International Student Loan Application Process
If you don't qualify for federal loans or if they are not enough to help you cover all your expenses, you might choose to apply for private student loans through banks or other financial institutions. You can use our comparison tool to see if you are eligibe for a loan. Because students typically can't defer them the way they can federal loans, private loans should only be used as a last resort. However, in some cases it is necessary. Your personal credit will be checked to determine the interest rates of your loans.
Before applying for a private student loan, you should know exactly how much you need to borrow. To do this, review the financial aid award letter sent to you by your school. Next, find a loan that meets your needs. You can use our Loan Comparison Tool to help you find a loan that suits you.
Next, you will need to collect all the information you will need for the application. This includes:
- School information, including school name, major, grade, and school term for which you need the loan
- Social Security number (as an international student, this may not be applicable)
- Telephone numbers
- Current addresses, both for your home and your school
- Personal reference information and phone number
- Gross income information
- Residence information, including whether you own or rent, and the monthly housing payment
- Requested loan amount
What if I'm applying for an international student loan before being accepted?
Although with some loans and financial aid it is possible for an international student to apply before being formally accepted by a school, it is not possible to receive the funds. Loan funds can only be disbersed after the amount is confirmed by the financial aid office at your school.
Learn about Social Security Numbers & International Student Loans.
Learn about Conditional Loan Approval for International Student Loans.
Application and Credit Check
First, you will need to submit an application and undergo a credit check. International students coming to the United States to study generally do not have a credit score, and so are usually required to have a US co-signer. A co-signer is a person who undertakes your loan with you, and is jointly responsible for repaying your loan should you fail to do so. Having a co-signer will increase your chances for loan approval, as well as lower interest rates.
If you don't know someone that can act as your cosigner you have 2 options:
First, complete the application online. After you have completed your part of the student loan application, your co-signer (if required) will need to apply, so make sure that you share your application number with your co-signer.
As part of your online application, you will receive a disclosure showing a range of interest rates that are available for the loan you applied for. Later, you will receive another disclosure that shows the specific interest rate you qualified for.
Next you will get an email that tells you what your next steps are. These will vary by your specific lender.
Follow these instructions and provide your lender with the requested information.
Sign the Documents
You will need to sign the consumer credit agreement, and the self-certification form to show that you've verified the amount you need to borrow. Additionally, your school will verify that you have enrolled and that your requested loan amount does not exceed the cost of attendance (maximum loan amount). The school certification may impact the amount you requested.
Next, you will need to sign your Promissory Note, which states that you will repay the loan in full, and complete the Self-Certification Form.
Finally, you must accept the loan terms.
After that your loan funds will be disbursed (sent) to your school to cover tuition and any other charges directly paid to the school. You will receive any remaining loan proceeds from your school once they have been applied to your student account. You may use these remaining funds to cover living expenses and any other potential personal expenses related to the cost of education.
Repaying Your Loan
With some loans, you won't have to start paying them back for a certain period of time (period of forbearance).
For example, the government will take care of the interest on Federal Stafford Subsidized loans while you are in school. After school, students will generally have several months before they must begin repaying federal loans.s