International Student Loans for Students from the UK
April 1st, 2019 by Felicity Bradstock

International Student Loans for Students from the UK

US institutions are attracting students from around the globe and applications from Europe are on the rise. The number of UK students looking to study a graduate program in the US continues to increase, and undergraduate programs are only just behind. This article will tell you all the basics about international student loans for students from the UK who hope to study in the US.

A Whole New World

While the UK has several world-renowned institutions, the scope of courses available to study in the US in unequaled. As such, the number of British students studying a program in the US has risen by around a third since 2010 and continues to rise (according to studies by the Institute of International Education). Read another post about International Education facts and Figures.

There are over 4000 US institutions, many of which offer programs in specialisms many of us have never heard of. This allows students to find the degree that’s right for them, adding something unique to their CV.  

One of the main deterrents for studying in the US continues to be funding. While university fees are subsidized in the UK, tuition fees and living costs in the US are on the rise. Many students now seek a student loan to support their education expenses.

FindingInternational Student Loans for Students from the UK

The easiest way to be considered eligible for a US student loan is to find a co-signer who is also an American citizen. A citizen with a good credit rating is the perfect candidate to cosign your loan, making the application process much easier. Many lenders offer loans to students with co-signers who have proof of income, as they can act as a guarantor for the funds.

Cosigner Requirements:

A cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past two years and has good credit.

Your cosigner should have a stable job with a steady income and an established credit history. Lenders may look at how long your cosigner has lived at their current address and how long they’ve been employed at their current job.

Your cosigner is taking on the obligation to pay back your loans in the event that you cannot, so it’s important that the cosigner can afford to cover these expenses. International student loans and study abroad loans lenders will take into account the total income of your cosigner and their total debts (mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, and any student loans they may have on their own) when reviewing a loan application.

In the United States, the cosigner’s credit history is evaluated by a credit score that is based on outstanding debts and their payment history. Lenders will evaluate your cosigner’s existing and past loans and whether they were paid on time.

Cosigner Not Required?

However, this is not an option for everyone. If you do not have a cosigner and you’re looking for international student loans for students from the UK there are specialist lenders who offer this service. Lenders such as MPower Financing understand how difficult it can be to secure funding. They support students in the visa and college application process as well as providing funding, to reduce the stress over expenses. There’s information about finding a loan without a cosigner here.

To compare the best student loans for British students looking to study in the US, then look no further than our comparison tool.



International Student Loans for Indian Students
March 1st, 2019 by Felicity Bradstock

International Student Loans for Indian Students

As greater numbers of students from around the world are traveling to study a degree in the US, and tuition fees are rising, international student loans are growing increasingly necessary. Indian students, alone, accounted for 17.9% of the total foreign students in the US in 2017-18, second only to Chinese students at 33%. This article discusses the best international student loans for Indian students who want to study at a US institution.

The Indian Loophole

To be considered eligible for an F-1 visa and to be accepted to a US academic institution all international students must show proof of funding. This basically means that you, as a student applicant, must show you can afford to attend the college or university of your choice. You may pay for your education through personal funds, an academic scholarship from the institution, or through a student loan.

The most difficult part of applying for a student loan as an Indian student is finding the necessary evidence to be considered eligible. Indian banks often require supporting documentation showing the student’s acceptance to a US institution before considering a loan. However, most US institutions require proof of funding before offering a formal acceptance.

The simplest option is to seek a loan through a US bank specializing in student loans or a specialist lender. US lenders understand the difficulty with needing to provide supporting documentation for the university application and offer advice and help during this process.  

Loan Options for Indian Students

There are a number of lenders that specialize in study loans for Indian students studying in the US. You can compare your options using our loan comparison tool for Indian students.

MPower Financing is a dedicated lender of international student loans and one of the options available to Indian students. The company understands the difficulties many international students have with finding funding and a co-signer. MPower takes the hassle out of the process by keeping everything clear and supporting both the visa and university application process. MPower also can provide loans without a cosigner at select universities in the USA and Canada.

To find out more about applying for a student loan as an Indian student check out our India International Student Loans section.  


5 Myths About Student Loans
January 3rd, 2019 by Felicity Bradstock

Exploring myths around Student Loans

Most students hear the myths about student loans before even attending college. Others simply don’t understand whether a student loan is right for them. This article will debunk some of the major myths surrounding student loans and help students choose the path that’s right for them. 

If you don’t have the family finances, you can’t attend college.

Although universities in the US can be very expensive, they are not only for the rich. There are several scholarships you can apply for at every college and university. You can also apply for a student loan to support your study finances. The most important thing to focus on is grades and personal development. Think about getting excellent test scores and building your extra-curricular or voluntary experience to make your application stand out. 

Student loans negatively affect your credit score.

Okay, if you don’t make your loan repayments then this is true. But managing a student loan well can be a great way to boost your credit score. By making regular repayments, you’re positively impacting your credit. This means it can make it easier to take out a credit card or another loan in the future. 

You will forever be in debt.

You will be repaying a lot of money, probably over a long time. However, graduates are earning an average of $17,500 a year more than non-graduates, making the cost of college worth-while. No one wants to think about paying back a debt, but following this system could help you become more employable and increase your income in the long-run.  

Interest on student loan repayment never changes.

Despite signing a contract when you took out a student loan, the amount of interest charged can still vary throughout the repayment. Be careful when applying for a loan that you understand all the small print. This includes how and when to repay the loan, as well as the interest due. The amount of interest owed can vary year to year, so check in the initial terms what you’re agreeing to. Make sure you have an idea of how much you’ll be repaying once you graduate to prepare for this. 

Forget your loan until you graduate.

Your loan shouldn’t be the first thing you’re thinking about when you wake up. However, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re getting your money and use it wisely. Interest is mounting from the minute you take out your loan. So, unfortunately, you’re building up debt the whole time you’re studying. If you have the ability, you can start repaying your loan while still studying. If you don’t have enough to do this, consider starting a savings account to put aside whatever money you do have for when you gradate. This will help alleviate the pressure of repayment. 


Ways to Save Money as an International Student
October 16th, 2018 by Felicity Bradstock

Save Money as an International Student

It’s never too early or too late to think ways to save money as an international student. Whether you’re just applying for colleges, in your second year or close to graduation, it’s always good to have a loan repayment plan. It’s something many of us take for granted, something you don’t have to think about until after university. However, planning ahead makes for better financials once you have to start paying back the debt.

Avoid Unnecessary Spending

Sure, it’s tempting to spend all the money as it comes in. I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right? But think ahead, that money can help you out in an emergency, or be saved for you to use once you graduate.

That’s not to say don’t spend your loan on college essentials like books and living costs. And make sure you enjoy your time in college; socialise, take part in extra-curricular activity. But try to avoid spending your loan frivolously where possible.

A couple of great ways to do this is to look for student discounts when shopping and eating out, and buy second hand – books, sports equipment, home decor etc. Why spend a fortune on new books when students from the previous year are earning some extra cash by selling their one-year-old copies?

Get a Savings Account

Different loans come with different conditions and some may require a certain type of bank account to pay into. However, where possible, look for the bank account with the best interest rates and with no withdrawal restrictions. If you’re think about saving some of your student loan each month, the interest you earn in a good savings account can balance out the interest you’ll eventually owe on your loan repayment. It’s a great way to earn extra money by really doing nothing. Check out some of the best options here.

Keep Up-to-date

As much as you may want to ignore your loan, keeping on top of it will prepare you for repayments once you finish university. Check out the National Student Loan Data System to see how much you owe and learn about repayment options early on.

Get a Part-time Job

Once you’ve got into the swing of college life, look at your schedule and see what free time you have to earn some extra cash. A part time job will help build your resume as well as giving you some extra money to save or spend on leisure activities while saving your loan.

With high university costs, it’s common for students to work while studying. Have a look at jobs available on campus and in the local area. Just make sure, if you’re an international student, that your visa conditions allow for part-time work. Alternatively, consider remote working opportunities from around the world through companies such as FlexJobs. Remote work gives you the opportunity to work from home and often helps you avoid issues with your visa status. Just remember to declare taxes on your earnings in your home country.

Your New Best Friend – Tax-deductibles

If you decide to work in the US once you graduate, it’s important to learn all about tax deductibles. This might sound dull but it can actually save you thousands of dollars! If you’re paying off a student loan, you might be eligible for an interest deduction on your federal taxes. This is based on the interest paid on your student loan.

 

If you plan ahead, start saving early and take time to learn about the student loan terms and repayment options, you’ll be financially prepared once you graduate. So, don’t let the debt hang over your head, there are many simple ways to save money as an international student. Prepare early to fully enjoy the college experience!

 


Find the Right Scholarship for You
August 17th, 2018 by Felicity Bradstock

If you need financial support to study abroad it’s important to find the right scholarship for you. There are several different scholarships to which you can apply, but as you search through the various options you’ll realize each has different requirements. Below are just a few categories that scholarships often put requirements and limitations around.

Subject-based Scholarships

Many institutions and organizations offer scholarships based on the course you’re studying. It is common for fields that require greater numbers of graduate workers to incentivize study in that subject area. For example, some states or institutions may be lacking in qualified specialist nurses or criminal justice and finance managers, therefore providing grant opportunities such as the Global Nursing Research Grant.

Scholarships in specialist fields encourage students to make their studies more tailored to their future career by alleviating financial pressure. Therefore, graduates studying more general subjects, such as literature or history, may have a better chance of finding a scholarship based on different criteria.

Institution Specific Scholarships

Each institution has its own scholarship(s). Many universities provide financial support to students based on family income or academic success and potential. The criteria for these types of scholarships is usually to show you are a candidate of distinction – to have great grades, experience in an internship or volunteering program, to have extra-curricular hobbies and to show the institution what you can bring to the department by studying there. As well as university-wide grants, some departments offer scholarships only available to students within that specific department, reducing the competition.

Check out the rankings to see which institutions offered the most financial aid to their students last year.

Talent-based Scholarships

If you have a specific talent or extra-curricular interest you can apply for a talent-based scholarship. Many universities and companies offer grants to students with extraordinary skills in sports, the arts, and other areas outside of major work. You will be expected to prove your talent and be part of the sports team or music department, as well as maintaining excellent grades, to be eligible for this type of scholarship.

Company-based Scholarships

Companies, particularly big multinationals and law firms, often offer scholarships for students who intend to work in the company after they graduate, or as an intern. This is particularly common for MBA students (Master of Business Administration).

Consider internships with big companies near the institution you are going to attend to get your foot in the door. Also reach out and contact the department you are interested in for your future career to see if they have any grant opportunities. The worst they can do is say no, at best they may offer you a grant, internship or part-time job.

International Student Scholarships

Maybe surprisingly, some grants are provided for international students to gain valuable life experience by studying abroad. That’s right, you could be paid simply for attending an institution in the US as a foreign student. Employers recognize that traveling out of your comfort zone, learning to study in more than one language, and engaging both academically and culturally, are great qualities in employees.

 

Visit the Study Abroad Scholarship search engine for a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities for international students.


No Cosigner Loans
May 16th, 2018 by Felicity Bradstock

You’re set on going to College in the US. But you’ve been told you need a cosigner to get your student loan approved. This is the experience many international students face when looking for a loan to support their study costs. However, all hope is not lost. Some schools and lenders are now offering no cosigner loans to meet the growing demand from international students who want to study abroad.

Why a Cosigner?

A cosigner is a person who guarantees that if you (the borrower) are unable to repay the loan, they will be responsible for the repayment. The loan company often asks students to find a US-national cosigner to act as their guarantor. The cosigner must guarantee the loan will be re-payed if the student cannot make the payments. It is a big responsibility for any cosigner, as they are responsible for any debt incurred by the student.

It is harder to prove the income of the international student and most do not have savings in a U.S. bank account. Therefore, many loan providers require a cosigner to ensure that the loan is re-payed in full. This means loan providers to not have to rely entirely on the student for repayment.

Other Options

Schools

It is common practice for loan providers to ask for a cosigner for any student loan. However, some schools are now offering no cosigner loans to meet the growing demand from students.

Many international students find it difficult to get a cosigner from the US to act as a guarantor for such as large amount of money. Therefore, some schools have created programs that evaluate the academic success of the student, as well as career potential, instead of credit history. They use the student’s background to determine whether they are eligible for a no cosigner loan.

Alternative Lenders

Alternative lenders are now offering no cosigner loans to students who have worked hard to prove their academic potential, but are unable to find a cosigner.

The main no cosigner loan provider in the US is MPOWER. This provider has a fixed interest rate of 11.99%-13.99%. Students can borrow up to $25,000 per academic period or $50,000 in total. To apply, you must state how much you are intending to borrow on the application form. If approved, all loan money will go directly to your college institution. On average, it takes around 6 weeks to apply for a no cosigner loan.

So, if you want to study in a US university without relying on a cosigner, check out the loan comparison tool to see if you are eligible for a no cosigner loan.

 

 


Money Transfer for International Students
April 9th, 2018 by Felicity Bradstock

two smart phones with dollar signs and wireless symbol

If you’re moving abroad to study, you probably want to know the best options for money transfer for international students. Ideally, you want to avoid the high bank fees often involved with international money transfer but don’t know the best alternative. There are now several options for transferring money from your home country to your foreign bank account that won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Here the 5 best options currently available.

TransferWise

TransferWise, a UK-based money transfer site, has become increasingly popular in recent years because of its low fees and fast transfer options. It generally charges a 1% fee on the total transfer, which is much cheaper than many of its competitors. It’s only if you’re sending large amounts that it can get pricey. It uses real-time exchange rates, ensuring you always pay a rate that’s fair and accurate for currency conversions.

TransferWise offers a mobile app for Apple and Android so you can track your money as its being transferred. Most transfers are completed within 2 business days, depending on the bank you’re sending it to and the conversion. To check how long a payment will take TransferWise has a handy transfer calculator.

Paypal Xoom

Paypal is widely trusted for online payments, such as online shopping for websites like eBay, and is even used to pay the salaries of remote and freelance workers. Now they have a new website, Paypal Xoom, which offers a money wiring service. This is about the fastest online money transfer service around, with most transfers being completed within one hour.

Xoom promotes itself as a place to send money, reload phones, and pay bills using their website and mobile app. If you have a Paypal account already, you can sign into Xoom using your existing details, making registration easy. Xoom allows you to track all transfers, offers 24/7 customer support and also has a fee calculator. Fees vary from country to country so it’s always best to check before committing to Xoom.

OFX

Australian money transfer service OFX offers real-time currency conversion and waives many of its transfer fees as part of its service. OFX has global support teams to answer any of your questions and an app to track your transfers.

OFX is good if you want to send larger amounts of money as the minimum transfer is around $200 US. Transfers typically take 1-2 working days depending on the recipient bank.

MoneyGram

Chances are you’ve heard of MoneyGram or seen one of its offices. MoneyGram has been around for a while and is now competing with the new online options for money transfer. Keeping up with the likes of TransferWise and Xoom, you can now transfer online, on the app, or through Facebook using MoneyGram. If you prefer to wire money the traditional way, in person, there are over 30,000 MoneyGram branches across the US.

Fees can be slightly more expensive than online competitors but you have the guarantee of MoneyGram’s well-established reputation for money transfers. You can check MoneyGram fees online and can pay using your credit card or checking account online, or cash in store. Always check the exchange rates as they are often not calculated at real-time conversion prices.

MoneyGram is fast. If you transfer money to a specific location, it is typically ready to collect within 10 minutes! Online transfers are also guaranteed to be faster than many competitors.

Western Union

If you need money to be transferred fast and reliably, then Western Union is considered as the ‘old faithful’ of money transfer. In branch and online, Western Union offers fast and simple transfers that can be tracked through the app. You can make transfers in cash, by debit or credit card or from your bank account.

Western Union provides money transfer options in 130 currencies to over 200 countries and territories. It also has 500,000 agent locations around the world if you want to wire the money in person. However, with the well-known and reliable name comes higher fees and, often, longer transfer times. This is a good option if you want to use an established transfer service or go to the branch. However, new online transfer services generally offer cheaper and faster services.

Don’t Forget

Different services offer different perks. It’s always useful to check the fee calculators and conversion rates of a couple of services before committing. If the speed of the transfer is important, opt for one of the faster services, which might have a slightly higher fee. Look into your options before you run out of money so that you’re well prepared and don’t have to rush the decision!


Sales Shopping
November 17th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

For a student on a budget there’s nothing better than sales shopping. Black Friday is here, Cyber Monday will follow shortly and Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts!

Battling the crowds in-store might sound like a nightmare but as a student you likely have to budget and there are many fantastic online deals for you to snap up over the next couple of weeks. So, think about what you want and follow our game plan for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Where to shop?

Amazon

When is Amazon ever a bad idea? The great thing about Amazon is that everything’s in one place. Also, there’s free delivery if you spend over $25! Black Friday deals last for the whole week and span across all departments.

If you’re a first-time Amazon Prime (Amazon’s premium service) user you can sign up for the free or discounted trial and get free delivery. With Prime you can also access their video, music and kindle services for free. Just make sure you cancel at the end of your free trial so you don’t get charged! Amazon makes it easy to cancel with an option through your Prime account that allows you to set up an automatic cancellation on the last day of your trial from the very first day.

n.b. It’s might be worth keeping your Prime membership if you regularly buy College books from Amazon. Think about saving further by using all the Prime services and cancelling parallel memberships such as Netflix and Spotify.

Uniqlo

Uniqlo is a great store for affordable winter-wear. With much of their heattech (thermal) clothes and winter jackets on sale this is a great place to buy all of you last minute winter warmers. Not only do you get discounts online from 17th – 22nd November 2017 but if you’re a first-time buyer they also offer a $10 discount (with a minimum spend). To save money you can collect in-store if you leave nearby, otherwise shipping is generally priced at $5.

Walmart

Maybe the king of Black Friday, Walmart offers in-store, online and in app offers across all departments. Whether you want to splash out on a TV or buy a stocking filler, there’s an option for everyone. To check out the best deals from your phone, Walmart has released a handy app (available on iOS and Android).

BestBuy

Finally, we come to BestBuy. Another tech-heavy option but with some excellent promotions for cyber Monday. There’s a huge variety here, from quirky gadgets and cheaper games to high-end consoles. This is a great shop for Christmas gifts, or something for you!

Comparison

Think about using a comparison app such as Honey or ShopSavvy. These kinds of apps provide information about the best online sales and often offer additional discounts. Honey is currently the market leader, although reviews are mixed to make sure you check the terms and conditions of any discounts you use. Shop Savvy gives you price and product comparisons for you to make your own decision on where to shop.

For the best technology deals this year check out the Wired article for reviews and price comparisons. Wired is a great source to use when searching for new technology, with reliable guidance and reviews.

Remember

  •  Remember to browse online before committing to a purchase during these sales events. As good as one promotion may look, there could be a similar deal elsewhere.
  • Always shop at reputable stores. If you’re unsure about the credibility of a website, look for online reviews before entering your personal details.
  • Don’t get carried away! Think about what you’re looking for and your budget before you start shopping. Remember who you have to buy gifts for before squandering all your cash elsewhere!

Have a great Holiday weekend!


Break out of Your Comfort Zone
September 28th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

Out of Your Comfort Zone

Maybe you’ve already decided to break out of your comfort zone by applying to study abroad in the USA. But what if you could benefit even further from this opportunity? 100,000 Strong in the Americas, and other similar programs, provide great opportunities to students studying across the Americas to participate in field work abroad. This blog will give you all the information you need to know to find the right grant for you and take part in a life-changing experience.

What is 100,000 Strong? 

100,000 Strong in the Americas is an Innovation Fund that encourages students to think of new ideas and make them happen. 100,000 Strong is funded by the U.S. government, the private sector, non-profits, and foundations, including Santander and Coca Cola. These organizations have participated in this collaborative program to provide students with the opportunity to apply for grants and make their dream a reality. Students can join the community and view all grant opportunities available in countries across the Americas. If your degree focus, passion or work relates to the grants available, you can apply for the grant and could have to opportunity to join other students in field work abroad.

Why is this a good opportunity?

Just because you’ve made it to the USA to study doesn’t mean you should neglect all the other great opportunities around you. Not only can you study at a great home institution but you can apply for grants and scholarships to participate in exchanges. Applying for a grant could give you the opportunity to travel and learn more from field research. By participating in field work in a different country, you can gain valuable experience that you cannot always achieve from behind a desk. Traveling to a new country helps you to experience a new culture and way of life. Beyond this, focusing in depth on a project related to your degree can help you learn better. You will have the experience to work with other passionate students in a professional manner. Moreover, breaking out of your comfort zone can show innovation and make you a good candidate in your future professional career.

Not only will you be expanding your horizons and pushing your boundaries by participating in an exchange program, but you could be helping others. Most of the programs focus on humanitarian action such as creating innovative ways to help the environment or to support local communities. So if you think you’re the right candidate for the this type of program, you can check out the grants available on their website.

You can register free with 100,000 Strong’s Innovation Network, and are required to register to apply for any grant opportunities. By registering, all new grants will be available for you to view and apply to.

 

 


How to approach taking out a student loan
September 1st, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock

You’ve decided to take the plunge and study college abroad. But now you need a loan and don’t know where to begin! This simple guide will show you how to approach taking out a student loan.

 

What to check before committing to a loan

  1. Repayment conditions. You need to ensure that you can meet the repayment expectations when you take out a loan. Loans have a clear timeframe for repayment, which can sometimes be difficult to alter once the contract is signed. Check the terms and make sure you are prepared to meet the repayment requirements.

 

  1. Interest. The most important condition to check in your loan is the interest rate. We cannot stress this enough. While some loans might look favorable in terms of upfront money received and repayment options, they could be charging you a lot of interest. Compare the interest rates of each of the loan options to ensure you get the best rate.

 

  1. Reviews. If your taking out a loan for college then thousands of students before you have done the same. Check review sites such as Top Ten Reviews and Credit Karma to see other student experiences with the loan company you’re interested in. This can give you an insight into the perks and downfalls that the loan provider website doesn’t tell you.

 

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If the loan company offers you more money than you need don’t accept. It might be tempting to take that extra slice of cake but is it worth it? Think about long-term repayment and the stress of being in debt. Only take out what you need for college and living expenses to ensure you are gaining the most from your loan.

 

  1. Ask questions. Loan providers are there to help you as they’ve helped many before you. They’ve answered thousands of questions about student loans and can provide you with the best information about their service. If you want a lower interest rate then ask if it’s available. If you want them to talk you through the small print before you sign the contract, ask! Any loan provider that is worth your time will be helpful and supportive, won’t judge and will make the process of getting a loan straightforward.

 

Where to begin?

Now you know what to look for in a loan where should you start?

The best way to start comparing loans is to check your eligibility. To find a student loan as an international student you can use the International Student Loan search tool to see which loans you qualify for. To do this, simple select the country you’re from and the institution you want to go to. Once you’ve got the list of loan options you can compare terms and conditions to see which is right for you.

 

We hope this brief explanation has given you a basis for finding a student loan. For more information about student loans, check out the information section on International Student Loan.


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