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.
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!