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.
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.
It’s always interesting to look back at the previous year to get a feel for what’s going on in international education. Of course, we’re particularly interested in finding the perfect student loan for international students. So here are some key facts about international students in the US and US study abroad students.
Whether you’re a foreign student studying in the US, or a US citizen dreaming of studying abroad, we hope you enjoy learning a little more about the state of international education right now.
And when you’re ready you can learn about applying for your international student loan.
International students in the US
According to research carried out by The Institute of International Education (IIE), 271,738 international students enrolled at a US institution at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. This is down almost 7% compared to the 2016-2017 figures (290,836 international students) and a further decline from the peak of 300,743 international students recorded in 2015-2016.
The total number of international students in the US was 1,094,792. This is up 1.5% on the previous year, but the rate of growth is at its lowest for over 10 years and a significant change from the 10% growth in total international student numbers in the US in the 2014-2015 academic year.
One encouraging trend is that international students represent a growing percentage of total student numbers. International students now represent more than 1 in every 20 students in the US (5.5% of all students). This has grown year on year.
In terms of the distribution of international students in the USA, we looked at the 10 most popular states.
The highest concentration of international students is in California. In 2016-2017 there were 156,879 international students in California. This rose 3.2% to 161,942 in 2017-2018.
The state with the biggest increase in international student numbers was Massachusetts. Massachusetts saw a staggering 8.4% increase in international student numbers to 68,192 compared to 62,926 in the previous academic year.
The following were notable in their decreases but remain amongst the top 10 most popular states for international students:
Ohio (down 2.8% to 37,583)
Indiana (down 2.0% to 29,994)
Texas (down 0.9% to 84,348)
Popular US schools for international students
The most popular schools, colleges, and universities for international students in the US may or may not surprise you. Amongst the top 5, we are proud to say that no-cosigner loans are available at all of them.
Coming out on top with a total of 17,552 international students was New York University, New York, NY. No-cosigner loans are available at New York University.
The rest of the top 5 are as follows:
#2 – University of Southern California – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA) – 16,075 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at University of Southern California – Los Angeles.
#3 – Northeastern University – Boston (Boston, MA) – 14,905 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Northeastern University – Boston.
#4 – Columbia University (New York, NY) – 14,615 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Columbia University.
#5 – Arizona State University – Tempe (Tempe, AZ) – 13,459 international students. No-cosigner loans are available at Arizona State University – Tempe.
Courses for international students in the US
The largest number of international students in the US are on Undergraduate programs (442,748), with 308,953 Graduate students enrolled. There were 203,462 international students in the US on Optional Practical Training courses. There were also 65,631 international students on other, non-degree courses.
The three most popular fields of study for international students studying in the USA were Engineering (with 21.3% of all international students), Business and Management (17.9%) and Math and Computer Science (17.0%).
For more information about the options available to international students attending US schools visit our International Student pages.
US Study Abroad Students
If we turn our attention now to US students studying abroad, the latest statistics available are for the 2016-2017 academic year. This year saw the number of US students studying abroad rise a modest 2.3% over the previous year to a total of 332,727 students.
More than 25% of these students (85,786) enrolled in STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Business was the next most popular field of study, with Social Sciences coming in third.
The 292,467 US undergraduate students studying abroad in 2016-2017 represented 1.8% of the 16,298,944 total US undergraduate enrolment.
64.6% of US students studying abroad in 2016-2017 did so for a short period (e.g. a summer or a study period of 8 weeks or less). 33.1% spent a semester (or one or two quarters depending on the institution) abroad. Only 2.4% studied abroad for the long-term – an academic or calendar year (or more).
Where do US students abroad study?
Europe hosted the vast majority of US students studying abroad. Latin America & the Caribbean came in second and Asia took third place.
#1 – Europe, 181,145 total US students (54%)
#2 – Latin America & Caribbean, 51,513 US students (15.5%)
#3 – Asia, 38,621 US students (11.6%)
24,790 US students (7.5%) studied in more than one region in the 2016-2017 academic year.
On a country level, 39,851 US students were studying in the United Kingdom in 2016-2017. This represents 12% of the total number of US students studying abroad. The UK is the largest single concentration of US study abroad students.
Italy, Spain, France, and Germany represent the second to fifth places respectively.
China appears at sixth in the list, with 11,910 US students studying there (3.6% of the total).
There are some other surprise appearances in the list of the top 25 most popular destinations for US students studying abroad:
#9 – Costa Rica hosted over 8,000 US students
#11 – over 6,000 US students made South Africa their home for part of their studies
#13 – almost 5,000 students experienced student life in the Czech Republic
Besides the 332,727 students who enrolled in courses leading to academic credit, 36,975 US students attended over 400 other institutions and took part in non-credit work, research, volunteering, and internships abroad.
If you’re interested in finding out more about your options as a US student studying abroad please visit our Study Abroad pages.
Are you planning to study abroad? There are International Student Loans available for students in your position who need funding. This might be for a semester or a full degree program.
Here at International Student Loan, we’re here to help. Find the information you’ll need to make an informed choice and apply for funding.
What a student loan can cover:
Tuition fees, books, accommodation, transportation, health insurance, and anything else an international student might need.
We’ve prepared this post as a one-stop overview of the information you’ll need whether you’re a student, parent, student- or financial-aid-advisor!
We hope you’ll find the student loan that works for you!
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US:
International Student Loan
There are International Student Loans available for non-US citizens studying at a college or university in the United States. It’s very common for foreign students to apply for loans to help pay for college.
Studying abroad can be very expensive once all the costs have been added up.
We have a student loan comparison tool will match you with eligible loan options which you can review and choose the loan that works best for your circumstances.
Most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. They must be a US citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the US for the past 2 years and has good credit history.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for Non-US citizens studying in the US at select schools (No Cosigner Loans):
No Cosigner Loan
As mentioned above, most international students inside the US will need a cosigner when applying for a loan. Although a cosigner is required in most cases, international students attending a small number of colleges and universities in the US are able to apply for a no cosigner loan. If you aren’t able to find a cosigner then a no cosigner loan could be a good option for you.
Most international students in the US do not have credit history. With no cosigner loans the loan approval is based on the cosigner’s credit history, along with your academic success and career path.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens studying abroad through a US school:
Study Abroad Loan
If you are a US citizen or permanent resident you may be eligible for a study abroad loan if you are participating in a study abroad program at an approved school in the United States. You must receive credit at your home college or university. If you are not sure if your school is eligible, see our complete list of eligible schools.
Our loan comparison tool lets you compare loans and find the loan that’s most suitable to meet your needs – and you can apply right online.
Find out more here.
Financial Aid for US citizens enrolled directly at a foreign school:
Foreign Enrolled Loan
If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident planning to enrol directly with an approved foreign school to complete an entire degree program overseas, you may be eligible for a Foreign Enrolled Loan.
There are hundreds of medical, dental, law and business schools, colleges and universities around the world that are approved.
Find out more here.
US citizens applying for federal loans:
Federal Student Stafford Loan
US students that need a student loan should complete the FAFSA and apply for Stafford Loans as well as applying for a Study Abroad Loan or Foreign Enrolled Loan.
Stafford loans are fixed-rate loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least half time. They are provided under a federal government program, so interest rates can be very competitive.
Find out more here.
More About Student Loans for Foreign Students:
International Student Loan provides student loan information so that you are better informed and equipped to make the right decision on funding your studies. Whether you are looking for international student loans, foreign enrolled loans, or study abroad loans, we aim to always provide you with the very best of foreign student loan opportunities.
Finding a student loan for your international education can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be with the help of internationalstudentloan.com
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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Now that you have chosen what university will be your home for the next 4 years, you can start the student loan application process. It may seem intimidating, but here’s a guide to help you get an idea of what you have to do and how to do it.
- Financial Aid & Cost of Attendance
This is the first step once you have decided what university you will be attending. If you have received any scholarships or financial aid, make sure to get in contact with the financial aid office to get an updated version of your personal cost of attendance. When applying for a student loan, the maximum amount you are eligible for is equal to your cost of attendance. This will help you calculate the amount you are going to be asking for in loans. In addition, make sure that if you are going to need a co-signer you have that person informed about when you will be submitting the application, being that they will be filling out the application form as well.
- Choosing a Loan
Finding a loan can seem like the hardest part, but that’s where we come in. With our International Student Loan Comparison Tool, you can save time trying to find the right loan. There are some important factors to consider when choosing a loan such as the repayment period or interest rate. It may sound complicated, but we have some tips to help you navigate this process.
- Filling out the Application
Nowadays, loan applications can be submitted via the internet making the process a lot easier. You will need to complete the online application with your co-signer or they may be required to submit a separate online application. If this is the case, be sure to provide them with a correct reference number or application number to avoid any mistakes with the paperwork. In order to make the application process as easy as possible, collect all the following documents and information beforehand:
- School information, including school name, major, grade, and school term for which you need the loan
- Social Security number (as an international student, this may not be applicable)
- Telephone numbers
- Current addresses (home and school)
- Personal reference information and phone number
- Gross income information
- Residence information, including whether you own or rent, and the monthly housing payment
- Requested loan amount
- Contact from Lender
During the application process, you will receive paperwork that may be completely foreign to you. The most important piece of paper is the Promissory Note, which is just a special name for the contract. The Promissory Note is the contract you sign stating to the lender that you will pay back the loan in full and under what specific conditions, in other words the fine print. Want to be up to speed on loan jargon? Check out this great video explaining the loan terms you’ll be coming across!
After all the research, paperwork, and possible headaches this is the moment you have been waiting for. Disbursement is what lenders call the process of giving you the loan money. Student loans are typically sent directly to your school which then uses the money to pay for what is charged to your student account for that semester. Although the process should be automatic, you should keep on top of the dates because your school will have a final payment date and if your loan is not received by that date, it could cause you problems.
Just like with the college application process, dates are important! Check out our financial aid timeline for some helpful tips.
For most American students taking out a loan to pay for college is a given, but many students do not consider the possibility of using the money to help them study abroad to enrich their college experience. If a study abroad program has not been on your radar, it may be time to reconsider. In today’s globalized world, studying abroad is becoming an important investment.
What many students are unaware of is that many study abroad programs are sponsored by their university. What this means is that if you choose to study abroad for a semester or for the entire year, that time abroad is considered part of your ¨normal¨ college tuition. This is great because you will be able to use all of your financial aid during your time abroad. What normally happens, however, is that study abroad expenses add up quickly with the cost of tuition, books, transportation, travel fees, and living expenses. Due to this, all of your financial aid may not be enough, especially taking into consideration that you probably will not be working or have a stable income while you are abroad. If your financial aid is not enough then a study abroad loan can help. Below are 3 reasons why you should take out a study abroad loan and travel overseas! Read the rest of this entry »
Summer is now in full swing and most of you probably have already made your final decision on what university you will be attending for the 2016-2017 academic year. For those of you who haven’t officially accepted enrollment, be sure to do that as soon as possible! Although you have now finished with all your college applications, the next step is starting your loan application. Do not fret! It may sound daunting, but here´s a break down of what information you’ll need to make your loan application a breeze.
- How Much Money You Want to Take Out
Before you can even dive in to begin figuring out which loan is the right fit for you, you´ll need to know how much you are going to take out. Although it does require some planning and number crunching, having this amount ready to go before you start looking at different lenders will make your decision process a lot easier and could save you money. Now you may be asking yourself, ¨how much should I borrow?¨ The key is to try and borrow the amount that you will realistically need and not an excessive amount. When receiving your student loan it may seem like it´s free money, but you must remember that it is not! If you borrow more money than you need your monthly payments will be higher, any financial aid you were given may be reduced, and you may be in debt longer than you would like. When calculating how much to take out as a loan, take into consideration the following: your university´s cost of attendance, funds in the case of an emergency, unexpected expenses, possible income, and how much money you have saved up.
- Your Personal Information
Now a days most lenders have made filling out your loan applications simpler, by allowing you to fill it out and submit it online. However, to speed up the process it is best to sit in front of your computer with all the information you’ll need right off the bat. This will prevent you from having to pause filling out the application to go in search of missing information. Below is a list of what personal information you should have prepared.
- University name, address, and telephone number
- Your major, year (freshman, sophomore, etc.), school term
- Your current home address and telephone numbers
- Housing information: rent or own, monthly payment amount
- Gross income
- Personal References: name, occupation, relationship, contact information
Having a cosigner on a student loan application is usually reserved for and required for non-US citizens, however US citizens or permanent residents can also benefit from adding a cosigner to their application. A cosigner is a person who joins your loan application and legally agrees to take responsibility for your loan payments in the event that you are unable to pay them. For international students, who are non-US citizens planning to attend a US university, having a co-signer is required. However, US citizens or permanent residents can choose to add a cosigner in order to increase their chances of loan approval and to receive better interest rates.Because your cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) you will need to have their personal information on hand such as name, address, telephone number, and social security number. It is important to inform your cosigner that they may have to log in themselves to fill out and sign a part of the loan application.
Read the rest of this entry »
A few months ago, we published a blog discussing how Nigerian international students were being affected by low oil prices. The drop in world prices has caused the Nigerian government to cut back on international education sponsorships. Unfortunately, it seems that the Saudi Arabian government is going down the same path and being forced to cut spending for international education. Read the rest of this entry »
In August 2015, the US federal court ruled against the validity of the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2008 regulation update for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. However, the court gave the DHS until February 10, 2016, to begin the implementation of necessary changes. In January 2016, the court extended the date for implementation until May 10, 2016. What does this really mean for internationals students? Let’s break it down.
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional Practical Training, or OPT as it is commonly referred to, is a program that was created to provide international students with the opportunity to extend their visas to gain 1 year of US work experience in a professional setting that is directly related to their field of study. This work experience can be achieved either while they are completing their studies or post graduation. Read the rest of this entry »