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.

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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.

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Read about how Coronavirus affects loan repayment

Find out about international student loans in Canada

Want to know where international students spend the most money?


  1. lokawadominic says:

    hello sir iam lokawa dominic from uganda i want to ask how i can get acosigner from the USA TO HELP ME BECOUSE I REALLY WANT TO STUDY IN THE USA PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU HAVE SOME ONE TO HELP ME PLEASE GIVE ME HIS OR HER MAIL

    • jfrankel says:

      Thanks for contacting us. You can apply for an international student loan if you’ll be attending an eligible school in the US with a US cosigner. Here’s the link to our list of eligible schools to see if a loan will work for you. Good luck!

  2. chirsquare says:

    i am a kenyan and wish to join my colleauges who are studying in US…

  3. chirsquare says:

    what is a student cosigner?

    • jfrankel says:

      Thanks for your post! A cosigner is the person who promises to back back the loan if the student cannot pay it back. For the purposes of international student loans, they must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, and who has lived in the US for at least 2 years.

  4. Blessing Nengomasha says:

    thanks for the information. So can i get 1 if i’m in zimbabwe and how?

    • jfrankel says:

      Hi Blessing, you are eligible for an international student loan if you are either a US citizen studying overseas or a non-US citizen studying in the US at an eligible school. To apply, you can simply find your school and begin your application process. To begin, compare and apply for loans here: http://www.internationalstudentloan.com/apply/

  5. Alexandra says:

    Hello, I’m from Russia, and this summer 2013 I got accepted to American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. But to study there I need to get a loan. Can I get in while I’m not even a resident and don’t have a visa!? Because to apply for a visa I need to give them official information how I’m gonna pay for education. If I can do that, do you know who exactly offers this option!?

    Thank you so much!

    I’m looking forward to your answer.


  6. Ermiyas Yeneneh says:

    I want a student loan to cover half of my scholarship and transport for my farther study in US in fall 2013

    • Jenny Frankel says:

      Our student loans cover up to the total cost of your education (including transportation) minus scholarships you’ve received. You can find and apply for a loan directly online.

  7. Ermiyas Yeneneh says:

    what can id to get an international loan to study without UC cosighner

  8. Aakash Kohli says:

    Hi I am planning to attend dental school in the US but I don’t have a co signer to get a loan…what other options do I have to fund my studies..Thanxs

  9. Juan Salvador says:

    Hi! I am planning to attend a US community collage to get my associates degree and then move to a 4 year university to get my bachelors degree, having as a total a 4 year study plan. I am interest in studying system engineering in the US due to may factors that I consider will help me outstand, not only in the labor market but in my field of study. I read that there is no way that a international student could apply for a federal loan but they do have private loans is that right? If I want to apply for that kind of loan, what are the requirements besides the us co-signer? Do you think that the co-signer will have a lot of responsibility on the loan? if so, which one?
    What are the average interest rates for this loans? How can I apply? Is there any GNO or related, that could help me?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Best Regards,
    Juan Salvador
    Guatemalan Student

  10. Susan says:


    My name is Susan. I’m a grad student at Eastern University. I will like to takeout $15000 loan. Which company has the lowest interest for International student with a cosigner?

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for your inquiry. Interest rates are determined once your application has been reviewed, and will be based on the creditworthiness of your cosigner. I would recommend using our student loan compare tool, comparing rates, and then submitting an application to see what interest rate they offer. For more information, check out our recent article on interest rates.

  11. Pouyan Ghalehmalek says:

    Hello, I’m sorry but I didn’t quite get it, does my cosigner ought to be a US citizen? Can’t I register a creditworthy cosigner from another country? Thanks.

  12. ehis says:

    When do I start repaying my loan?

  13. blaise says:

    Do I need to be in the US to be eligible for this loan? can one apply while out the us and non us citizen but with a cosigner? thanks

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Yes – you can apply for our loans while you are outside the US. If you are a non-US citizen or permanent resident, you will need to have a US cosigner to apply.

  14. Shazar John says:

    My name is Shazar and i live in Pakistan. I have recently got admission at Gordon College, MA as an undergraduate international student. Although I have got some financial aid from Gordon but still their annual costs are not manageable for me and my family. Therefore , I want a loan to pay their annual tuition fees. I also do not have a cosigner.
    Please suggest me with some other way to apply for a loan.

  15. serge says:

    Good day,

    I’m serge fron the DRCongo, now I’m living in South Africa. I have admitted at ASU (Arizona State University) for Fall 2014. I would like to apply for an international loan.But the matter is, I have not found a US-cosigner until now!!! can you help me for finding him?

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Serge – congrats on getting into Arizona State University! Unfortunately you will need a US cosigner to apply for a student loan. Because this person will be held accountable in case you cannot pay back the loan, this person is usually someone you know. Often times, students will ask their relatives or friends about any close friends or family members they may know who are in the US and willing to sign the loan along with you.

  16. zhia says:

    My name is zhia Adinani Ally I am Tanzanian 25 yrs old black man male.
    I need a Cosigner of the student loan for all required agreement you need in the united state in order to under go the course of pilot at the
    Phoenix east aviation in the united state I am waiting fund to go the college at any time, contact by emai ziahadinan@gmail.com or phone number. +255659217615.

  17. ineedmydegreepranto says:

    I had recently graduated in October, 2013.

    I have yet to received my degree due to the insufficient payment that needs to be completed.

    I am still having some difficulties paying for my school fees and the balance is about $5,474. pls help

  18. ineedmydegreepranto says:

    I had recently graduated in October of 2013. I still owe a couple of thousands. I

    I am still having some difficulties paying for my school fees and the balance is about $5,474. pls help

  19. khaled salah eldin says:

    sorry but is not that stupid?? the whole cosigner thing ??!!!
    ,im egyptian , i have my cousin there , he is a us citizen right now and he can help me to get my loans and when i finish my study years i can travel with him back to egypt and never return to USA how will get us then ??

    and i heard that there are companies accept cosigner in any other cities ?? is that right ??

    thank you

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Khaled, good afternoon! The cosigner requirement can be very difficult for international students as you may not have ties to individuals living in the US. If your cousin is a US citizen who has lived in the US for the past two years with good credit, he can certainly cosign your loan. The cosigner essential backs the loan so in the event that you cannot pay, the cosigner would be responsible for repayment. You can have a cosigner from any state in the US. We hope that this helps, and best of luck!

  20. Kostantina says:

    I am international student currently enrolled in a community college but soon I will be transferring. I need to apply for a loan in order to pay for my other school. Can you please give me some tips where to look for loans?
    Thank you in advance!
    Sincerely, Kostantina.

  21. hikmat says:

    can i get a student loan by a canadian co-signer ??

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Hikmat, thanks for your question! Unfortunately your cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident having lived in the US for the past 2 years.

  22. Hrachya says:

    Hi, Jennifer. I would appreciate if you could answer the following question: I am not a US citizen or permanent resident, but I have been in the US for four years on F2 and then F1 visas. I have a good US credit score and credit history. I am planning to apply for a second master’s program (that will complement my previous education and work experience and will advance my career) and I need a student loan for that. As I don’t have a US co-signer, but I have a co-signer from my home country. Is there any way for me to apply for a student loan? Thanks.

  23. stanley thomas says:

    my name is stanley thomas and i am currently studying in the usa but in dire need of a loan to continue my education here. i am a nigerian studying and i would please need a walk through how i can get a loan to study and futher my education. thank you

  24. Rhys says:

    Hi I am looking to study in the U.S but cannot find a co-signer. I have heard that some banks in the U.S will accept a co-signer if they are from my country, which is the U.K.

    Is this true?

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Rhys, US lenders typically require you to have a US cosigner that is a US citizen/permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past two years with good credit. You may want to contact the bank directly to see if there are any exceptions, however this is atypical that they will offer you a non-collateralized loan without a cosigner.

  25. Reuben Ambi says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Please is there any bank,body or firm that can give me loan to study in the United States for a cosigner in my home country Nigeria?

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Reuben – good morning and thanks for your message. Unfortunately all US lenders do require you to have a US cosigner in order to be eligible. Best of luck!

  26. Soi Park says:

    Hi, my name is Soi Park.

    To briefly introduce myself, I have just graduated University of the Pacific with pre-dentistry major and now getting ready to go to Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

    As I am getting ready for financial, housing, and other documents, things that concern me the most is to get prepared for financial document. Of course, I was aware of the fact that the tuition is incomparable to what I had to pay for undergrad, but as I face the problem right in front of me, it concerns me so much.

    Being a F-1 international student, it’s hard to get a loan in America, and my family had supported me well for my undergrad, but I don’t want to borrow my family’s hands for grad school. I would rather stand up for myself as i grow more mature, as a dental school student. If I could get a loan in America, I would be paying back right away for it after graduating dental school. But as of right now, it’s hard to find cosigners to get a loan in America.

    My dream to be a dentist has been big and it is still growing. If I could be able to afford the tuition by myself by getting a loan under my name and become a good dentist, i will be more than happy to share what I learned in this amazing dental school for people out there who need me desperately. I can’t wait to help and share what I would learn in dental school. If you could give me more information about possible international loans without cosigner, or if you could give me information about cosigner who will be willing to invest into me, i would be honored and give others much more than what I had received.

    Thanks for your time into reading my message, and please consider my case.

    May God’s blessings be with you,


    Soi Park

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Soi, you are exactly right – finding a cosigner is not an easy process, and that’s because this person is signing onto your loan and accepting the terms of repayment in case you cannot pay it back. This person is typically someone you already know, like a friend or family member. To be eligible, they must be a US citizen or US permanent resident with good credit, and must have lived in the US for the past two years. Unfortunately without a cosigner, international students are not eligible for US loans.

  27. Liya Wegayehu says:

    My name is Liya and I am an international student. I have been trying to contact the Global Student Loan Corporation (GSLC) for the past few months, but haven’t gotten any reply. I don’t have a willing US cosigner, so I wanted to talk to them about securing a loan through a Canadian cosigner. Please, any information you may have regarding this organization or any US private lender that accepts a foreign cosigner is highly appreciated.

    Liya K Wegayehu

  28. Namatama Pontiano says:

    I am Zambian,urgently in need of a international
    student loan without a cosigner please! I am an applicant to the University of San Francisco and they have sent me the certificate of finance already.
    Please help me access this loan so that i may have funds for my studies.

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Unfortunately a co-signer is required for all international student loan programs.  That co-signer must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. This is typically a friend or family member of yours.  If you cannot find a co-signer that meets these requirements, you are unfortunately ineligible for our loans.

  29. Shamshad says:

    My name is Shamshad and I am an international student from Pakistan and currently studying in university in usa for about 2 years i have paid my 1 year tution fees (i.e. 25,000$) but still my 1 year tution fees is left (i.e. 25,000$) and my university told me that if i dont pay my tution fees i will be out of my f-1 status and will be send back to my country and I dont have any co-signer for student loan please tell me what should i do

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Unfortunately a co-signer is required for all international student loan programs.  That co-signer must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. This is typically a friend or family member of yours.  If you cannot find a co-signer that meets these requirements, you are unfortunately ineligible for our loans. I would recommend contacting your school to see if they have any scholarships available, or perhaps can help you finance your education.

  30. Anthony Mayberry says:

    My girlfriend is going into her 3rd year at UC Davis. Unfortunately, her mother at home in China said business has been slow and will need to pull her out for a while. This would be devastating for us, as we have already built a life with each other and she is doing great in school. We are looking for options to help her reduce the cost of school for just one year. By then, I will be graduated with an engineering degree and could possibly support her. I’m a U.S. citizen. Are they any options for loans, or school discounts for international students already in school? We do not have a U.S. cosigned for her.

    • Jennifer Frankel says:

      Hi Anthony. Unfortunately a co-signer is required for all international student loan programs.  That co-signer must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, who has lived in the US for the past two years. This is typically a friend or family member of yours.  If you cannot find a co-signer that meets these requirements, you are unfortunately ineligible for our loans.

  31. Kimnim says:

    At first thank you for all the infirmaton that you shared with us.
    One of my friends asked me about being as her cosigner for the private loan for her education ,although she is permanent resident for a while.I told her that she doesn’t need a cosigner but I am not pretty sure about that.would you please tell me shoud I be as her cosigner or not.


    • Rachel Rollins says:

      Hi Kimnim,

      Thank you for visiting! All international student must have US cosigner to be eligible for a loan. To be a cosigner for a international student loan you must be a US resident for at least two years and have good credit. If your friend fails to repay the loan then you would have to.

      Good Luck!

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