7 Best International Student Loans for the USA

The pursuit of higher education in the United States is a dream for many international students, but the financial aspect often poses a significant challenge. Understanding the nuances of international student loans is crucial to turning this dream into reality. This comprehensive guide delves into various loan options, highlights their pros and cons, and provides insights to empower students like Michael Adebayo in making informed decisions.

Best International Student Loans: A Detailed Comparison

1. Earnest

Pros:

  • Nine-month grace period for graduating students.
  • Option to skip a payment once a year.
  • No associated fees.

Cons:

  • Not available for part-time undergraduate students.
  • Lack of a co-signer release program.

Repayment Options:

  • Interest-only
  • Fixed
  • Deferred
  • Full payment

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Available in all states and D.C. (excluding Nevada).
  • Co-signer must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Students must have a physical address in the U.S.
  • Requires an SSN or ITIN.
  • Co-signer needs a credit score of 650 or above and a credit history of three years or longer.
  • Co-signer must have an annual income of at least $35,000.
  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled at least half-time.
  • School must be Title IV-qualified, not-for-profit, four-year institution.

2. MPOWER

Pros:

  • No credit score or history required.
  • No need for a co-signer.
  • Offers an autopay discount of 0.25%.

Cons:

  • Only a single repayment term.
  • Charges an origination fee and interest-only payments in school.

Repayment Options:

  • Interest-only

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Available to students attending select schools in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Approval possible for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, DACA recipients, asylum seekers, refugees, or visa holders.
  • Must be enrolled at an eligible school.
  • Must be the age of majority in the state of residence.

3. Juno

Pros:

  • Lower interest rates.
  • No commitment and no fees.
  • Available for DACA and international students.

Cons:

  • Lengthy approval process.
  • Limited to partner lenders.
  • Must enroll to view potential rates.

Repayment Options:

  • Deferred payments
  • Fixed payment
  • Interest-only payment
  • Full payment

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a past, present, or future student of a Title IV accredited, not-for-profit university in the U.S.
  • Loans available in all 50 states and D.C.
  • Additional borrower and co-signer requirements depend on individual partner lenders.

4. Credible

Pros:

  • Allows comparison of rates from multiple lenders.
  • No application fee or hard credit check.
  • Works with seven lenders.

Cons:

  • Does not partner with all major lenders.
  • Requires additional borrower research.
  • Varying lender terms.

Repayment Options:

  • Full payment
  • Fixed
  • Interest-only
  • Deferred

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Use the loan for education purposes only.
  • Qualifying credit score (or a co-signer with one).
  • Enrolled in an eligible education program.
  • U.S. citizen or legal resident with an SSN.
  • Qualifying income and debt-to-income ratio (or a co-signer with one).
  • At least 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent.

5. Ascent

Pros:

  • Flexible repayment terms.
  • 1% cash-back graduation reward.
  • Referral bonuses.

Cons:

  • International students must have a co-signer.
  • Outcomes-based loans limited to part-time students.

Repayment Options:

  • Deferred
  • Interest-only
  • Fixed

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Co-signers must have a minimum annual income of $24,000 for the current and previous year.
  2. Co-signers must meet a minimum credit score.
  3. Loans available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories.
  4. International students need a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  5. Must submit proof of income.

6. Citizens Bank

Pros:

  • Loyalty discount for customers.
  • Co-signer release available.
  • Multi-year approval.

Cons:

  • Not available for community college students.
  • Low aggregate limits.

Repayment Options:

  • Deferred
  • Interest-only
  • Immediate

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Available in all 50 states.
  • International students must have a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Students must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution.
  • No prior student loan defaults.
  • Co-signer must have a reasonably strong credit history.

7. Prodigy Finance

Pros:

  • No co-signer required.
  • Available for study in 20 countries.

Cons:

  • Limited to graduate students.
  • Interest rates are variable.
  • Administrative fee.
  • Eligibility restricted to certain schools.

Repayment Options:

  • Deferred payments

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Must be enrolled at a supported school and in a program.
  2. Student must come from a country the lender supports.

Conclusion

Choosing the right international student loan involves careful consideration of each option’s pros, cons, and eligibility criteria. It’s essential to conduct thorough research and, if possible, seek guidance from financial advisors to make informed decisions aligned with your educational and financial goals. Remember, the path to higher education should be as stress-free as possible, and choosing the right loan is a significant step towards that goal.

 

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