Understanding the international student loan

February 27, 2024

international student loan

The opportunity to study abroad can be an unforgettable adventure. However, it usually is accompanied by a significant cost. International students might be seeking out different funding options to fund their education. One of these options is student loans for international students. This guide is comprehensive and will take you through the complexities of student loans for international students, from understanding the different kinds and eligibility requirements to navigating the top private loan providers and other financing options.

In this article, You will:

  • Understanding the importance of international student loans is vital to finance an education abroad.
  • The options for private student loans differ and can require a cosigner who is creditworthy or enrolled in a qualified program and has a good credit history to be able to get.
  • Strategies for managing budgets, exploring ways to refinance and preserving good credit.

International student loans are of various types.

There are two varieties of student loans, including federal and private loans. Federal loans usually require permanent residency, which means they are not accessible to international students. Private student loans are the only alternative for students from abroad. Private loans are provided by lending institutions such as banks and credit unions.

The selection of a private student loan isn’t an all-inclusive procedure. It is crucial to consider aspects like the rates of interest, repayment terms, fees, and other aspects when looking at loan options. When you carefully evaluate these factors, you can select the best loan for your financial goals and long-term objectives.

Criteria for eligibility for private student loans

International student loans usually require an able U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner enrollment in a reputable program and a credit history. This means that locating a cosigner who is suitable is crucial for international students as it increases the likelihood of loan approval and also securing better loan conditions.

There are lenders that can be similar to MPOWER Financing. They do not need cosigners for loans to international students.

The eligibility requirements for loans to private students can differ among private loan lenders and rely on factors like:

  • Credit history.
  • Study program.
  • Future earnings capacity.

It is essential to investigate the different loan providers and their criteria to make sure you meet the requirements and increase your chances of getting the best student loan for your specific situation.

Private student loans are available for international students.

This can be a confusing and overwhelming process, with a myriad of lenders offering various loan options. It’s easy to become lost among the many choices. The trick is to take this challenge with a knowledge of your financial requirements and objectives when comparing lenders.

Important factors to consider when selecting the best international student loan

When comparing student loans from private lenders, there are a few key elements to consider:

  • Fees and interest rates.
  • Terms of loans.
  • Options for repayment.
  • Lender reputation.

It is important to consider these factors in light of your financial circumstances and your long-term goals. For instance, if you prefer low monthly payments, then you might want to go for a loan that has more time to pay. If reducing the overall cost is your primary goal, you might prefer to take a loan with a shorter repayment term.

Find a cosigner should one be required.

A cosigner is someone who will assume the loan’s responsibility in the case that the primary borrower is unable to meet their obligations to repay. As mentioned, some private lenders require cosigners. For students from abroad, having an individual with a good credit score can boost the likelihood of loan acceptance and help secure better loan terms.

This is especially important since a large percentage of private loans to international students need an eligible U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner. A reliable cosigner can increase your chances of loan approval and allow you to get higher rates of interest and terms for loans.

Best private student loan service providers for international students

Now that you have a knowledge of the international student loan market and aspects to take into consideration, it’s time to research the best private lenders for international students. MPOWER Financing, Prodigy Finance, Earnest and Sallie Mae are among the top lenders on the market. Each comes offering distinctive features and needs.

Suppose you are familiar with these lenders and their products. In that case, you will gain an understanding of the different loan options offered and then make an educated choice in accordance with your financial needs and goals in education.

MPOWER Financing

MPOWER Financing is a private student loan company specifically designed for international students. It offers loans without the requirement for collateral, cosigners or credit history.

MPOWER evaluates applicants based on a variety of criteria. These could include:

  • School attended.
  • Date of graduation planned.
  • Grade point average.
  • Experience from internship or work in the field you want to work in.
  • The future earnings potential is based on the data on industry salaries.

MPOWER Financing loans are managed online, and there are no penalties for prepayment. MPOWER was founded by international students. MPOWER offers a variety of different repayment options for student loan borrowers. They also offer a 0.25 % reduction in the interest rate if you make automatic payments through your bank account. Interest-only loan payments are offered during the school year and during the grace period of six months after graduation.

Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance is another private student loan provider that focuses on international students and provides loans that do not require cosigners or collateral. Instead of relying on credit scores, Prodigy Finance, like MPOWER, assesses applicants according to their career path and potential earnings. This allows them to offer loans to those who might not be eligible for traditional loans because of a lack of credit history or a cosigner.

Prodigy Finance offers flexible repayment terms that range from seven to 20 years, along with an extended grace period of six months. In addition, there are no fees for repaying loans prior to the time. It is nevertheless important to consider the advantages as well as the disadvantages of Prodigy Finance loans, such as the high and fluctuating interest rates, fees for administrative services and a limited ability to qualify.


Earnest is an online lending company that provides refinancing and private student loan options for U.S. and international students planning to attend college in the U.S. They offer flexible private loans for students at low interest rates, no charges and a longer than average repayment time. To qualify for Earnest’s student loans for private students, international students require a cosigner with a U.S. address and a Social Security number.

Earnest has flexible payment plans, such as the option to make interest-only payments, skip payments and change the repayment term. They also offer the benefit of a 0.25 per cent reduction in your interest rate when you create autopay. This will make managing your loan more efficient and reduce the amount of money you borrow, which includes charges for origination.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is an enviable private student loan company that offers loans to international students with an acceptable cosigner. Sallie Mae offers a variety of repayment options, like delayed payments, fixed monthly instalments, and the possibility of release for cosigners after 12 consecutive timely payments.

The options to repay Sallie Mae loans range from 10 to 20 years, and although the repayment terms might not be as flexible as those offered by other lenders, there are a few options available to the borrowers to investigate. When looking at Sallie Mae as a possible lender, students from abroad could benefit from financial resources to fund their education.

International students can find alternative funding sources for their education.

While student loans from private lenders can be a useful source for international students, they will likely require other sources of funding like grants, scholarships, and work.

If you consider these other financing options, you can reduce your dependence on loans, cut down your debt, and create economically stable prospects for your future. Let’s take a closer look at these alternatives and how they can help you on your journey to study abroad.

Grants and scholarships

Grants and scholarships are forms of financial aid which don’t need repayment, making them an attractive choice. These awards are usually determined by academic excellence as well as financial need or other criteria.

International students can apply for grants and scholarships through online databases such as IEFA.org, educational institutions and government programs.

If you take your time researching and applying for grants and scholarships, you may be able to get the funds you require to pay for your education without racking up massive debt.


A job can help international students pay for their education and gain an invaluable experience in the workplace. Off-campus and on-campus employment opportunities are available, with some limitations on the hours per week worked. Alongside traditional jobs, international students could be eligible for co-op or internship programs that are related to their chosen field of study.

When they have completed their academic studies, students studying abroad could even be able to remain employed within the United States with the assistance of work visas that employers sponsor.

Family Support

Support from family members can play an important role in assisting international students in paying their educational expenses. Family members’ support can drastically reduce the need for loans and reduce debt, but it all depends on the capability of family members to provide the necessary assistance.

Tips for handling international student loans

The ability to manage student loans from abroad is essential to ensure financial stability and make sure that the repayment process is smooth. By establishing your budget, looking into refinancing options, and maintaining a credit score, you can prepare yourself to succeed and reduce the financial stress that comes with the repayment of your loans.

Following these guidelines and being vigilant in managing your loans will aid you in financing your education and creating an enduring financial foundation to ensure your financial future.

Making a budget

Making budgets is a crucial element in managing international student loans. It allows you to monitor your expenses and make sure that payments are timely. A well-planned budget can help you identify areas where funds could be saved and put towards the repayment of loans faster.

To make a budget:

  • Calculate your monthly expected income.
  • Write down every expense you have.
  • Classify each expense.
  • Give a budget amount for each expense.

It’s important to review your budget on a regular basis to ensure you’re adhering to your budget and making the necessary adjustments to ensure you’re staying on the right track. If you’re able to stick to a well-planned budget, it will be easier to manage your loan payments and move towards financial freedom.

Options for refinancing

Refinancing your student loans abroad could help you get higher interest rates and loan terms, which can lower the total costs of borrowing. MPOWER FinancingEarnestProdigy Finance and Sallie Mae provide refinancing options for loans. However, it is essential, prior to making a choice, to compare the options in terms of the criteria for eligibility and the terms of loans.

If you look into refinancing options, you may be able to get lower interest rates that allow you to reduce your monthly payments or shorten the term of your loan, which makes it much easier to control your loan and achieve financial stability.

Maintaining good credit

Maintaining a good credit score is crucial to future borrowing possibilities as well as the overall stability of finances. To maintain a healthy credit score, ensure that your loan payments are on time and you handle other financial obligations with care. Some ways to maintain excellent credit include keeping the utilization of your credit low, keeping your current credit cards, and keeping track of your credit reports on a regular basis.

By taking a proactive approach to controlling your credit score and making prudent financial decisions, you’ll build solid credit scores and an enduring financial base to help you in the future.

Understanding and managing international student loans is an essential aspect of financing your education dreams. By exploring the various types of loans, eligibility criteria and loan providers, you can make informed decisions that best suit your financial needs. Remember, the key to successfully navigating the world of international student loans is staying proactive, informed and committed to your financial goals.

Frequently Answered Questions

Can I get loans for an international student?

International students are able to request student loans. The loan funds are typically transferred directly to the financial aid office, which then applies them to fees and tuition.

How do I obtain a student loan as an international student with no cosigner?

Private student loans for international students without cosigners can be obtained through an accredited school from a qualified country and registered in a degree-granting course for at least half of the semester hours. In addition, applicants must possess an entry visa for students to enter the U.S., complete the program within two years, and reside in the U.S. while attending school.

Private lenders like Stilt, MPOWER and Prodigy Finance offer these loans, although personal savings and scholarships could also be an option. The process of finding a loan cosigner is possible through family members, friends, alumni associations at universities, and online platforms.

What kinds of loans for international students?

Private student loans are an excellent alternative for students studying abroad who aren’t qualified for federal student aid or federal loans. This is a typical type of loan available to international students. They are available through a variety of institutions and banks.

What are the main aspects to take into consideration when looking at different student loans?

When comparing student loans from private lenders, it is important to look at the loan’s terms and rates, interest rates, repayment options, and lender reputation.

Are there other options for funding for international students other than loans?

There are other sources of funding for students from abroad apart from loans, including grants and scholarships, employment opportunities and family assistance.

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