As an international student applying for a study abroad loan, one of the key things you will need to have is a cosigner. Don’t really know what a cosigner is? Not to worry, here is a breakdown of  what a cosigner is, their role, and the best way to get one.

What is a Cosigner?
When applying for an international student loan, lenders need to evaluate your financial background and stability before approving your application. This means that they need to make sure that you will pay them back. However, because you are an international student you do not have a financial record in the US for lenders to look up. This is where a cosigner becomes an important part of the international student loan process.

A cosigner is someone who signs your loan application with you and by doing so says, ¨If Maria cannot make her loan payments, for whatever reason, I will take over the responsibility and make the payments on her behalf.¨ A cosigner signs this legal document which states that they will take on the responsibility of your debt if you cannot.

Who Can Be a Cosigner?
When looking for a cosigner it is important that they fit the requirements. The US lender needs to be able to access their credit history to decide whether or not to accept your loan application and what interest rates to provide you. This means that your cosigner must have the following qualities:

  • Your cosigner must be a US citizen or legal resident (have possession of a green card)
  • Your cosigner must have lived in the US the past 2 years

What to Look For in a Cosigner?
The person you choose as your cosigner is giving the lender permission to access their financial history. The lender does so to calculate what type of loan and payment plan to offer you. This means that you want to choose someone who has good credit. Why? The better your cosigner’s credit, the better interest rates the lender will provide you. The worse your cosigner’s credit, the higher the interest rates.

How to Find a Cosigner
The best place to look for a potential cosigner is within your group of friends or family unit. Although your potential cosigner may be someone close to you, to increase the chances that who you ask will say yes, it is a good idea to go in prepared. Becoming someone’s cosigner is a very big responsibility because if for whatever reason you cannot make payments this person is signing a legal document committing to take the responsibility. This is a financial contract that may have negative repercussions on your cosigner so it is important to approach them with a financial plan of how you will actually be responsible for making your payments.

To learn more about what is good and bad credit, check out our section on What is a Credit Score.