International Student Loans

Whether you're studying outside the United States or coming here for your education, it can be difficult to finance the costs of college abroad. International private student loans are products made especially for these situations. In addition to mere loans, there are a vast range of other resources such as scholarships, grants and even federal student loans in some cases.

International Student Loan Options

Frequently Asked Questions About Private Student Loans

What is an International private student loan?

Unlike Federal Student Loans, private student loans are specialized student loans based on your credit history and should be considered after all federal loans, grants and scholarships have been exhausted. Most lenders allow a cosigner to be added to the application, which in some cases may provide a better interest rate. Due to the nature of an international loan, a cosigner will likely be necessary to offset the risk of lending to foreign students.

What can International student loans be used for?

Private international student loans can be used for education-related expenses including such things as tuition, books, transportation, supplies, lab fees, housing costs, and room & board. They are much more flexible than their federal counterparts and any excess funds over the cost of attendance are usually mailed via check from your school.

Who can apply for a private student loan?

The student must apply for the loan. Since many students do not have established credit history, they may need a creditworthy cosigner to increase the chances of being approved. All international students are required to have a US cosigner. For rapid processing, we recommend having your cosigner's information (SSN, income etc.) ready before filling out an application.

Are there application deadlines?

No. One of the benefits of a private student loan is that you may apply at any time.

What is the application process?

You will need to submit your application online or by paper form at the lender's discretion. Once you determine the amount you want to borrow, you will need your Social Security Number, driver's license, cosigner information and usually one or two personal references. You and your cosigner's credit will be checked.

Are there any fees?

Administrative and "origination" fees are up to the discretion of the individual lender. Check out our loan comparison tool to see what the major US lenders feature on their loan products.

What are the interest rates?

Your interest rate will be based on you and your cosigner's credit history and either the Prime or LIBOR index, plus a spread. To learn more, check out our page on private student loan interest rates.

Is the student loan interest tax deductible?

Interest on student loans may be tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor or visit the IRS website for more information. If you are a foreign student, ask a tax advisor in your home country about tax rules on student loan interest.

How soon will I receive my funds?

Private student loan funds are usually disbursed within 2-4 weeks of receiving all necessary paperwork. For fastest processing, make sure to have all your information ready at the time of application.

Who offers private student loans?

Banks, private lenders and other financial institutions offer private student loans. To compare some of the most popular ones in the United States, check out our lender comparison tool.

How long are repayment terms for private student loans?

Repayment terms typically range from 15-25 years.

Are there any deferment options while I'm in school?

Typically, you can choose to begin repaying your loan immediately, make interest only payments while in school, or defer all payments while enrolled over half-time in school. Any interest you defer will be capitalized (added to your balance) when you begin making your loan payments. In addition to deferring your payments, many lenders also offer grace periods (typically six months) after graduation or ending a degree program.

What should I look for in a private student loan?

Interest rates and fees can vary significantly between lenders. Many lenders also offer borrower benefits that can reduce the principal or interest on a private student loan. Be sure to look carefully at the terms and conditions when applying for a loan.