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Federal student loans are only available to United States citizens and eligible noncitizens. Thus, many international students have fewer student loan options when studying in the United States.
For many international students, a private student loan is the best way to pay for college. Many lenders offer loans to international students, but most require a U.S. citizen cosigner in order to be eligible. Luckily, there are a few exceptions.
Let’s break down what makes an international student loan good and the top lenders you can choose from.
When looking for an international student loan, there are several factors to consider. The most important factors are the cosigner policy, the interest rate, and the repayment options.
A cosigner is an individual who signs onto a loan alongside the borrower. By signing onto the loan, the cosigner takes full responsibility for the loan should you fail to pay it back. Having a creditworthy cosigner can help you secure a lower interest rate and better terms.
Many international student lenders require borrowers to have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident as their cosigner. However, most international students don’t have access to a U.S. citizen willing to cosign, so they opt for a non-cosigned student loan instead.
Before selecting any loan, you should look for a creditworthy cosigner. Cosigned international student loans tend to have lower interest rates than non-cosigned loans. Thus, you should pursue cosigned private student loan options before non-cosigned options.
Regardless of which loan you select, you should always read lenders’ cosigner policies carefully.
Each international student loan will have its own unique interest rate and terms. If borrowing a loan with a cosigner, your interest rate will likely be lower. If borrowing a loan without a cosigner, your interest rate will likely be higher.
Because international student borrowers tend to not have a cosigner, the interest rates can be higher. As of March 2022, the interest rates for international student loans from Sparrow’s lending partners ranged from 1.13 percent to 14.98 percent. This range is fairly wide due to various factors such as the type of APR (variable or fixed), whether the loan was cosigned, the country the borrower is from, the borrower’s credit history, and more.
Compare interest rates carefully to select the one that is best for you.
Similarly to interest rates, each international student loan will have its own selection of repayment terms. While some international student loans don’t require you to make payments while in school, others require immediate repayment.
It’s important to consider whether you will be able to afford to make payments immediately after the loan is taken out. Many students are unable to make payments while in school and prefer a repayment option that doesn’t start until after graduation.
Before selecting an international student loan, read up on the lender’s repayment options. Make sure that the lender’s options align with your desired timeline for repayment.
The best international student loan is ultimately the one that works best for you. However, the following are our top picks for international student loans.
Ascent offers traditional cosigned credit-based loans for international students. With a qualifying U.S. cosigner, international students can be eligible for Ascent private student loans.
College Ave offers traditional cosigned credit-based loans for international students. In order to be eligible to borrow with College Ave, you must have a Social Security Number and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner.
Earnest offers traditional cosigned credit-based loans for international students. In order to be eligible to borrow with Earnest, you must apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner. You must also have a physical address in the United States and a Social Security Number.
Sallie Mae offers traditional cosigned credit-based loans for international students. In order to be eligible to borrow with Sallie Mae, you must apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen cosigner.
MPOWER offers non-cosigned student loans to international students. MPOWER does not require borrowers to have a credit history or a cosigner. Instead of using your credit history to determine your eligibility, MPOWER uses information such as your future income potential.
Prodigy Finance offers non-cosigned student loans to international students. Prodigy Finance does not require borrowers to have a high credit score or a cosigner. Prodigy Finance uses information such as your credit history and future income potential to determine your eligibility.
To apply for an international student loan:
Private student loans are a great option for international students unable to access federal student loans. By comparing your options, you can select a loan that supports your educational journey.
To find the best international student loan, start here.
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