International Student LoansEmail This Article
Can International Students Get Loans?
International students who have come to the United States to attend a college or university may need help with financing. Federal student loans are only an option for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, U.S. nationals (such as individuals born in American Samoa or Swains Island), and eligible non-citizens.
International students that are not eligible non-citizens (as defined by the FAFSA®) do not qualify for federal student aid. However, some schools or states may recommend the completion of the FAFSA to determine eligibility for state or institutional financial aid.
This leaves personal savings, scholarships and grants (if any), and private student loans to help pay for college.
Student Loans for International Students
Most international students will need a U.S.-based cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. In some cases, the lender will also require the student to have a Social Security Number. Your cosigner must be a permanent U.S. resident with a good credit history who has been in the United States for at least two years.
Lenders who work with international students who have a cosigner:
What Is an Eligible Non-Citizen?
An eligible non-citizen for purposes of applying for federal student loans is defined by the Department of Education as:
- U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card or "Green Card”)
- Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
- Other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Indefinite Parole,” “Humanitarian Parole,” or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
- A citizen of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM).
International Student Loan FAQs
Can a student with an F1 Visa get a loan?
An international student with an F1 Visa may not apply for federal student loans, but may qualify for private student loans with a cosigner.
Where can I find a cosigner?
International students must have a cosigner who is a permanent US resident, has good credit, and has lived in the US for at least two years. Students who need a cosigner may want to contact family and friends who fit this criteria, cultural community organizations, or their faith based-community for additional help in finding a cosigner. Remember, the cosigner is equally responsible for the student loan. Learn more about cosigners.
How much can an international student borrow in student loans?
International students may borrow private student loans to cover the entire cost of the education and related expenses. Loan limits may vary by lender, and by the strength of the cosigner’s credit or salary history.
Do the same rules apply to DACA students as international students?
Essentially, yes. Students who are classified as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students, will not be eligible for federal financial aid. In addition, if they would like to borrow a private student loan, they may be required to obtain a cosigner who is a U.S. resident. Some states and schools may have programs that will provide financial assistance to DACA students.