10 FAQs About Private Student Loans for International Students

Apr 23, 2018 by

Each year thousands of students from across the world enroll in U.S. public and private universities. While numerous scholarships are available to international students to cover their tuition at U.S. schools, a scholarship or grant may not be enough to cover the complete cost of attending college, and they may need more funds to meet the additional expenses. These additional costs include books and supplies, accommodation and meals, miscellaneous expenses, transportation, and personal living expenses.

Here are 10 questions most frequently asked by foreign students about getting education loans in the United States.

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for a student loan in the U.S.?

Borrowers who are not U.S. citizens and have gained admission in a U.S. college are eligible to apply for a private education loan in the U.S.

Can I get a federal student loan?

Federal (government) student loans are only available to U.S. nationals. Foreign students, however, can apply for student loans with private lenders. These include banks, credit unions, and financial institutions that offer loans up to the complete cost of education less any financial aid and personal funds. The approved amount is directly disbursed to your college.

When is the right time to apply for an international student loan?

While you should begin your student loan research and comparison well in advance and may even submit applications to your shortlisted lenders, you will be granted a loan only after being accepted at school.

Aside from confirmation admission from your school, you will need a student visa to the U.S. before your loan is approved.

Is there a deadline by which I need to apply for an international student loan?

While there are no application deadlines, it helps to apply for your education loan well in advance as it can take up to four weeks for the complete processing and disbursement of funds.

Do I need a cosigner?

Yes. Most private lenders require international student borrowers to have a cosigner who is either a U.S. citizen or has noncitizen permanent residency status. The cosigner must be an adult and must have a strong credit history.

Though your loan interest rate and repayment will vary based on the lender you choose, having a creditworthy cosigner may get you a lower interest rate and better repayment terms.

When do I need to start paying back my student loan?

This may vary based on the type of loan, the amount borrowed and the repayment terms of your loan. Before you sign up for a loan, check with your lender when your first payment is due and if interest will accrue in the period leading up to the first payment.

Are there any repayment benefits of international student loans?

As these are private loans, the benefits that come with federal loans—such as loan forgiveness, income-linked repayment, and deference under special circumstances—are generally not available. However, more and more private lenders are now trying to match the benefits of federal loans and therefore offering repayment protection against situations such as loan default and unemployment.

Carefully check the protections and incentives offered by your shortlisted lenders before you make a decision. Compare the various private student loan programs available to international students to pick out the offer that comes with maximum benefits.

Is there a maximum limit to the loan amount I can apply?

The financial aid officer at your college will help determine how much you need to apply based on the course applied to, the duration of your education and any financial assistance you may have received from other sources.

Once the credit is approved, your school will certify the approved sum before you can proceed further.

Can I show an approved student loan as proof of funds to get my visa?

Not all schools will accept loan approval as a valid proof of funds. You will need to check with the consular office and the college if this option is available in your case.

What is the best way to apply for an international student loan?

Use a trusted online loan aggregator to compare loans you are eligible for and to apply to several lenders at once.

To sum up, foreign students who wish to study in a college or university in the United States can apply for personalized education loans with private lenders. Federal loans, or loans from the U.S. Department of Education, are not available to international students. The three main requirements for a private lender to consider your loan application are: acceptance letter from a U.S. school, student visa, and a qualified cosigner who will share your loan obligation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.