The Best International Student Loans
Studying abroad as an international student can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding financial aid. Traditional loans may not be available, but don't worry - there are lenders specifically offering loans for students like you. These loans cover tuition fees, housing costs and other educational expenses in the U.S.
We want to make it easy for you to compare the different loan options available. Our resource provides a detailed comparison of various factors, such as loan limits, interest rates, cosigner requirements, repayment options, number of supported schools, and free visa support letters.
Each lender is thoroughly evaluated to give you all the information you need to confidently choose the best loan for your situation. Our team understands the financial challenges of studying abroad, and we're here to help ease the burden.
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Here are the top lenders that offer international student loans:
Ascent provides loans for eligible international students studying in the U.S. with a cosigner. These loans offer fixed and variable interest rates along with flexible repayment options.
College Ave offers eligible international students a range of flexible payment options and a streamlined process to apply for a loan. To qualify, students need a valid social security number and a U.S. cosigner.
Earnest provides loans to international students who qualify with a U.S. cosigner. Plus, there is a 9-month grace period and flexible repayment terms to help make payments manageable.
MPOWER Financing offers international students the opportunity to pursue their studies in Canada or the U.S. by providing scholarships and no-cosigner, no-collateral loans. Competitively priced fixed-rate loans ranging from US$2,001 to US$100,000 are available, ensuring that finances aren't an obstacle on the path to fulfilling academic ambitions.
Sallie Mae provides loans to qualifying international students with a U.S. cosigner. They offer both fixed and variable rate options with zero origination fees. Additionally, they provide multiple repayment options for added convenience.
SoFi offers loan options to eligible international students with a cosigner, allowing them to choose between fixed or variable rates with zero fees and flexible repayment options.
International student loans can be an essential financial solution for international students looking to study abroad. Nonetheless, students should exercise caution and make informed choices when selecting which loans to take out. With proper research and planning, international students can find the best loan options for their unique situations and minimize their financial stress while studying abroad.
The loan limit refers to the maximum amount of money that can be borrowed from a lender during a specific period. For international students, the loan limit is an essential factor to consider when looking for financial aid to cover expenses such as tuition, accommodation, and other living expenses. Different lenders have various loan limits and allowances for what expenses can be covered, so it’s essential to choose a lender whose loan limit and terms meet your financial needs. For example, MPOWER offers loans specifically designed for international students, with a minimum of US$2,001 up to US$50,000 per academic period and a lifetime borrowing limit of US$100,000. ASCENT provides a maximum of US$200,000 for undergraduate loans and US$400,000 for graduate loans. College Ave allows borrowers to obtain a loan up to US$150,000 over four years, while SoFi does not have a maximum limit stated. Sallie Mae provides loans based on the cost of attendance minus financial aid, with no specific maximum amount stated.
|Ascent||Maximum (aggregate): US$200,000 for undergraduate loans; US$400,000 for graduate loans.|
|College Ave||Up to US$150,000 over four years.|
|Earnest||Up to the total cost of attendance.|
|MPOWER||A maximum of US$50,000 per academic period with a lifetime total MPOWER borrowing limit of US$100,000.|
|Sallie Mae||Cost of attendance minus financial aid.|
|SoFi||No specified maximum amount.|
Fixed Vs. Variable Interest
When it comes to taking out a loan, the interest rate is an important factor to consider, as it can significantly affect the total amount you’ll need to repay. Fixed interest rates remain the same throughout the life of the loan, while variable interest rates can change over time. With fixed interest rates, you know exactly how much you need to pay each month, making it easier to budget for loan repayments. Variable interest rates, on the other hand, can often start lower than fixed rates, but can become more expensive if interest rates rise.
For international students looking for loans, understanding the difference between fixed and variable interest rates is crucial. It’s essential to choose an interest rate option that works best with your budget and preference. Most lenders, including Ascent, Sallie Mae, College Ave and SoFi, offer both fixed and variable interest rate options. MPOWER and Earnest only offer fixed interest rates and reward borrowers with discounts on their interest rate.
|Lender||Interest Rate Options|
|Ascent||Fixed or variable interest rate options.|
|College Ave||Fixed or variable interest rate options.|
|Earnest||Fixed rates. Earn a discount on your interest rate.|
|MPOWER||Fixed interest rates that will never increase. Earn a discount on your interest rate.|
|Sallie Mae||Fixed or variable interest rate options.|
|SoFi||Fixed or variable interest rate options.|
Cosigner or No-Cosigner
For international students, getting approved for a loan can be challenging because lenders often require a U.S. cosigner. A cosigner is a person who agrees to pay back the loan if the borrower is unable to make payments. Having a cosigner on an international student loan can improve your chances of getting approved because the cosigner acts as an insurance policy for lenders. Most lenders, including Ascent, Earnest, Sallie Mae, College Ave and SoFi, require a cosigner for international students. However, MPOWER is an exception and does not require a cosigner.
Having a cosigner can be a challenge as an international student, but if you can find one, you can increase the chance of approval and potentially lower interest rates or fees. A cosigner must have a good credit score and meet other eligibility requirements set by the lender.
International students who do not have a cosigner, or do not wish to have one, have other options available, such as scholarships, grants or part-time work. In addition, MPOWER offers loans without a cosigner, so this is a great alternative option for many.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s crucial to weigh the costs and benefits carefully and make sure it aligns with your financial goals and circumstances.
|Lender||Cosigner Required for International Students?|
Loan Tenure and Repayment Options
Loan tenure refers to the length of time borrowers have to repay their loans, while repayment options refer to the terms under which the loan must be repaid to the lender. Different lenders offer various options that borrowers can choose from based on their financial situation. MPOWER offers a 10-year loan repayment tenure with interest-only repayments in school and for six months after graduation. Ascent offers several tenure options ranging from 5 to 15 years and postpones full principal and interest payments for up to nine months after graduation or leaving the program. Earnest provides up to 20 years of repayment with a grace period of up to nine months and up to 180 different repayment terms. Sallie Mae offers loan repayment options spanning from 10 to 20 years with three repayment plans to choose from, while College Ave and SoFi provide 4 different repayment options with a loan tenure of 5 to 15 years.
|Lender||Loan Tenure||Repayment Options|
|Ascent||5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years||Postpone full principal and interest payments up to 9 months after graduation or leaving the program.|
|College Ave||5-15 years||4 different repayment options.|
|Earnest||Up to 20 years||Up to 9-month grace period. Flexible repayment options - up to 180 different repayment terms.|
|MPOWER||10 years||Interest-only repayments in-school and for 6 months after graduation.|
|Sallie Mae||From 10-20 years||3 repayment plan options.|
|SoFi||5-15 years||4 different repayment options.|
Number of Eligible U.S. and Canadian Schools
It is essential to check whether your intended school is eligible under a lender program before applying for a loan, as different lenders work with different schools. MPOWER is an example of a lender that supports students at over 400 U.S. and Canadian schools. Earnest and SoFi offer loans for any college or university degree that is accredited with the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV. For some lenders, you would need to start the application process in order to find out if your school is eligible - but you can check in just a few clicks using our loan comparison tool. It’s always a good idea for international students to research and choose a lender that partners with their intended school or degree program.
|Ascent||Check with the lender or our loan comparison tool.|
|College Ave||Check with the lender or our loan comparison tool.|
|Earnest||Any college or university degree that is accredited with the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV.|
|MPOWER||400+ U.S. and Canadian schools.|
|Sallie Mae||Check with the lender or our loan comparison tool.|
|SoFi||Any college or university degree that is accredited with the U.S. Department of Education under Title IV.|
Free Visa Support Letter
When applying for a student visa, international students are required to provide various supporting documents to demonstrate that they have the financial resources to pay for their education. One such document is a visa support letter, which verifies that the student has access to the necessary funds to cover their expenses while studying abroad. MPOWER is a lender that provides a free visa support letter to help students obtain an I-20 from their school. Ascent also offers a visa support letter, while Earnest, Sallie Mae, College Ave and SoFi do not state online whether they provide such a letter. It’s essential to confirm whether a lender will issue a visa support letter before applying for a loan, as this is a crucial document in the student visa application process.
|Lender||Free Visa Support Letter Issued?|
|Earnest||Check with the lender|
|Sallie Mae||Check with the lender|
|College Ave||Check with the lender|
|SoFi||Check with the lender|
Understanding the ROI of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad has long been considered a valuable experience in terms of personal and professional growth. In addition to gaining exposure to diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives, students who study abroad are also more employable and often have better career prospects. The benefits of a higher education from a renowned institution are undeniable.
However, it's important to remember that taking a loan to finance your education is a significant commitment. While it can help you achieve your academic goals, it's essential to consider the long-term financial implications carefully. As such, before making any significant financial commitment, you need to know whether the return on investment (ROI) is worth it.
The ROI of studying abroad will vary depending on individual circumstances, but the right loan can make it more affordable. By choosing a lender that fits your situation, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of studying abroad for years to come.
Therefore, when planning your international education journey, weigh the pros and cons and select the best option. Choose a loan that can help you support your academic dreams and achieve a successful career.