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International Student Loans

Getting a student loan to study in America as an international student isn't easy, and will depend almost entirely on where your home country is.

There are limited options available to those wanting to apply for a student loan from a bank in the US, so investigate your options at home first.

International Student Loans

Students in the US are eligible to apply for student loans from the government such as Stafford loans, but these aren't available to non-US citizens. So if you need extra cash to fund your studies, you'll have to investigate other options.

Loans for students
There are three types of loans for students coming to the US:

  • Student loans

  • Personal loans

  • Short-term loans


Student loans are provided by banks purely for the purpose of studying at university. The bank will often defer payments on the student loan until you have graduated from university, although you will usually still accrue interest in this period.

Repayment normally begins a set period after graduation, which can be anything from one month to six.

Personal loans are given regardless of whether you are studying or not, with the decision based on whether you can afford the repayments. Be aware that you will have to make monthly repayments while at university, and interest rates are normally higher.

Short-term loans are to be avoided, but some students opt for quick fixes when desperately short of cash. Be aware that interest rates can be astronomical, so avoid at all costs.

How to apply for a student loan
Getting a student loan or a personal loan should be fairly simple, providing you meet the criteria required. You will apply directly to the bank through an application form.

Expect to be asked to providing supporting information on the following:

  • Your confirmed offer of a place at an approved US institution

  • Accommodation details

  • Detailed breakdown of how much you need to lend, including living costs

  • An agreed repayment plan


Getting a US-based loan
There are two loop-holes if you want to apply for a student loan at an American bank. If you have dual citizenship including an American passport, you can apply for government-backed loans.

Alternatively, if you have a creditworthy US citizen or permanent resident who is willing to co-sign the loan with you, you may be able to get a loan from a US bank.

Always check with your university's financial aid office before applying for a student loan of this type.

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