As an international student, finding the right student loan that fits your schooling needs will become very difficult to come by in the U.S. It becomes even more difficult if you don’t have a guarantor or co-signer for the loan lenders who are willing to offer you the student loan. But that doesn’t mean you have no options. On the contrary, you can now find some lenders who are open to approving student loans for international students.
Thanks to this ever-growing list of international student loans, people now have more international student loan lenders than ever. You can now find private student loan lenders that are excellent options for international students.
The best international student loans to consider applying for include:
• MPOWER Financing: best for undergraduates without a Co-signer
• Citizens One: Best for graduates with a Co-signer
• Prodigy Finance: Best for graduates without a Co-signer
• Discover: best for DACA recipients
• Ascent Student Loans: has the best interest rates.
1. MPOWER Financing
Top of our list is MPOWER Financing, the best student loan provider for undergraduates without a co-signer. Unfortunately, many international students don’t always have U.S.-based co-signers willing to act as the responsible party should you fail to pay your student loan.
MPOWER private student loans is one of the best loan providers for international students at any of the 350 approved schools in the United States or Canada. MPOWER Financing allows you to make interest-only payments while still in school while still learning and up to six months after graduating. After this period, you will be required to make full repayments until the loan is fully paid off. And the financing service only charges a 5% origination fee on each of its loans.
The student loan rates after discounts on MPOWER should include:
• Undergraduate fixed APR – 14.98%
• Graduate fixed APR – 12.94%
• Loan repayment terms – up to 10 years
• Loan amounts – between $2,001 and $50,000
The availability of loans for international students without a co-signer helps make it the best option, especially for undergraduate students. This funding should also help with immigration resources, visa support letters, and international students’ scholarship opportunities.
Students can also take advantage of the company’s different interest rate discounts; which include:
• 0.50% for enrolling in autopay.
• 0.50% for reporting proof of having graduated and gotten employed.
• 0.05% after six on-time payments using autopay.
All these features help make MPOWER Financing the best option for international students who’re looking for student loans.
2. Prodigy Finance
The second-best option in the list is prodigy Finance. It also offers student loans to international students without needing a co-signer. However, Prodigy Financing only offers private student loans to borrowers seeking a graduate degree in healthcare, business, science, technology, engineering, public policy, math, or law. This limits its services to only a select few international students, which might not be that much of a convenience for most international students.
Stepping up, Prodigy Financing offers three repayment term options, with most of its payments being derived while you’re still in school. However, the company also allows borrowers to make payments at any time without incurring any fees or penalties. Prodigy Financing doesn’t have any application or prepayment fees. However, it charges a 4% administration fee on all loans.
The current student loan details of Prodigy Financing are as follows:
• Variable APR – 5.6%
• Repayment terms – offers loans for 7, 10, 15, and even 20 years.
• Loan amounts – offers loans of up to $15,000
The kicker about using Prodigy Financing lies in the simple interest rates it offers. Its rates don’t compound throughout the life of their loans, which can save you a lot of money. Prodigy Financing reports all payments to the credit bureau Experian. So, you can actually use it to build your credit in the United States. This makes it one of the best student loan institutions for international students.
3. Citizens One
Citizens One is another leader in providing international student loans to students. The only difference with the previous two loan options is that you must have a creditworthy U.S. citizen co-signer or someone who is a permanent resident in the United States to qualify for a loan. It also doesn’t have any origination, application, or prepayment fees. Borrowers can choose from four different in-school repayment options. These include:
• Graduation variable APR – between 1.42% and 11.00%
• Graduate Fixed APR – between 4.29% and 11.53%
• Repayment terms – offers loans for 5, 10, and 15 years
• Loan amounts – offers loans between $1,000 and 35,000, depending on your degree.
Citizen One is well known for offering borrowers some of the lowest interest rates, especially for professional and graduate loans. This lender also offers bar study and medical latency loans, making it an even more affordable option for graduate students with a co-signer.
You are also given an opportunity to lower their rates with a 0.25% discount on their interest rates if they enroll you in autopay. You can also take advantage of another 0.25% reduction if you have a Citizens Bank account. Unfortunately, international students cannot take advantage of several other features Citizen One has, like co-signer release or multi-year approval. But still, this is one of the best student loan providers you can use.
4. Ascent Student Loans
Ascent student loans is widely known for the interest rates it offers. Its loans are also only available to international students who have a co-signer who is a United States citizen or someone with permanent residency in the country. Ascent Student Loans doesn’t have any origination, application, or prepayment fees. Borrowers can choose from up to four in-school repayment options and 3 repayment terms.
Ascent Student Loan rates with all possible discounts include:
• Variable APR – ranges between 2.69% and 12.98%
• Fixed APR – ranges between 3.53% and 14.50%
• Repayment terms – repayment durations range from 5, 10, and 15 years.
• Loan amounts – the total loan amounts can range between $1,000 and $200,000
As with the other international student loan providers, Ascent Student Loans allows students up to 0.25% interest rate reduction when they enroll in autopay and borrowers. The company is also known for providing a free financial literacy course student must take before they are funded with their loans.
Discover is also known for providing student loans to international students with a creditworthy United States co-signer or permanent resident in the country. All loans are free, and borrowers have the option of choosing from four in-school repayment options. These include:
• Undergraduate Variable APR – ranges between 1.12% to 10.87%
• Undergraduate Fixed APR – ranges between 4.24% and 12.39%
• Loan repayment terms – 15 years
• Total loan amounts – from $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance
Borrowers who are (DACA) recipients are in a unique situation since they already live in the United States and can apply for Social Security. However, they aren’t always eligible for federal financial aid. Discover is one of the many financial lenders that offer multi-year approvals for borrowers with or without Social Security Numbers.
Can international students get loans?
Yes! International students can get access to loans. An important fact to note is that, for a private student loan, you must check if you are eligible for certain federal financial aids. Lenders usually consider several factors before qualifying eligible non-U.S. citizens for student loans.
For federal student loans, you must be:
• A United States national.
• A United States permanent resident with a permanent resident card, alien registration receipt card, or resident alien card.
• A student with a T non-immigrant status or whose parent has a T-visa.
• Anyone with an Arrival-Departure record from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services that shows you are a refugee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, parole, or asylum seeker.
• Anyone who’s considered a battered immigrant-qualified alien.
Borrowers who don’t fall within any of the categories mentioned above should check with their embassy or consulate to see if they offer scholarships or other financial aid opportunities.
Some states or colleges where you study may also qualify you for a student loan. However, this option is only always open when all the other options have been exhausted.
Where can you apply for an international student loan?
As an international student, you can apply for a private student loan from two types of lenders. These are the banks and non-bank lending companies.
Banks that provide international student loans offer students the convenience of doing their banking and managing their student loans in one place. Moreover, banking with some banks offers borrowers discounts in their interest rates. For instance, when you bank with Citizens Bank, you stand automatically qualify for a 0.25% discount on your student loan interest rates from Citizens One. When taking international student loans from banks, the downside is that you must have a creditworthy co-signer backing you up.
On the other hand, non-bank lenders give international students more flexibility to apply for student loans. For instance, MPOWER Financing and Prodigy Financing will consider your career path and possible income potential to qualify you for student loans. However, the best part about using these non-bank lenders is that you can apply for an international student loan without any collateral or a co-signer. And since these companies operate online, they usually have simple and very user-friendly interfaces.
Who qualifies for an international student loan?
As with any other type of loan, lenders have criteria that they use to determine who qualifies for their international student loan and who doesn’t. In this case, international students must meet all eligibility requirements of the lenders they are applying to. This includes being enrolled for a certain period at an eligible school with a creditworthy co-signer as your collateral.
A recap of our top recommendations
Ultimately, there isn’t any overall best international student loan program. The loan that’s right for you will depend on several factors like your program of study, your visa status, and access to a creditworthy co-signer.
• MPOWER Financing – this lender is great for international students who don’t have access to an eligible co-signer. However, it’s only available at 350 eligible schools. Plus, its interest rates are higher than above average.
• Prodigy Finance – this student loan financing option is great for borrowers without access to an eligible co-signer. Prodigy Finance doesn’t have any fixed rate on its loan options. Therefore, it can get very expensive over time if you aren’t too careful.
• Citizens One – this private loan service provider offers competitive variable and fixed interest rates on top of its professional degree loan offers. These make it an excellent option, especially for graduate students who have access to an eligible co-signer or guarantor.
• Ascent Student Loans – Ascent also offers competitive loan interest rates for international students. However, you must have an eligible co-signer to be approved for a student loan.
• Discover – this is one of the few international student loan lenders that make multi-year loan approval to international students that meet the standard eligibility requirements. This makes it the perfect option for DACA recipients looking to build their credit score and avoid annual hard credit injuries.
Research for this excerpt encompassed over fifteen private student loan lenders for international students for undergraduates. We narrowed down this study from credit unions, banks, and lenders to arrive at the list mentioned above. The criteria we used to measure each lender included all available APR ranges for the loans, repayment plans, fees charges, and hardship options offered. The study also included any additional features like the ability to refinance, the ability to parent a loan, and a co-signer release.
The bottom line
Armed with the information in this excerpt, you should be in a better position to secure a student loan. Don’t let the strict nature of student loans in the United States for international students put you off. If you look hard enough, you should be able to find some of the best loan offers for international students at the best rates. With this, we say good luck and wishing you success in your studies.