Student Loans for International Students in the U.S.

Student Loans for International Students in the U.S.

Student loans are available to students planning to study overseas.

International student loans are available to non-US citizens studying at a college or university in the United States.

Many international students apply for loans to help pay for college - especially as the cost can add up when tuition, room and board, transportation, books, supplies, health insurance, and other expenses are all factored together.

International student loans are available year-round and can cover up to the total cost of school minus any other financial aid received. Our student loan comparison tool will match you with eligible loan options which you can review and choose the one that works best for your circumstances.

Compare Loans and Lenders

All loans are not created equal so we developed an easy to use comparison tool to help users find the option that works best for their situation. After you select your citizenship and school, the tool returns a list of lenders that will work for you. Compare the different terms and conditions, choose the lender that works best for you, and apply online.

Cosigner Required for Most (But Not All) Applicants

Because international students do not have a credit history in the U.S., most lenders require them to have a U.S. cosigner. A cosigner is a person who can legally sign loan papers or documentation to help the other person obtain a loan. The cosigner must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, with good credit, income history and who has lived in the U.S. for the past 2 years.

The cosigner makes a legal agreement to be jointly responsible for the repayment of the loan if the borrower should fail to pay their debts in a timely manner. Some lenders will not require a cosigner if you meet specific criteria including attending an eligible school, demonstrate high career potential, and plan on graduating within the next two years.

You can use our loan comparison tool to see if you're eligible to apply for a loan without a cosigner.

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Looking for Country Specific information?

We have compiled additional information specific to various nations on our country pages, including conversion rates and inbound student statistics.

About International Student Loans

Typically students can borrow up to their school's total cost of attendance, as determined by the school, minus any other aid received. “Total cost of attendance” includes tuition, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and transportation.

International student loans typically also offer:

  • No collateral required
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Online application
  • and much more…

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Learn more about the international student loan program on our FAQs page . Or check out our International Financial Aid Resources center.

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Loan Details

Studying in the US may require you to secure additional financial aid to make that dream possible. That's why we have developed a private loan comparison tool of all lenders that provide loans to international students. We have made the process easy, quick and simple, comparing those lenders that will help secure your education to the United States.

Private Student Loans for International Students in the U.S.

Many international students studying in the United States will find that expenses can add up! With tuition, books, transportation, and living expenses, many international students may soon realize that they cannot financially support their educational studies entirely on their own, and they are not able to get federal student loans from the US government.

However, don't let this deter you from your dream of getting an education in the United States. This is where private student loans come in! Private student loans are available to international students to help cover these costs while studying at college in the US.

Find out about the Private Student Loan Application Process for International Students.


Find out How to Open Up a Bank Account in the US.

Cosigner Requirements

Most international students must have a US co-signer in order to apply for a student loan. Although there are no co-signer loan programs at select schools in the USA and Canada, almost all international students will require a co-signer. A co-signer is legally obligated to repay the loan if the borrower fails to pay. Oftentimes, the cosigner is a close friend or relative that can assist in getting credit since most international students cannot receive credit on their own. Co-signers must be US citizens or permanent residents, with a good credit score, and they must have lived in the US for the past two years.

If you do not have a cosigner see if you're eligible for a no-cosigner loan.

Application Process

You can begin the loan application simply by doing a loan comparison that will allow you to choose the lender best suited for you. To make the process go as quickly as possible, you and your co-signer will need to complete the entire online application thoroughly. Initial credit approval or denial is very quick and typically takes 2-6 weeks from initial approval.

However, don't let this deter you from your dream of getting an education in the United States. This is where private student loans come in! Private student loans are available to international students to help cover these costs while studying at college in the US.

Cosigner Requirements

Find out How to Apply for a Credit Card in the USA.

Learn about working on an F1 Visa as an international student.

Interest Rates Explained

When you take out a loan through a lender, you will be responsible for paying back the amount of money you borrowed (called the principal) plus an additional amount charged by the lender for the loan (called interest).

For variable rate loans the interest rate is calculated based on an “index” plus a margin that will add an additional percentage depending on your cosigner's creditworthiness or other factors decided by the lender. The two most common indexes used for international student loans are the Prime Rate and Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR):


Prime Interest Rate

This index is determined by the federal funds rate which is set by the US Federal Reserve. This is the rate in which banks lend to one another and in many cases the interest rate which commercial banks charge their most creditworthy clients.



Like the Prime Rate, the SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate) is the interest rate that banks borrow from other banks. The SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate) is the new benchmark interest rate that has replaced LIBOR. It is an overnight rate based on transactions secured by U.S. Treasury securities and is administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The rate is calculated using data from a broad range of transactions in the U.S. Treasury repurchase agreement market, which provides a secure source of funding for banks and other financial institutions. Unlike LIBOR, SOFR does not rely on estimates or surveys and is therefore considered to be more reliable and accurate.


Repayment terms will depend on the lender and loan option you choose.

This is an important feature of a loan since most students cannot work while they study in the United States. Because of this, it is important to consider how much the monthly payments will be, when payments will begin, and how long you may be able to defer paying back the loan. The repayment period typically ranges from 10-25 years.

There are some common repayment plan options depending on the loan you select:


Full Deferral

Students are able to defer payment of the interest and principal until 6 months after graduation as long as full-time status is maintained. Students can defer payments for a maximum of 4 years consecutively which is the typical length of a degree.


Interest Only

You only pay the interest while still in school, for up to 4 consecutive years of full-time study, and can defer the principal until 45 days after graduation. You may have to start repaying the principal immediately if you drop your course load to part-time.

Immediate Repayment

Immediate Repayment

Payments on both interest and principal are due immediately once the loan has been issued and disbursed.

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