When do you need a cosigner for a student loan?
August 24th, 2019 by Jennifer Frankel

The cost of a US college education continues to rise. The average cost has increased by approximately 25% over the last 10 years alone. As a result, an increasing number of students are turning to alternate sources of funding to finance their higher education goals.

Cosigner signing international student loan document

Both domestic and international students alike are making use of an increasingly varied array of school-sponsored or third-party scholarships and fellowships, as well as a wide variety of private loans.

Still, while increased costs affect all students, solutions may not be available to all.

For example, although Pell Grants are a mainstay for many domestic students, foreign nationals studying in the US on any “J” or “F” visa are not eligible to participate in the program.

In a similar way, the regulations regarding student loans are likewise different for domestic and international students. In this case there is a considerable difference between what is encouraged and what is required.

Consider, as an illustration, the issue of a cosigner for a student loan.

According to Citi Student Loans, for instance, “most undergraduate students will need to apply with a creditworthy cosigner” in order to meet the company’s income- and credit history-based eligibility requirements.

If a domestic student can satisfy these requirements on their own, however, no cosigner is necessary. The same is true of almost every private lender.

By contrast, almost all international students need a cosigner.

Indeed, by and large a US-based (citizen or permanent resident) cosigner with good credit is considered de rigueur for lenders and is therefore all-but obligatory for borrowers.

In this way the cosigner’s country of residence and credit history serve as an additional insurance on the part of the lender (and make the loan’s eventual collection that much easier).

If you are an international student without a cosigner, there are loans available with no cosigner required. These are available at certain US schools, and there are even no-cosigner loans in Canada.

In the end, though, it is important to stress that while not all loan options require a US cosigner, for an international student loan it is important to check with your college or university before applying.

By contacting them directly you can ensure that the loan in question is a good fit for you.


Read about how Coronavirus affects loan repayment

Find out about international student loans in Canada

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