It’s January, and international students are ringing in the New Year in the United States and in their home countries all over the world. As you look forward to what 2013 will offer, keep in mind that a New Year usually means a new semester starting up, too! And with that, it’s definitely time to think of how to get your student loans for the new semester!
If you are an international student, you will soon realize that federal loans through the U.S. government won’t be an option for many international students looking for student loans. There are, however, private student loans that international students are eligible for if they have a US cosigner (no cosigner loans are available only in select instances). This cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident with good credit who has resided in the US for the past two years.
Private student loans function very similarly to federal loans, with the added advantage that many private lenders open their services to international students as well as U.S. citizens. There are also rarely application deadlines (as opposed to the rigid deadlines found through the U.S. and state governments), and funds can be used to pay for those incidental educational expenses (your flight into the country, for example) which can sometimes be incurred at a higher rate by international students. Institutions granting loans to international students include both banks and specialized financial aid organizations. Make sure to look into these options early, as applying internationally may take some time.
Whether it’s continuing loans from your fall semester or seeking new ones to meet unforeseen expenses for the spring semester, now is the time to get on top of your student loans for 2013. Search for private student loans, and talk with your school’s financial aid advisor to straighten out your student loans for the new semester as soon as possible!
* New Year Money photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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.