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Canadian Student Loan Program FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Canadian Student Loan Program

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How do I apply for a student loan?

You can compare lenders and apply right online. Instant approval of your loan can be as quick as a few weeks. Click here to start your loan application.

Who is eligible to apply for international student loans?

  • Students who are not U.S. citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending an eligible U.S. college or university.
  • Borrowers are required to have a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen permanent resident.

Students who are not U.S. citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending schools outside the U.S. are not currently eligible for Sallie Mae loans.

What loan is available?

The Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan is an ideal solution for students who still need funds after they have maximized free money and federal loans. With this loan, students can borrow up to the full cost of their education, less other aid received. The Smart Option Student Loan helps students save money, build good credit, and pay off their student loan faster.

What is acceptable CIS documentation for a Smart Option Student Loan?

U.S. permanent residents and other eligible aliens must submit a copy of the front and back of their current Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-551 (Alien Registration Card). We do not accept expired cards.

If the student borrower does not have a current Form I-551, we will accept

  • a temporary CIS Form I-551,
  • a passport stamped "Temporary 551," or
  • Form I-90 (Application to Replace Alien Registration Card), and
  • a copy of the student's passport.

International students must submit a copy of one of the following:

  • Student visa (type F1, H1B, J1, or M1). If the student is already in the U.S. and the expiration date on the student visa has passed, we require an I-94 with a future expiration date.
  • Valid passport with photo and current CIS Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) with any of the following classifications:
    • F-1 and D/S; J-1 and D/S; M-1 and D/S; or H1B
    • Public Interest Parolee (PIP)
    • Asylum status granted indefinitely
    • Refugee status granted indefinitely
  • Current CIS Form I-688B or I-766 (Employment Authorization) that entitles the student to work and attend school in the U.S.

For international students who do not yet have a valid Social Security number (SSN), we can accept the first loan application with an "administrative SSN" that will be assigned by Sallie Mae. For future loans, it is preferred that borrowers apply with a valid SSN, but if borrowers are not able to obtain a valid SSN, they may be allowed to use the administrative SSN for all future private loans with Sallie Mae.

Put the student borrower's Social Security number on all CIS forms.

Per the CIS, all colleges and universities have a designated school official (DSO) who should be knowledgeable and up-to-date on CIS regulations. If you have any questions about the documentation required for a Smart Option Student Loan, please contact your DSO.

What is an International Student Loan?

Federal student loans are popular with US students in the USA, but they are not available to international students. International Student Loans are specialized private education loans that are available for international students who are studying in the USA. International students will have to apply with a qualified co-signer and should only apply for international student loans after exhausting all scholarships, personal funds and other options. Before applying, please visit these international education financing guides:

Lenders typically give better terms for better credit history, so when you apply find a co-signer with the best credit history to improve your rates and fees.

What can International Student Loans be used for?

International Student Loans, like all private education loans, can be used for education-related expenses including such things as tuition, books, fees, insurance, transportation and room and board and other school-related expenses.

Are there application deadlines?

No. You may apply for an International Student Loan at any time.

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