Student Loan: As an international student, paying for college in the U.S. can be tough, especially when you don’t qualify for federal student aid. But don’t give up hope just yet! You’ve got options when it comes to financing your degree abroad as an international student. In this article, we’ll walk through the 7 best student loan opportunities specifically for international students looking to study in the U.S. From finding a worthy cosigner to utilizing your home country’s loan programs, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn how you can fund your American education journey as an international student!
Introduction: Why Student Loans Are Critical for International Students
As an international student, paying for your education can be challenging. Tuition and living expenses in foreign countries are often significantly higher than in your home country. While scholarships and personal funding can help, for most students these will not cover the total cost. This is why student loans are critical—they provide you access to funding that can bridge the gap and make your goals of studying abroad a reality.
When evaluating student loan options, look for programs that:
- Offer loans specifically for international students. These will have terms and conditions that account for your unique circumstances.
- Provide competitive interest rates. As an international student, you want to minimize the overall cost of borrowing money. Look for rates that are lower than private bank loans.
- Offer flexible repayment terms. Ideally, you want a grace period after graduating before payments are due, as well as the ability to adjust payment amounts and schedule. Some programs offer payment postponement if needed.
- Charge few or no fees. Look for options with no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
- Do not require a cosigner. As an international student, providing a cosigner can be difficult. Look for “no cosigner” student loan programs.
While the loan process for international students may seem complicated, don’t get discouraged. Start by researching programs that specialize in funding for international students. Fill out applications thoroughly and be prepared to provide any requested documents to support your application. Apply to multiple programs to increase your chances of approval.
With the right student loan, you can make your dreams of earning a degree from a foreign university come true. While repayment is a big responsibility, focus on your studies and remember that the investment in your education will open up more opportunities in the long run. With hard work and persistence, you can secure funding for your studies and eventually pay off the loan. The key is not to lose hope and explore all options available for international students.
7 Best Student Loan Opportunities for International Students
As an international student, finding ways to pay for your education can be challenging. Student loans and scholarships specifically for international students are available, you just have to know where to look. Here are some of the best student loan opportunities for international students:
1. MPOWER Financing
MPOWER Financing specializes in student loans and scholarships for international students. They offer loans for both undergraduate and graduate degrees at more than 350 top universities in the US and Canada. Their loans are available for up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance. Repayment terms are flexible, ranging from 5 to 15 years.
2. Prodigy Finance
Prodigy Finance provides student loans for international master’s students at top schools in the US, UK, and Europe. Their loans cover up to 100% of tuition and living expenses. Borrowers don’t need a co-signer and receive competitive interest rates. Loans must be repaid over a 5- to 10-year period after you graduate.
3. Ascent Funding
Ascent Funding offers private student loans for undergraduate and graduate international students in the US and Canada. You can borrow up to $200,000 to cover tuition, housing, and other college expenses. Their loans have flexible repayment terms of up to 15 years. A cosigner is required for most loans.
EduLoan specializes in student loans and financing for South African students studying abroad. They offer loans covering up to 100% of costs for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees worldwide. Loan amounts range from $500 to $100,000 with terms of 5 to 15 years. EduLoan also provides study abroad scholarships for South African students.
5. Future Finance
Future Finance provides student loans and financing for international undergraduate and master’s students in the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada. You can borrow up to £40,000 per year to cover tuition, living costs, and other fees. Their loans have flexible repayment terms of up to 10 years. Future Finance considers students from all countries, though a UK guarantor may be required depending on your country of origin.
CommonBond offers student loan refinancing and consolidation for international students and graduates in the US. They refinance both private and federal student loans at competitive fixed and variable interest rates. CommonBond will refinance up to $500,000 in student loan debt and provides flexible repayment terms of 5 to 20 years. There are no prepayment penalties if you pay off your loan early.
Avanse provides education loans for Indian students pursuing higher education in India or abroad. They offer loans up to ₹1.5 crore ($200,000) to cover tuition, accommodation, and other costs at more than 5,000 approved colleges and universities worldwide. Avanse offers attractive interest
READ ALSO: Top Best Federal Student Loans of 2024
Am I eligible for federal student aid in the U.S.?
Unfortunately, as an international student, you are not eligible for federal student aid like Pell Grants or subsidized federal student loans. However, some private student loan lenders do offer loans for international students if you have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
What types of private student loans are available for international students?
The main options for private student loans for international students are:
- Cosigned loans: These require a creditworthy U.S. cosigner, like a parent, guardian, or sponsor. The cosigner agrees to be jointly responsible for repaying the loan.
- Non-cosigned loans: Some lenders offer student loans for international students without a cosigner. However, you typically need good credit and will face higher interest rates.
- Loans from your home country: Check if your home country offers student loans or scholarships for studying abroad. The terms may be more favorable than private U.S. loans.
How can I build credit to qualify for a student loan on my own?
As an international student, building a good U.S. credit history can be challenging but possible. Some steps to take include:
- Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account, like a parent’s. Their good payment history can help boost your score.
- Opening a secured credit card and using it responsibly. Make regular on-time payments to establish a good payment pattern.
- Paying rent and utility bills on time. Some lenders may consider a good payment history for “trade line” accounts like rent in their underwriting process.
- Checking your credit report for errors and disputing them. Mistakes on your report could negatively impact your score.
Building credit takes time, so start as early as possible. With a solid credit history, you’ll have an easier time qualifying for student loans and other financing on your own in the future.