need to make sure that you have a US cosigner. To be eligible, you must have a cosigner in most cases, your cosigner must be a US citizen or US permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past two years with good credit. Most cosigners are family members or close friends as they are stating that they are responsible to pay any debts that you may be unable to afford.

You can apply each academic term for student loans. The time it takes for the approval will ultimately depend on how long it takes both the borrower and cosigner complete their documents and also on how quickly the school certifies the loan. Once your loan has been approved, the funds will be disbursed to the school and your school will then disperse the funds at the beginning of your term.

To get started, click here to compare international student lenders available at your college or university. Once you’ve found your student loan, you can apply right online.


Repayment Period – Why it matters to you?

April 16th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

International student loans are a popular topic of conversation, especially for those students looking for additional financing. While there are many lenders that loan to international students, each loan has its own terms and conditions that will influence how much you pay over the life of your loan.

In our previous blog, we defined what is the principal and interest rate. The interest rate, or the cost of borrowing money, is influenced by the amount of risk associated with the loan. As you increase the time period on your loan, the total risk of your loan being repaid increases, and therefore the interest rate will also be higher. The interest rate accrues on a daily basis which is determined by your interest rate, amount borrowed, and length of your loan.

And, given this information, let’s consider how this relates to the repayment period. So, what is the repayment period?
The repayment period is the act of returning money that you have previously borrowed. This includes the repayment of both your interest rate and principal that you were lent.

This is an important term since you will need to know when to make your loan payments to ensure that they are paid on time. If they are not, you could find that you will have additional associated fees for late payment, or your loan could be in default.

To avoid this, many students prefer automatic debits from their account to ensure that payment is made on time each month. In some cases, you will find that lenders will reduce your interest rate if you sign up for electronic debiting.

There are three main forms of repayment:

  • Full deferral

This form of payment is typically much easier for students who want to dedicate their time in school to just studying. This allows students to defer interest and principal repayments until after graduation (typically up to four years consecutively), or when the student drops down below part-time status. Payments will generally begin 6 months after graduation or if the student is no longer enrolled at least part time. Keep in mind that this is the most expensive option as interest will accrue during the deferment period and will be added to the balance at the time of repayment.

  • Interest Only

Another less expensive option is the interest only repayment option. This allows the student to begin paying back the accrued interest on your loan immediately, while you are in school, but your principal payments typically do not begin until 45 days graduation (up to four consecutive years) or once students drop below part-time student status.

  • Immediate Repayment

This is the least costly option for students since students begin making payments for both the principal and interest immediately once the loan has been disbursed.

For further questions about repayment period, and why this matters, contact our loan experts. If you are interested in comparing international student loans, you can do so using our international student loan comparison tool which will allow you to compare basic lender terms.

The information provided in this blog is designed to highlight features of loans and how they work. It is always important to check with your lender to confirm terms and conditions, as they can vary.


IEFA Relaunch

April 12th, 2012 by Jonathan Frankel

Just when you thought the leading resource in international education financial aid couldn’t get better, it did. IEFA.org has recently had a facelift that includes new additions along with multiple updates to existing features making it a complete resource for finding the aid you need overseas, all in one spot.

IEFA has a new, polished look, but the main feature of this site still includes a scholarship database which holds over 900 awards for international students and those studying abroad. The IEFA relaunch includes updates of the most recent information to existing content, giving students a better chance of receiving aid! Instead of searching through hundreds of scholarships, awards can now be narrowed down by searching what students are studying, where students are studying or their origin and destination. The scholarship database is now continuously updated meaning less scholarship searching and more scholarship applying!

Although scholarships assist students with their financial needs, most of them do not cover every expense associated with international education. The IEFA relaunch now allows international students in need of a private loan access to the loan information they need with a user-friendly loan comparison tool. With multiple outlets of funding available, IEFA has become a complete resource for students looking to fund overseas education.

IEFA is also the new home of the IFAB blog. This content offers the most up to date information in the international education financial world. International students in need of tips or guidance along with their financial assistance will find this beneficial.

IEFA has been a valuable resource for international students for 14 years, with the IEFA relaunch they will now have access to even more comprehensive information and the financial aid they need.


Private Student Loans for International Students

April 9th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

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.


Scholarships, Grants, Loans, oh my!

March 5th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

If you are planning to study overseas, you may find that going to school in a foreign country can be costly. While you will still have to cover your tuition, books, and living expenses, now you’ll need to factor in additional flight costs, exchange rates, health insurance, etc. While there is no doubt that studying overseas can help you become more competitive in the job market and advance your career, the immediate dent in your wallet could take a toll.

Whether you are an international, study abroad, or foreign enrolled student, you may – like many students – consider looking for external sources to help finance your education. But where should you look? Scholarships, grants, and loans are a great first step to get the funding you need:

Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to fund your education since you do not need to worry about paying back the money you receive. Some schools provide scholarships to their students based on financial need, or based on your academic merit. Contact your school to determine the availability along with any requirements and deadlines that you may need to meet.

Additionally, there are scholarships that are provided by independent organizations based on a wide range of criteria. Ever heard about the travel video contest by International Student? They awarded $4,000 to the winner for their video describing why they want to study abroad. Because these scholarships are offered by independent organization, there are a wide range of opportunities as they are looking for students with special qualifications, such as academic, athletic or artistic talent.

Check out International Scholarships to begin the scholarship search.

Grants

Grants are typically granted to students based on financial need by a non profit organization, educational institution, government division, business or individual. The higher your financial need, the more likely you are to be awarded a grant – however this can be quite difficult for an international student.

Unlike scholarships that consider other factors such as field of study, qualifications, etc., grants require students to show that they need the grant based on academic need. However, like scholarships, once the money is dispersed, you do not need to worry about paying it back to the organization.

Check out International Education Financial Aid to see what grants are available.

Loans

Unlike scholarships and grants, international student loans are dispersed to those students who apply for the loan. Once the money is dispersed, you will be responsible for paying back the money you borrowed PLUS interest. Loans are typically easier to receive than scholarships and loans, but international students in the US will need to have a US cosigner in most cases who have spent at least 2 years in the United States.

Keep in mind that there are only certain lenders that will loan to international students. Eligibility will be determined not only lender, but also by school. Before beginning the application process, you may want to check to see if you are eligible. Our partner International Student Loan has also done this process for you where they compare lenders based on your eligibility.

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Principal and Interest Rate Defined

January 30th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

As we head into the new academic year, many international students will be looking at international student loan options. Comparing loans is not easy, especially with bank terminology. One of the most important terms that will effect students is how much you are going to pay back over the course of your loan. Loans are repaid in two parts: principal and interest rates. See below for the principal and interest rate defined:

Principal
Principal is the total amount of money you were loaned. Let’s say you are planning to attend New York University and you took out a $30,000 loan to cover tuition, room and board, books, etc. This amount is what you have borrowed from the bank, and thus will be expected to pay back.

Interest Rate
There is a cost to borrowing, and this is known as the interest rate. This is the amount that you pay back to the bank on top of what you initially borrowed (the principal). Lenders typically have a range for the amount of interest they charge, which will depend on you (and your co-signer’s) creditworthiness. Typically this is expressed on an annual basis known as the annual percentage rate (APR) which will be finalized after your loan application has been submitted and reviewed. There are two types of interest rates that will be disclosed before you apply for a loan:

  • Variable Interest Rates – These interest rates move up and down depending on the interest rate index. The index is a floating rate, called the prime rate, which is typically added to a margin which is determined based on your creditworthiness. The true margin will be disclosed and finalized once your application has been reviewed.
  • Fixed Interest Rates – These interest rates will remain the same over the entire length of your loan.

Most student loans are fixed rate interest, however many private student loans do offer variable interst rate. It is important to read the terms and conditions to know how the principal and interest rate are defined, how it will be determined, and how it may change.


Loans for Spring Semester

January 10th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

It’s that time of year again! Many of you have enjoyed your winter vacation filled with holiday cheer and New Year celebrations. As you head back for Spring semester, you may realize that your holiday money did not exactly match the tab for your education. If this is your case, you may consider loans for Spring semester.

International Student Loan matches students will loans for their upcoming academic school semester. If you are an international, study abroad, or foreign enrolled student, you are not too late to apply for loans for Spring semester. To do this, you can simply compare your loan options, and apply right online.

You can apply for up to the total cost of education, as determined by your school, minus any other aid received. After you apply and receive credit approval for you and your co-signer, your school must certify the amount of the loan. The proceeds are then disbursed directly to the school. Most US students and international students must have a US co-signer thatis a US citizen or permanent resident with good credit and income history and who has lived in the US for the past two years.

Check the eligible school list to see if your school has been approved so that you can start applying for loans for Spring semester!


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