If you are running the numbers on the cost of your education, you may find that even though you’ve scraped together your money, applied to an overwhelming amount of scholarships, and sought out any institutional aid – you are still coming up short to cover your education costs. The good news is that whether you’ve realized this before your academic term or even once you’ve started, you can apply for an international student loan throughout the year.

Many students ask us when to apply for an international student loan – and the answer to that question will just depend on your situation. Most international students apply for their loan in July and August so that they will have the money upon arrival in their host country. Remember, international student loans are only disbursed by your school, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything in place so when you arrive you’ll have the money you need to start off the academic year off right.

If you are an existing international student and are looking for financial help for the next semester, use your summer break to plan ahead. At this point, you should have an idea of your costs, deadlines, and personal funds. Set aside some time to consider the amount of money you’ll need for the new academic year, find a cosigner, and do the paperwork during your break so that you’ll be prepared without sacrificing your education.

While we recommend that international students apply before school starts, you may find that the semester has started and you are going to come up short. In cases like this, you will still be able to apply for an international student loan during the course of the year. There is no right time on when to apply for an international student loan – only that you do it in advance of when you need the money on hand. International student loans can take approximately 2-3 weeks to process, so make sure to budget wisely, count the funds you have, and make sure that you can meet your financial needs throughout the year.