International Student Loans

International students often have difficulties funding their education in the United States. Scholarships and grants are available but are unlikely to cover all the expenses. International students who have been accepted to a university but do not have the financial resources to pay for it can sometimes solve their financial problems with a student loan.

While international students are not eligible for the student loans provided by the U.S. government, such as Stafford Loans, they may be eligible for privately funded loans. Funds from these loans can be used to pay for tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, books, and other expenses.  Private student loans from established brokers tend to have competitive interest rates and no application fees.

Listed below are some characteristics and criteria for international student loans.

A Co-Signer is Required.

This criterion is the most difficult for international students to meet. International student loans require a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (i.e. someone with a Green Card) to also sign the documents.  This person may be a family member, friend, or any other U.S. citizen or resident. However, the co-signer must be creditworthy, have a god history of income, and may be required to have lived in the United States for the past two years.

Loans from $1,500 to $70,000.

International students can usually borrow as little or as much money as they need. International student loans also tend to have a minimum (~$1,500) and maximum (~$50,000) amounts that can be borrowed annually. Students who have completed their undergraduate studies and are enrolled in post-graduate professional degree (Medicine, Law, and Business) can sometimes borrow larger annual amounts (up to $70,000).

You Control the Funds.

Funds from a student loan are paid to the student, not the co-signer and not to the university. This means that the student must be responsible and be sure that all education expenses are paid for before using the funds for personal items.

Repayment Delayed While in School.

International student loans often do not need to be repaid while the student is still school and can also be deferred for up to six months after the student graduates.  Afterwards, students can have up to 20 years to repay the loan by making a monthly payment. If student encounter unexpected financial hardship they may also be eligible for extending the timeframe for repaying the loan.

Loans can be Used to Show Proof of Finances.

International students have to satisfy certain financial requirements before being admitted to a university and before being issued a student visa. Being approved for a loan is one way to show sufficient financial resources. Students can be pre-approved for a loan without being enrolled in a university. The pre-approval demonstrates that the student has access to sufficient funds and ca therefore be admitted. Once the student is admitted, the loan process can be completed and the funds sent to the student. An international student advisor usually helps students with this process.

Several online resources that help provide loans to international students are: