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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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?
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 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.
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).
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!
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 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!
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Is a student loan worth all of the financial repercussions that follow? I know, I won’t sugarcoat it, the costs of college and studying abroad are extortionate. So, you may be asking yourself if it’s really worth taking out a student loan to cover the costs? Or, should you avoid college altogether and start working? Here’s why we believe college really is worth the cost.
One of the obvious reasons to pay for a college education is to be rewarded at the end. College graduates earn on average double the median income of high school graduates. While the initial investment may seem substantial, you long-term earnings will be far higher than those of people without a college education.
Unemployment rates amongst college graduates are far lower. The unemployment rate for college educated people is around half that of those with only a high school education. Think that earning money instead of spending it on college seems like a better idea? In reality, it will be significantly harder to find employment, especially in your desired field of work.
Choice of Work
Out of high school you will most likely only be able to find a job in services or low-skilled work. But if you decide down the line that you want to work in a specific industry, it will be far more difficult to find a job. You will probably have to undergo training and education just to enter into your chosen industry in a low-level position. Then, you will have to work your way up from the bottom. This could take just as long as a college degree or more. Additionally, your earnings will be low throughout this time.
However, if you specialize in a subject at college, you will have the advantage of being knowledgeable about the industry already. You will have developed the necessary skills to find a job in your desired area. College is an expensive way into your chosen industry but you will have a better opportunity at entering at a higher level. You will start in a role that will build upon your education and offer you the opportunity to develop professionally.
The College Life
Let’s forget work, salaries and long-term preparedness for a minute and think about what college actually gives you. Living away from home, living with people of your age from all different backgrounds, learning not only academic teachings but also what your interests are (what sports you like, what charity work you’re interested in, what societies capture your attention). This is the part of college that can’t be bought.
Learning about yourself and becoming a more confident, independent person, will help you in your personal life as well as supporting your performance in an interview and professionally. Although education is important, you can gain so much more than this from college. You will establish life-long connections with the people around you. You will have the opportunity to take part in hundreds of activities, learn about different cultures and adapt to a new city or country. Honestly, college is a great, albeit expensive, excuse to have the best time of your life while also preparing for professional growth.
So, if you’re on the fence about going to college, explore the institutions you’re interested in. Think about what they have to offer consider the long-term benefits of attending your chosen college. Remember, you’re not just gaining an education but life experience. If you decide that college is right for you then check out at the different student loan options available to help you get there.
You suddenly have a whole summer ahead of you, you can finally breathe! Finals are over and you have so much free time you don’t know what to do with yourself. Friends are visiting home and planning their vacations, but how do they all have the money to do these things? It’s not easy, however, with a few simple steps you can stretch the last of your yearly budget to take a break this summer. So, take a vacation on a budget and forget all the studying and exams until next semester.
There are several ways you can save money on your vacation. To travel on a budget think about doing some research on your destination, managing expectations and planning. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Take your time
Never go for the first flight you find, always check out comparison sights such as Kayak and SkyScanner to see which are the cheapest routes, if a layover will reduce the cost of the flight or if there are budget airlines offering the same flights.
You have a whole summer ahead of you, so instead of rushing in to planning a trip a few days in advance do your research, look at airline websites to see when they have special promotions or sales and try to book during these times. If you’re not sure where you want to go then check out the cheapest flight routes and promotions to get you started, you might discover something you never knew existed.
You can save a fortune simply by being flexible. Most people tend to set a specific date and fit their search criteria to fixed expectations. This limits the outcome and often increases the price of the flight. Most websites allow you to select the option of +/-2 days when searching for a flight. By adapting your schedule to the flight availability, you can often reduce the cost of your trip by booking less popular flights. Now that school’s over you don’t have to fly Friday night to Sunday, meaning that you’re holding the winning hand. You can take those cheaper weekday 1pm flights that most people don’t have the right schedule to take.
In a home
Let’s be realistic, you probably won’t be staying in a 5* hotel on your vacation if you want to eat, drink and explore while you’re away. Alternatives such as AirBnB are a lifesaver. AirBnB allows you to rent a room in a great location with the only compromise of sharing a bathroom or kitchen. If you rent with a friend you can even split the price of the room between 2, massively reducing the cost. The filters are excellent, making the search for your stay straightforward and easy to fit around your criteria. Additionally, you can check out previous reviews and the rating of the host to make sure you feel safe and secure during your stay.
Just because you can’t stay in a high-end hotel doesn’t mean you can’t find a good compromise. Check out Booking.com for some incredible promotions on anything from dorms in hostels to hotels with breakfast and a pool. Other great sites include Expedia and Trivago, which offer both hotel comparisons and package trips with great promotions. Take a look around, and once you find a place you like compare between each of these websites to see which has the best deal.
If you’re away with friends you’re likely to eat out a lot, which can be scary and make you think you always have to go for the soup or salad. There are 2 easy ways to avoid this, the first is by renting an apartment to share with your friends. By using AirBnB or local websites in your destination you can often find a place with a kitchen to cook in the apartment. I’m guessing you won’t want to stay in the whole time, but at least you can cook breakfast and keep snacks and drinks in the fridge.
If you don’t have this option then just do your research in advance. Get a guidebook or look online at Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Trip Advisor or Time Out to avoid the tourist traps. Think about alternatives to restaurants such as markets, where you can often buy fresh ingredients and eat outside. Besides, what’s the point in a vacation if you can’t enjoy the outdoors?
Some costs you won’t be able to avoid. However, by doing some research in advance you can often save a lot. Find out the best museums and galleries for students – most countries have reductions on tickets for people under the age of 25. Look for outdoor activities such as parks, gardens and festivals. Also, when at the beach, find areas where you can take your own food and drinks. Avoid paying for deck chair rental by taking a towel or blanket to lay on and make the most of the outdoors.
Wherever you choose to go on your vacation this summer, make sure you explore the local culture and traditions, take in your surroundings (simply walking around a city all day can uncover some great surprises and help you stumble across hidden gems), and enjoy your break from college.
We all know being a college student means studying, trying out new activities, exploring local culture, partying, basically saying yes to everything offered, right? But how is it that everyone seems to have to money to say yes to everything? These simple 5 steps will help you to stretch your student loan further without having to turn down all the amazing opportunities surrounding you.
- Join Facebook groups – what you have to understand is that you’re not the only one. If you’re feeling the pressure to get involved but don’t have the money to spend then thousands of other students are feeling the same way!
A great way to meet like-minded people, learn about local and free events, and explore some alternative options to those being offered on campus, is to join a Facebook group. There is a wide array of groups from the Harry Potter appreciation society or the birdwatching club, to class and college based groups. Each of these groups will have students sharing ideas, events, and generally seeking to socialize in a student-based environment. The great thing about Facebook is that you can see public groups and events, you can follow stories, share ideas, put ‘interested’ in an event without having to pay or attend, just to scope out your options. Additionally, you can join private groups that are full of other students in the area, many with similar student budgets.
- Shop smart – if your main restriction to getting involved in student activities is your budget, then be smart in other areas of your student life, like shopping.
Grocery shopping is a great place to stretch your money without missing out. A few simple rules could save you a fortune over your time in college:
- Never go shopping when you’re hungry! This is a sure way to give into your cravings and head straight to the Oreo section. (This will also help if you’re trying to balance being a student with maintaining a healthy lifestyle!)
- Make a list and try to shop once a week – to avoid impulse buys and make sure you have a plan for food throughout the week. It will help you to avoid ordering last minute take-out.
- Don’t eat out! Ok, maybe now and again after a long day in classes when you just don’t want to cook, but try to avoid it by buying food that you can prepare quickly and easily for those times.
- Go generic – do you really need those Lays chips and Coca Cola? Maybe you do need the occasional treat, but for the most part why not try the generic alternatives and test the water?
- Finally, check out the reduced sections, learn the times that stock is reduced each day and make use of your freezer! You can get some incredible deals on meat, fish and other expensive items if you watch these zones.
- Avoid buying all the memberships before you decide what you really want.
In a world of sports and societies it might be tempting to join them all, with the best intention of attending every soccer practice, film society showing, hiking trip etc. However, once the semester kicks into gear and you’re attending classes, studying, socializing, working out or whatever your routine happens to be, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep up with all those societies. Sample as many options as possible for free over the first couple of weeks of semester to see what fits best. And remember, spending time outdoors is a great way to get some free exercise!
- Student discounts – one of the best perks of being a student, and something I promise you’ll sorely miss once it’s gone, is student discount.
Just by having your student ID card you’re ahead of the game and can access a wide number of student discounts from shopping to activities. Big companies are all jumping on the promotional bandwagon including, Amazon, Sam’s Club, Greyhound, STA Travel and Verizon. Student discounts are also a fantastic way to support your education with companies such as Apple and Microsoft offering discounts on laptops and other technology. For events and shopping simply search online for student discounts in your local area or check out UNiDAYS for national offers.
- Don’t overspend on educational items. Ultimately you’re at college to learn, however, having a brand-new version of every book on the syllabus for each class simply isn’t necessary.
Firstly, many students before you have made this mistake. That means there is a whole bunch of second-hand (barely touched) books waiting for you to snap them up for half the price. Also try Amazon if you can’t find what you’re looking for on campus. For some books, you might only need to read one chapter and will then cast it aside. Approach your professors, ask what books are vital to buy and what you can find online or photocopy in the library. Finally, think about alternative options such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program if you’re likely to need quick access to a number of resources.
If you think that college life might be for you, just take a look at the wide variety of student loans being offered to support your experience. And remember, college is not only about getting an education but about gaining life experience, so use these tips to go out and get involved!
November and December are usually the months when most people´s grace periods on their student loans are coming to an end. As you begin to organize your finances once more, it is important to determine the best way to pay back your loans and how to do it making on-time monthly payments. Most loan providers offer the following options to make payments: automatic debit, pay online, pay by phone, and pay by check or money order.
It is important to remember that the loan is under your name and is now part of your financial history. This mean that your loan payments should be taken into consideration when creating a budget for your new monthly expenses, and should be just as important as your rent and grocery expenses. Most lenders have some sort of late fee policy in place and late payments will only reflect negatively on your credit score and increase the amount of your debt with the loan provider. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you already checked out our International Student Loan Comparison Tool, but realized that you weren’t exactly sure how to compare the results given? Deciding which loan is the right one for you can feel a little overwhelming, but here is a cheat sheet on how to compare your different loan options and choose the best one!
Now, before jumping into the loan jargon here are some basic questions you should ask yourself in order to compare loans efficiently:
⦁ Do I plan to work and study at the same time?
⦁ Do I want to get a Master’s?
⦁ Do I want to make loan payments while I am studying or begin repayment once I have graduated?
You may not have a clear answer for these question at the moment, but if you do these questions will you give you some extra insight on which loan conditions are right for you.
- Interest Rates: Variable or Fixed?
Interest rates are the part of taking out a loan that everyone hates, so if you can get the best deal you’ll feel very satisfied. When you apply for a loan, you are asked if you want a variable or fixed interest rate and the distinction is very important.
- Variable: A variable rate means exactly that, the interest rate on your loan varies and changes over time. This is considered somewhat of a gamble because if the economy changes, your interest rate can either decrease or increase.⦁
- Fixed: Most people automatically go with a fixed interest rate because its stable and, therefore, stays the same as long as your loan exists. A fixed rate makes it easier for you to calculate your monthly payments, which in turn allows you to organize your finances. In essence, it gives you more control from day 1.
- Repayment Schedule
When choosing the details of your repayment, is when the previous questions could come in handy. It is important to know if you have the option to defer (postpone) payments until after you have finished your studies or if you have to begin repayment as soon as you sign your name. Here are 3 of the most common repayment schedules and what they mean:
- Standard Repayment: Standard repayment usually gives you a 10-year limit to pay off your loan. During those 10 years you have a fixed monthly amount, and the lender usually requires a minimum monthly payment.
- Extended Repayment: Extended repayment is similar to standard repayment, in that you have fixed monthly payments. However, you have the option to pay back your loan between 12-30 years. This of course lowers your monthly payments, but it is important to remember that the lender will be charging you interest during this time. Although you may have lower monthly payments, more payments means more interest which means more money paid over time.
- Graduated Repayment: With a graduated repayment schedule, the idea is that you start off paying a specific monthly payment and that this amount is readjusted (increases) every 2 years. The repayment timeline given is usually 12-30 years.
- Special Conditions and Additional Fees
You may have heard the term deferment thrown around when talking about loans and you may know that it means postponing your loan payments. When taking out a private student loan you must be careful with the fine print. Although deferment exists, with private student loans it might be a little bit trickier. Many times, in the fine print is where you will find a multitude of hidden fees that can come back to haunt you later. Here are a few fees to keep an eye out for:
- Paying off your loan early
- Penalties for late payments
For more information on what to take into consideration when choosing a loan check out our post ¨What International Student Loan is Right for Me?¨.