You’ve researched the total cost of attendance, done all your calculations and budgeting, you’ve applied for as much financial aid as you can from your school, and you’ve even been awarded a scholarship – but what if you’re still not sure if you can cover all of your costs?
Well, the good news is that an international student loan can help – but don’t just take on a loan without first understanding what you’re getting into.
What is an International Student Loan and How Do They Work?
International students have fewer options than domestic borrowers. Unless you’re an eligible noncitizen who can qualify for federal student aid, you will have to borrow from a private lender, as federal student loans are reserved exclusively for US citizens.
International Student Loans are specialized private education loans that are available for international students who are studying in the USA or Canada. We recommend that you only apply for international student loans after exploring all other options like scholarships, personal funds and other options.
Undergraduate students and graduate students can apply.
A number of lenders offer student loans for international students, but most require the borrower to have a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to join the application. The co-signer will need good credit to be approved and to help you get the most competitive rates.
If you’re not able to find a co-signer, some lenders do offer loans without a co-signer, but only at select colleges and universities, and you’ll usually pay higher interest rates on these loans.
If you need to borrow money to help pay for university, it is important to understand how these loans work before you sign the paperwork.
Student loans typically have lower monthly payments and lower interest rates than other types of private loans, and repayment terms are also usually more relaxed. But remember that the total cost of the loan is greater than the amount borrowed due to the cost of borrowing. Most lenders don’t require full payments while you are still attending school, in fact many offer a period of time after graduation before repayments even start.
The funds of your student loan will normally be paid out (disbursed) directly to your school at specific times to pay for direct university-related expenses. Funds are not usually transferred directly to the student, however any surplus funds will be paid into your nominated bank account after you have covered all of your university costs.
How do I apply for a private student loan?
One option is to research all the private student loan lenders and fill out all their applications. This can be time consuming and frustrating, because you may find out after all that work that you aren’t eligible for a loan with that lender.
Another option is to first find out if you are eligible and compare lenders using the loan comparison tool at internationalstudentloan.com/apply – it takes less than 10 seconds to find out if a lender is available for you based on your school and circumstances.
You can then apply online directly with the lender, knowing that they should have a plan that works for you.
After that, approval of your loan can happen in just a few weeks.
Who is eligible to apply for these loans?
To apply you should not be a U.S. citizens or permanent resident, and you must be attending an eligible U.S. or Canadian college or university. In most cases you must be attending full time – part time students may not be eligible. Undergraduate students as well as those taking graduate degrees may apply in most cases.
Also, borrowers are required to have a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen permanent resident for most lenders. You and your co-signer will undergo a credit check.
Loans that do not require a co-signer are available at a number of schools, and these will be shown in the loan comparison tool. If you do not have a creditworthy co-signer and you are an undergraduate student you may find it harder to secure a loan until you are within 2 years of your expected graduation date.
Your field of study usually doesn’t affect your loan application, although there are special categories of loans for medicine.
Like all private education loans, loan funds can be used for education-related costs including tuition fees, books and supplies, other school fees, insurance, transportation, room and board (living expenses) and other school-related expenses.
Speak to your school’s Financial Aid Office to check their published Total Cost of Attendance which will give you an official estimate of the total amount of funding and financial aid you will need to cover all of your costs.
Begin by using the loan comparison tool. This will show you the options available to you and allow you to choose the lender best suited for your situation and needs.
You will then apply directly with the lender. You and your co-signer (if required) will need to complete the entire online application thoroughly and supply any documents requested by the lender.
Interest Rates Explained
When you take out a loan through a lender, you will be responsible for paying back the amount of money you borrowed (called the principal) plus an additional amount charged by the lender for the loan known as the cost of borrowing.
This interest rate is calculated based on an “index” plus a margin that will add an additional percentage interest rate depending on your or your co-signer’s creditworthiness. Every lender’s range of rates varies so it is important to do the loan comparison and review the interest rate and repayment terms.
The two most common indexes used for international student loans are the Prime Rate and LIBOR Rate.
When your application is approved, the lender will provide information on your specific interest rate and you can then decide whether to accept the loan or not.
Interest begins to accrue (build up) as soon as the funds are disbursed to your school. Interest will accrue on your loan while you are in school, even if you are allowed to defer repayments until after you graduate.
After you select the loan that works best for you, you will need to review the terms or contact the lender directly with any questions.
Repayment terms will depend on the lender and details of the loan you choose. It is important to consider how much your monthly payments will be, when these payments will start, and how long you may be able to defer (delay) beginning to pay back the loan (known as periods of forbearance). The repayment period typically ranges from 10-25 years, however the larger the loan the longer the repayment period.
You may be offered the following repayment types by your lender:
You may be able to defer payment of both the interest and principal until up to 6 months after graduation as long as you continue to be enrolled full-time. Payments can be deferred for a maximum of 4 years – the typical length of a degree.
Lenders may refer to deferral as periods of forbearance.
Interest Only Repayments
You start making repayments while you are at school, but only pay the interest for up to 4 consecutive years of full-time study. You can then defer repayment of the principal until 45 days after graduation. With an interest only repayment type you may have to start repaying the principal immediately if you drop your course load to part-time.
You immediately start making payments on both interest and the principal once the loan has been issued and disbursed.
What about Federal Student Loans?
Federal loans and federal student aid are not normally available for international students.
What is the FAFSA I always hear about?
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Even though international students are usually not eligible for this type of aid, your school may require you to complete the application in order to help them determine your eligibility for other funding.
What if I have specific questions about my loan?
Once your loan has been approved, if you have any questions you should contact the lender directly for support.
We really hope this helps you with understanding your international student loan!
InternationalStudent.com has organised a contest for international students every year for 15 years to create a video on an aspect of their student life and on their experiences or hopes of studying abroad.
Despite the very different landscape for international student travel we ‘re experiencing in 2020, InternationalStudent.com is bringing the contest back-and this year it has a special tagline: “Life After Lockdown“.
The concept is simple:
Create a video about one or both of the following, up to 2 minutes long:
How COVID-19 has affected your experience of international education or of cultural exchange abroad
Your ideal international education or cultural exchange afterCovid-19
Do this well enough to impress the judges, and you could win the $4,000 top prize.
There are also prizes for entries in the 2nd and 3rd places, as well as $1,000 for the winner of the Viewers’ Choice Award that is voted on by the InternationalStudent.com community!
If you’re reading this then you must be interested in comparing Study in the USA vs. Study in Canada as an international student.
Well, you’re in the right place – because in this article we’ll cover some of the major benefits of studying in these countries.
So let’s dive right in with
Why you should consider studying in the US
Flexibility in deciding your major field of study
48 of the top 100 universities around the world are reported to be in the USA. One of the biggest factors that differentiates US colleges from other universities around the world is the flexibility in academic fields.
You are not usually required to decide your major until after your second year of study. Most students will use these two years to pursue different academic interests before they settle on a major. In most other nations, students are required to decide their field of study before they even apply.
A varied, general education
Most colleges in the U.S. require you to take general education or core courses.
These give you the opportunity to learn about a wide range of academic subjects – not just your major or concentrated research area. These “liberal arts” courses cover topics from writing to science.
Opportunities for internships & career prospects
You can get a head start on your career with an internship – which most US colleges offer. You can get hands-on experience and gain real-world exposure to your field, plus the chance of better-paid work after graduation because you already have some in-work experience.
U.S. colleges and universities are renowned for offering a huge variety of sports, clubs, societies and activities outside of the classroom. Whatever you’re interested in – you’ll find it on campus!
Students from all over the world study in the US. When you’re one of them, you’ll have the ability to meet new people from different cultures every day, learn new languages, make friends and learn about other cultures.
Specialist International Student Assistance
Many schools have a dedicated office entirely devoted to helping their foreign students with any needs. They might assist you with improving your English, or dealing with visa problems , financial aid and even adapting to cultural differences in your new home.
One important thing to note with studying in the US is that it can be very expensive – significantly more expensive than many other countries around the world. you can learn more about how to fund your education in the US in this article:
A Canadian degree is just as valuable as a degree from the United States , Australia, or the United Kingdom.
Canadian universities perform well in international rankings, and Canadian Universities rank in the top 50 universities worldwide.
Whether you’re attending a university, college, or technical school, there’s no doubt that a Canadian education is a world-class education.
For most students looking to study abroad, expense is the most significant barrier.
And while international students at Canadian universities do pay higher tuition fees than domestic students , the average annual tuition for a Canadian undergraduate degree for a foreign student is significantly lower than the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom.
Foreign students also need to find housing and fund their daily life. Relative to many other top destinations for foreign students the cost of living in Canada is quite affordable. And when you add the average annual cost of living being lower than other countries with average annual tuition fees which are also lower, Canada seems like a very good opportunity, indeed.
Remember that loans for international students in Canada are also available if you need additional funding:
While Canada is a fairly affordable option in global terms, studying abroad is unquestionably costly.
Thankfully, foreign students in Canada are entitled to work up to 20 hours per week during school term time and full time (30 hours per week) during scheduled breaks such as vacations. Most students don’t need a work permit to work while they are studying.
Personal safety is another big reason many students choose to come to Canada. It can be scary to study abroad, because you leave your family and friends – your safety net – in your home country. Canada was ranked 8th most peaceful nation in the world by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Canada’s location and relative isolation offers a bit of a buffer against most international disputes.
Canada has a freely-elected government, and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the basic rights and freedoms of people living in Canada. Canada’s reputation around the world is that of an inclusive and non-discriminatory country. Immigrants make up 20% of the entire population of Canada and Canadian laws ensure that all people are shielded from discrimination regardless of their circumstances.
Opportunities for Immigration
As an international student you usually get temporary status in the country where you study. When you graduate, you usually need to return home.
Unlike many countries, though, Canada has a number of programmes that enable the transfer of international students to permanent residence status after their studies. Options such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit allow students to stay and work after graduation on an unrestricted work permit, and give them the opportunity to gain some Canadian work experience. Most Canadian provinces have Provincial Nominee programs for applicants with experience studying or working in the province, and the points-based immigration system rewards Canadian work and study experience. About half of all international students consider applying for permanent residence in Canada after their studies end.
Canada is one of the world’s biggest economies, and there are plenty of incentives for graduates to work. You have the ability to meet and network with leaders in your chosen field. And you can gain valuable experience working for industry-leading companies in Canada while you study, or after graduation.
If you want to return to your home country, your Canadian education and enhanced language skills in either English or French might provide global opportunities.
If you choose to live in Canada, Canadian employers appear to favour Canadian work experience over international work experience , so your student and work experience could make you stand out above other applicants!
So there you have it! Some great reasons why you might want to choose to study in the US or Canada! Let us know in the comments where you want to study!
Repayments of federal student loans in the United States will be paused automatically between March 13th 2020 and September 30th 2020 and interest is being temporarily set at 0%, meaning that if you are in receipt of a federal student loan your payments will stop during this time and there is no penalty for doing so in terms of additional interest being accrued. This policy was included in the CARES Act which was signed into law by the President on March 27th. You may, if you choose to, continue to repay, but this is optional.
However, the U.S. Department of Education does not have legal authority over private student loans, and they are not covered by the CARES Act. This applies to federal student loans that have been refinanced through a private lender. Note that some FFEL Program loans and Perkins Loans are not owned by the federal government.
So, how will you be affected by the Covid 19 outbreak?
Some private lenders are offering students relief, such as temporary forbearance.
The good news is that private lenders are taking the current situation into account and are making accommodations for those students who suffer economic hardship and may struggle to make their student loan payments – they will work with you to give you options and find the best solution.
For the most up to date information you should contact your lender directly to find out about making payments – especially if money is a big concern for you at the moment.
We will summarize the range of options that may be available to you due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and you should check directly with your lender which ones are available through your account.
The key message is this: If you can’t afford to make the payments on a private student loan, you should contact your lender as soon as possible. They might be willing to offer solutions, such as a forbearance, which would suspend your payments for a short time, meaning that you would not default on your loan, and would thereby protect your credit.
Remember, though, interest will likely still accrue if your private loan payments are paused, and this could ultimately increase your monthly payment, and the total you pay over the term of your loan.
Here are some of the most common new initiatives that private lenders have put in place:
Up to 3-month (or 90-day) forbearance period – a temporary pause on your repayments. Some lenders have left this open ended for “as long as the national emergency continues”
Waiver of late payment fees
Temporary reduction of interest rates
Temporary reduction of repayments
Extension to loan repayment term
60-day forbearance with options to extend
If you have questions about your rights, contact customer service or your account manager at your lender to receive the most up to date information.
Q. I have some federal and some private loans – what does this mean for me?
If you have both federal and private loans and focus on making the payments of the private loans while qualifying federal loans are suspended.
Q. Do I need to apply to suspend my payments or interest?
For Federal programs, no. For private lenders you should contact them as soon as possible.
Q. Do I need to pay a fee to suspend my payments?
No – if you are contacted by someone requesting a fee to assist you with your student loan and offering this type of service be aware that it may be a scam.
All international students find out during their course of study that money matters. Having enough money to pay for all the necessary expenses is an important facet of international student life. Students must budget and keep an eye on their finances to ensure that they do not spend too much, but also that they make the most of their time abroad. So where do most international students spend their money, and how can they appropriately budget?
Living expenses: International students find that the bulk of their costs are spent on their living expenses. This includes rent, water, electricity, internet, cable, and other housing expenses that can add up quickly. Be sure to think about these monthly costs and make your decisions wisely as these are typically services you contract for a designated period of time.
Food: International students have to eat too! Buying groceries each week can be expensive, so plan ahead and try to use up everything you purchase. While eating at a restaurant can be fun, it is often more expensive (not to mention, not very healthy!) so be sure to consider how frequently and which restaurant you want to indulge in. To save money, meal plans or a strict budget can do the trick!
Entertainment: The opportunity to get out and have some fun with your friends is paramount to an international student’s social life. But these costs can also add up. Trips, movies, sports games, bars and shopping can get expensive if you’re not careful. International students should budget out monthly “fun money” to enjoy themselves and relax outside of class – just watch out and make sure to account for it.
Other bills: While this category is very broad, there are a number of other items that you’ll need to consider depending on your personal needs. You will likely need a cell phone which come with monthly fees and can costs hundred of dollars depending on the cell phone plan. You may also find that you need a car to get around, which can add on gas charges, car insurance or even monthly finance payments. Credit card bills and gym memberships will go right on top of those costs as well so be careful about what contracts you sign and make sure that you can keep up financially!
Course materials and supplies: Next to tuition and room/board, course materials and supplies are one of the most expensive fees in an international student’s life. Students must pay for their books, software, lab fees, and perhaps even athletic fees. Some classes may even require that you have special materials beyond the normal pen and paper such as a specialized laptop computer or calculator. Oh, and don’t forget about parking permits!
With a well thought out budget and some planning and caution international students can avoid spending too much money and running up there bills. While students may have a few things to spend money, sacrifice and financial responsibility will always pay off!
Need more help budgeting for school? Check out our resource on How To Budget where you will find more great tips along with a spreadsheet to start budgeting for the next school year!
It is a dream for many international students who want to study engineering in the U.S. – Loans for International Students are also available. The U.S. is one of the best choices for international students who want to study engineering, and students who would like to earn a U.S. degree in engineering but require additional funding may be eligible for an international student loan.
A recent report from the Institute of International Education stated that in 2019 over 20% of international students enrolled at US universities were studying engineering or related courses.
Why is that the case? Well, aside from the quality education they get, students also have a higher chance of finding a job after they graduate. There’s also a huge likelihood of them getting high-paying jobs compared to graduates who studied in other countries.
Here we’ll show you why the U.S. is a great place to study engineering. We’ll also help you know how to get an international student loan in the country.
Specialize in the course you want
One of the best things about enrolling in engineering courses in the United States is that American universities offer numerous specialization courses.This gives you a great range of options to choose the course you really want. Take for example the University of Arizona which offers over ten engineering majors including aerospace, chemical, biosystems, environmental systems, and more.
The same goes for most universities. You’ll get to choose what course interests you, and take it as early as the third semester!
Work as soon as possible
Getting your first job after graduation is becoming more competitive by the day. Competition between fresh graduates is high, not to mention that you’ll also be competing with the experienced veterans in the industry. But, that’s less of a problem if you’re an engineering graduate with a degree from the U.S.
You’ve got the edge over others because of the quality of education you get. Plus, the demand in the American engineering market is so high. Companies such as Apple, Amazon, and other big multinational companies, as well as smaller companies may have opportunities for internships and training positions from time to time.
Boost your earning potential
Another good reason why studying engineering in the U.S. is a must is because you get a higher earning potential.
Graduating with an engineering degree in the US gives you a good reputation for being competitive, both in the academic and practical sense. Engineers working in the U.S. generally also earn higher salaries than those working in other countries.
According to PayScale, engineers can expect to earn a decent salary after graduating.
Enjoy state-of-the-art amenities and equipment
The U.S. is the center of cutting edge technology in engineering. It’s the place to be if you want to experience top-tier education surrounded with the latest tools and equipment to support your dream of becoming an engineer one day. You’ll be taught and supervised by some of the best professors and top researchers in the country.
Furthermore, the U.S. government spends billions of dollars on university education. This assures that you get the best of both worlds, both in the learning experience and earning potential.
Work in the U.S.
The U.S. government allows companies to employ foreigners through Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. This can be done as long as workers are covered as “specialty subjects,” in this case, engineering being one of them.
Get the best engineering student loans in the U.S.
If you would like to study engineering in the US but your finances are lacking, then it might be best to get an international student loan.
Here at InternationalStudentLoan.com, we’ll help you see if you’re eligible to get one. We offer international student loans that are available at eligible schools for engineering students.
We have a loan comparison tool to help you know if you can apply and show you which loan suits you best.
Of course InternationalStudentLoan.com is best known for helping international students discover and compare loans to fund their education abroad.
However we are also part of a larger network including IEFA.org, InternationalScholarships.com and InternationalStudent.com
And that’s why today we’re sharing a great opportunity for Central American Students interested in or already studying at an approved school in the USA or Canada – the Central American Scholarship Program by InternationalStudent.com and MPOWER.
The InternationalStudent.com annual Travel Video Contest is open for entries for 2019!
International Student are giving you a chance to win 1 of 5 unique awards, including the $4,000 grand prize! To enter, you will need to submit a video that you made specifically for the 2019 InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest. Your 4-minute video should be about one of two things:
That your dream is to be an international student, and that you have a school in mind to attend that you want to tell us about.
That you are currently an international student with a dream trip that you’ve always wanted to take that you want to tell us about.
If your video is selected, you could win one of the following prizes:
The cost of a US college education continues to rise. The average cost has increased by approximately 25% over the last 10 years alone. As a result, an increasing number of students are turning to alternate sources of funding to finance their higher education goals.
Both domestic and international students alike are making use of an increasingly varied array of school-sponsored or third-party scholarships and fellowships, as well as a wide variety of private loans.
Still, while increased costs affect all students, solutions may not be available to all.
For example, although Pell Grants are a mainstay for many domestic students, foreign nationals studying in the US on any “J” or “F” visa are not eligible to participate in the program.
In a similar way, the regulations regarding student loans are likewise different for domestic and international students. In this case there is a considerable difference between what is encouraged and what is required.
Consider, as an illustration, the issue of a cosigner for a student loan.
According to Citi Student Loans, for instance, “most undergraduate students will need to apply with a creditworthy cosigner” in order to meet the company’s income- and credit history-based eligibility requirements.
If a domestic student can satisfy these requirements on their own, however, no cosigner is necessary. The same is true of almost every private lender.
By contrast, almost all international students need a cosigner.
Indeed, by and large a US-based (citizen or permanent resident) cosigner with good credit is considered de rigueur for lenders and is therefore all-but obligatory for borrowers.
In this way the cosigner’s country of residence and credit history serve as an additional insurance on the part of the lender (and make the loan’s eventual collection that much easier).
In the end, though, it is important to stress that while not all loan options require a US cosigner, for an international student loan it is important to check with your college or university before applying.
By contacting them directly you can ensure that the loan in question is a good fit for you.
Loans Without a Cosigner for International Students in the US
If you are or are planning to become an international student inside the US, you will usually be required to have a cosigner when applying for a loan.
Cosigners for international student loans must be US citizens or permanent residents, and they must have lived in the US for the past 2 years. They must also have good credit history. Non-US citizens and non-US permanent residents cannot act as a cosigner for loans.
Although most international student loan applications require a cosigner, international students attending a select few colleges and universities in the US and Canada are able to apply for a loan without one.
If you’re not able to find a cosigner, then a “no cosigner loan” could be the best option for you.
Since most international students in the US do not have any credit history, a cosigner joins the standard international student loan application process. Loan approval and rates are then based on the creditworthiness of the cosigner.
The cosigner is then also legally bound to repay the loan if the borrower is unable to pay.
With no cosigner loans, instead of looking at credit history, lenders look at your academic success and career path, as well as other factors when assessing you for the loan. Some of the factors they will consider when you apply include your home country, graduation date, and what school you attend.
International student loans are typically only for non-US citizens studying in the United States. However, loan options now exist at a number of select universities for those who want to study in Canada!
Loans for International Students in Canada
International students in Canada may now apply for a student loan without a cosigner!
International Student Loan is now working with a lender that is able to offer loans to international students, including US students studying at select schools in Canada. Until now it has been very difficult for international students to fund their education in the Great White North, but thanks to MPOWER Financing and International Student Loan, there are now a number of schools in Canada where loans are available without a cosigner.
If you are studying in one of the eligible schools, you can apply for a student loan to cover the costs of your education including tuition, housing, food, insurance, and textbooks.
Remember, with this type of no cosigner loan, rather than looking at your or your cosigner’s credit history, lenders look at other factors such as your academic record and career path, your home country, expected graduation date, and what school you will attend.
Students who are not US citizens or permanent residents and those attending schools outside the US/Canada are not currently eligible for an international student loan.
Finding and Comparing No-Cosigner Loans
If you’re an international student and would like to explore the option of a loan that doesn’t require a cosigner, you’re able to use our loan comparison tool to see if your school has one available. If they do, you can then research the terms and conditions of the loan and apply directly through the lender.
When researching a loan, here are a few things to consider:
How much you can borrow
The interest rate (and whether it’s fixed or variable)
The repayment period
When and how your funds will be disbursed
Once your loan application has been reviewed you will receive further details on your loan. These will include the interest rate and the amount you can borrow. These will vary by lender and depend your situation.
As an example, no-cosigner loans through our partner have a fixed interest rate and allow you to borrow up to $50,000 total over 2 years. You must state how much you would like to borrow on your application. The approved amount along with your designated interest rate will be assigned to you after your application has been reviewed.
If you are approved for a loan, funds are disbursed directly to the college or university.
To give you an idea of the length of time that is required, the entire process usually takes about 6 weeks, so be sure to plan accordingly.