Foreign Enrolled Student Loans FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Foreign Enrolled Student Loans

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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 these international student loans?

  • U.S. citizens
  • U.S. permanent residents (with appropriate CIS documentation)
  • Citizen of certain Pacific islands (the freely associated states)
  • Eligible non-citizens (with appropriate CIS documentation)

You must be

  • Enrolled at least part time, in a degree-granting program, at an eligible institution abroad or
  • Participating in a study abroad program that is sponsored or recognized by your eligible home institution in the U.S.

What student loans are available?

For U.S. citizen or non-citizen permanent resident students enrolled in a degree-granting course of study at eligible institutions outside of the U.S.:

Federal student loans

  • Stafford loans (subsidized and unsubsidized)
  • Parent PLUS loans
  • Graduate PLUS loans

Private student loans

  • Smart Option Student Loan
  • Sallie Mae Residency and Relocation Loan
  • Check with your school to see if it participates.

Do all foreign schools offer federal financial aid?

No. The school must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and be eligible to participate in federal student aid programs. Federal financial aid is available only to students attending eligible institutions.

Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) toll free to find out if a school is eligible: 800-4-FED-AID (800-433-3243).

U.S. federal aid at international institutions is available only in the form of Stafford and PLUS loans.

If my school doesn’t participate in the federal program, can I apply for a private student loan instead?

No. Schools must be approved by the Department of Education to offer the private student loans listed above.

What if I try to apply online but my school isn’t on the list?

Contact us. Tell us the name and country of the school. We will provide further instructions.

How do I start the process?

  1. Complete and submit the FAFSA. You can fill out the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
  2. Get your Student Aid Report (SAR). We recommend you wait 24–48 hours after filing the FAFSA online, then call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID (433-3243) and ask to have the eight-page hard copy of the full SAR mailed to you.

    If asked about this request, explain that you are attending a foreign school that does not have electronic access to your SAR data and that you need to send the eight-page detailed SAR to the school once the Federal Student Aid Information Center mails it to you. (Ask to speak to a supervisor if necessary.)

    When they mail you the detailed SAR, you should keep a copy for yourself and send the original to the school’s financial aid office for review.
  3. Begin the loan application process.

When will my student loan be disbursed?

Disbursement dates are set by the school in accordance with federal regulations. The first disbursement date on a federal loan cannot be any earlier than 30 days before the first day of the loan period.

Checks will be made co-payable to the school and you and will be sent to the school, unless they request otherwise. (Some institutions are required to delay delivery of federal funds to first-year undergraduates who are first-time borrowers.)

To avoid unnecessary delays

  • File the FAFSA and get the eight-page SAR.
  • Sign the MPN and send it to the school with the correct school certification form. (Both are available for download from each loan page.)
  • Have the school send the MPN and the school certification to Sallie Mae, P.O. Box 9425, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9425.
  • Private loan applications must be certified by the school and returned to Sallie Mae, P.O. Box 9435, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9435.

Are there any regulations about cashing my student loan checks for study abroad?

If you are studying abroad, you need to know about important federal regulations affecting the cashing of student loan checks. The Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act restricts the total amount of endorsed checks that are transported into or out of the United States.

If you intend to carry or mail one or more endorsed student loan checks into or out of the U.S. and the individual check or checks total more than $10,000, you are required to notify U.S. Customs and Border Protection beforehand.

If you choose not to cash your student loan checks through a bank abroad, please file the Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments form (PDF, 136KB) (FinCEN Form 105) only if your student loan checks have been endorsed before entering or leaving the U.S.

You can get the FinCEN Form 105 from the link above, at all U.S. ports of entry and departure, and from www.fincen.gov.

Please note: If your student loan check(s) have not been endorsed, you are not required to file a currency reporting form.

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