If as an international student, you are dreaming of studying abroad but are worried because your pocket isn’t strong enough to finance your education? You’re not alone! Many international students are in this circle; they face huge challenges in finding the right financial support to pursue their dreams.
In most cases, some students are left with no option but to take up a loan, if this is the option left for you, we will show you in this guide how to get a student loan as an international student.
A student loan is a financial tool that helps you cover the costs of your education, including tuition fees, living expenses, books, and more. When you get a student loan, you’ll need to repay, you usually repay your loan with interest after you graduate. The purpose of student loans is to make sure that your financial challenges don’t stop you from achieving your academic dreams.
Types of Student Loans
There are two main types of student loans: federal and private.
Federal student loans
In the US for instance, federal student loans are issued by the government and they are more favorable for international students because they have lower interest rates and are more flexible to repay. To qualify for federal loans, you must be a citizen of the country, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen.
Private student loans
For private student loans, they are offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. These loans have higher interest rates and fewer borrower protections than federal loans. To qualify for private loans, you need a co-signer and collateral.
How to qualify for student loans
Find a School
To be eligible for most student loans, you must be enrolled or accepted to study in an eligible school.
Maintain good academic standing
Most lenders require you to maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for their student loans so make sure you stay on top of your studies to meet this requirement.
Get a co-signer (for private loans)
If you’re considering taking a private loan, you’ll likely need a co-signer with a good credit history to increase your chances of approval.
How to get a student loan as an international student
Before taking up a loan, make sure you have already secured an admission, it is one of the primary requirements to obtain a student loan. Once you secure an admission, you can proceed to search for available loans.
Research loan programs
Not all loans are available to international students, you need to identify loan programs that are available to international students in your chosen country. You can find programs that are offered by the government, private individuals, banks, or other financial institutions.
Check if you are eligible
Every loan option has its requirements; you need to review the eligibility criteria for these loan programs. They will require documents like a valid student visa, admission to an accredited institution, and a co-signer (if required).
Gather required documents
If you are qualified for a loan, you should gather all the required documents for the loan application.
- Gather your passport and visa copies
- Admission letter
- Proof of enrollment
- Financial statements or sponsor details
- Bank statements or financial documents
- Any other documents specified by the loan provider
Find a co-signer (if required)
Most countries or lenders will require you to have a local co-signer who will guarantee your loan. You have to find one who is willing to sign for you.
Apply for the loan
Depending on which loan provider you use, you need to complete the loan application form that will be provided to you by the chosen loan provider. You will also submit all required documents along with your application.
Attend an interview (if required)
In some cases, you have to attend an interview with the loan provider to discuss your application and financial situation. After the interview, your loan will be approved or rejected depending on whether you meet everything they need from you.
Receive loan disbursement
If your loan is approved, you’ll receive the funds either directly or through your educational institution, depending on the country’s process.
Before taking up loans, make sure you understand the terms of your loan, you need to know the interest rates, repayment schedules, and grace periods. This will help you make plans for repaying the loan once you complete your studies.
When you obtain a loan, make sure that you comply with the visa regulations of your host country to maintain your student status, as it can impact your loan eligibility. Once you finish your education, repay your loans on time to avoid penalties.
Getting a student loan as an international student is challenging because many students have defaulted on their loans after getting financial support. You have to be ready to meet the rigorous eligibility requirements, and hopefully, your application will be approved.