When compared to private loans, federal student loans have a lot of advantages, but they are only available to eligible foreigners who are citizens of the United States.
Consequently, a private student loan is the most effective way for many overseas students to pay for college.
International students now have more options than ever to choose a loan that best fits their unique needs. To assist you in reducing your list of options, we’ve selected the top international student loans.
These loans don’t demand collateral or a Social Security number (SSN) from borrowers, and a few of them—which we like—don’t even call for a co-signer.
You can apply for student loans if you’re an overseas student.
Only private student loans are available to international students in the United States. They are ineligible for federal student loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, from the U.S. Department of Education.
A US cosigner is typically required for loans to non-US nationals, which will increase your chances of approval and lower your interest rate. If a cosigner is needed, they must be a good-credit US citizen or permanent resident who has resided in the US for the last two years.
Earnest provides a wide range of student loans, including refinance loans and even specialist graduate loans. International students are eligible to apply provided they have an SSN or ITIN, a physical address in the United States, and a co-signer who is a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
The lender offers affordable interest rates, and you can borrow up to the cost of attendance. There is a lot of flexibility in payments thanks to Earnest, which lets you change your term down to the month.
Additionally, instead of the usual six-month grace period following graduation, you will receive a nine-month grace period.
You may be eligible for up to 12 months of forbearance if you have trouble making your payments, or you may be offered a modified plan with a lower interest rate, interest-only payments, or a longer term.
Apart from interest, Earnest doesn’t charge any other fees, and if you set up recurring payments, you’ll get a 0.25% interest rate reduction.
In 2015, San Diego-based Ascent started providing private student loans. DACA recipients, overseas students, and students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States can all apply for student loans through the platform.
To be eligible for a student loan through Ascent, international students must have a cosigner. If the primary borrower is a citizen of the United States or holds permanent residence status in the country, cosigners may be discharged from the loan after 12 on-time payments.
The range of loan periods for overseas students is five to fifteen years, with the option of in-school interest-only repayment. Repayment can be put off for up to nine months after graduation.
2. College Ave
Student loans are available from Wilmington, Delaware-based College Ave to parents, graduates, students, and those pursuing career training. If they have a US Social Security number and an American cosigner, international students may be eligible for loans through College Ave.
Undergraduate or graduate courses, master’s degree programs, medical school, dental school, and law school can all be paid for with student loans. College Ave offers a number of repayment choices, including interest-only, deferred, and flat payments, with loan periods ranging from five to fifteen years.
Up to 100% of the approved cost of attendance by the institution may be covered through loans.
3. Sallie Mae
One of the most well-known names among private student loan providers is probably Sallie Mae. The business was initially established in 1972 to handle federal student loans.
Sallie Mae now provides financing for career training in addition to private loans for undergraduate and graduate students. If they have a cosigner who has been approved, international students can borrow money from Sallie Mae.
While a student and after graduation, Sallie Mae offers delayed, interest-only, or fixed repayment options. After making 12 on-time principal and interest payments and satisfying the necessary credit score requirements, international students who get permanent residency status may apply for cosigner release.
Earnest is a San Francisco-based fintech startup that provides credit cards, personal loans, student loans, and student loan refinancing to qualified borrowers. Applying for student loans with Earnest is possible for international students who have a cosigner, a U.S. address, and a Social Security number.
There are no origination costs or prepayment penalties on the platform, making it fee-friendly. For creditworthy customers who sign up for automatic payments, Earnest provides some of the lowest interest rates on private student loans currently available.
Borrowers can apply for the Skip a Payment feature after making at least six consecutive on-time payments on their loans. With that perk, you’re able to miss one loan payment every 12 months.
Only private student loans, with rates and conditions that might differ greatly depending on the lender, are available to the majority of overseas students.
Some lenders don’t have that condition for loans for international students, even if it’s not usually necessary for domestic students to have a co-signer who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
To get going, you need to evaluate various lenders to find the best fit. Many offer pre-qualification, which you can obtain with simply a mild credit check that won’t harm your credit score. However, some may demand that you submit a complete application in order to determine your eligibility.
Following the submission of your application, the lender will evaluate your credit history, income, and other details to establish your eligibility and the interest rate you will be charged.
The lender will normally send the loan funds directly to your school if you accept the terms of the loan. You can get a check from your school for the difference if there is extra money.
Federal student loans have many of the same relief programs available, such as loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and substantial forbearance and deferment choices. International student loans, however, are primarily credit-based and don’t offer many of the same relief programs.
When it comes to paying for their college education in the United States, international students don’t have as many options as citizens and permanent residents have. But there are a number of options among private lenders.
If you don’t have a co-signer, your alternatives may be restricted and pricey, but it may be simpler to obtain a good deal if you have a co-applicant. Before deciding to proceed, take your time to look around and weigh your possibilities. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the financial aid office at your school to learn about more ways to pay for college.