How to Get an International Student Loan in the USA

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Dimas Drajat
Dimas Drajat
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Studying in the United States may be an interesting and rewarding experience, but first you need to determine how to fund it. In case you are in need of funding, one of the ways to find this is through taking international student loans from banks, credit unions, or online lenders. These loans, designed for international students, will finance your education, but you will have to pay back the borrowed money with interest.

Keep reading for everything about international student loans in the U.S., including how to apply for one and how to compare different options to find the best deal for you.

How to Get an International Student Loan in the USA

It is an unfortunate fact that, as an international student studying in the U.S., you cannot obtain federal student loans or take advantage of financial aid offered by the U.S. Department of Education. Private student loans are available through lending institutions that may be banks, credit unions, or online lenders. Here is how it works:

Check Eligibility Requirements

You can start the process by listing potential lenders that give student loans to international students. While you make your list, it is also important to check their eligibility requirements in order to know whether you qualify.

Many lenders require international students to apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. resident. A co-signer is an adult who will sign the loan with you and share the responsibility for repaying the debt.

If you would rather apply for a student loan on your own, or do not have someone to co-sign in the U.S., you still have options. MPOWER Financing provides undergraduate and graduate loans to international students in the US and Canada who meet the eligibility criteria, with no requirement for co-signers or collateral.

Compare Interest Rates and Fees

Interest rates and fees have a great impact on what you end up paying back in total for your loan in the long run. High interest rates and huge fees could have you paying more than what you borrowed.

Interest rates and fees will be set at the sole discretion of each lender, so shop around to find the best loan for you. Most lenders will advertise the available interest rate ranges and you may not know your exact rate until you have applied.

Review Terms of Repayment

When comparing loan offers, concentrate on the repayment terms that are available with each lender. Repayment periods typically vary from five to twenty years. A longer repayment period provides you with more affordable monthly payments but will cost more over the life of the loan. A shorter term will lower costs related to interest, but it will increase the amount of monthly payment dues.

As a student, one may not quite effectively project one’s budget for the repayment of student loans after leaving college. But when selecting a lender, insist on one with a fairly long repayment period of 10 years or more; it will ensure you make a manageable payment per month. Also, be sure to ask your potential lender if they charge prepayment penalties; if they don’t, you may pay off your loan before time without additional fees.

Apply for Your Student Loan

Once you’ve identified the right student loan for yourself, you should apply. Many lenders offer student loan applications online.

You will be required to fill out information in your personal account and also to upload supporting documentation, such as enrollment or transcripts proof.

After the lender has all your information, he’s going to assess your application. When it is approved, the lender is going to contact your school so as to certify the cost of your education.

Once your school certifies the loan amount, the lender will likely send the funds directly to the financial aid office. The financial aid office will apply the funds to your student account.

It can sometimes be a weeks- to months-long process, so getting started early is key. For instance, if your tuition bill comes due in August, attempt to initiate looking for loans in April or May.

Consider In-School Payments

Some postpone the repayments until after you leave school, commonly referred to as a grace period, while others demand small or interest-only payments while in school. The MPOWER Financing borrower will only pay off the interests incurred on the loan while in school and for six months after graduation.

Even if your lender doesn’t require in-school payments, make them anyway. A loan where the interest has been accruing over the time of the student’s enrollment will have a bigger balance than when it was initially taken out, making the loan more costly. Making small payments along the way, if possible, will reduce your interest burden and prevent your student loan balance from ballooning while you’re still in school.

With that understanding of the options and steps in getting an international student loan, it makes it all a bit easier to put things together for the financing of education in the USA.


Securing funding for your education in the United States as an international student can be challenging but manageable with the right approach. By exploring international student loans from various lenders such as banks, credit unions, or online platforms, you can find a suitable option to finance your studies. Remember to check eligibility requirements, compare interest rates and fees, and carefully review repayment terms to ensure you choose the best loan for your needs.

Applying early and considering in-school payments can help reduce the overall cost and prevent your loan balance from growing significantly due to accrued interest. By understanding and following these steps, you can effectively manage the financial aspect of your educational journey in the United States, allowing you to focus on your academic and personal growth.

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