If you are thinking about international student loans, you may have seen the word “cosigner” around. A cosigner is someone who agrees to take responsibility for your loan if you cannot pay it back. That means they agree to pay it back if you don't pay it back.
In the United States, when someone who needs a loan cannot afford it all they can find someone to help them. This person is called a cosigner. If the borrower does not pay, then the lender can go after both of them for payment.
The U.S. is a great place to go to school, but it can be difficult for international students who do not have a cosigner to get a loan to help cover the costs of a U.S. college education.
Americans can qualify for federal student loans with low interest rates and multiple repayment plans. International students do not have as many options, but they are still there.
The good news is that there are loans available for international students in the U.S. without a cosigner. Let's explore what is available and how they work!
As an international student in the United States, or coming to the U.S., you will often need a cosigner when you are applying for a student loan. A U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for two years and has good credit history can be your cosigner.
Since most international students in the U.S. do not have credit history, a cosigner joins the standard application process. Approval and rates are based on the credit score of the cosigner and they are legally bound to repay the loan if you (the borrower) are unable to pay.
If you don’t have a credit-worthy cosigner, you won’t qualify for most international student loans. However, there are still a few options available to international students, and on this page, we’ll give you the information you need on private international student loans that don’t require a cosigner.
Find more information on finding a cosigner.
Many private student loan companies offer student loans without a cosigner to U.S. students. But if you are an international student, they might only offer loans to you with a U.S.-based cosigner – a citizen or permanent resident of the United States who joins your application.
Although a cosigner is typically required by most lenders, international students attending certain colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada are able to apply without one. If you’re not able to find a cosigner then this type of loan could be a good option for you.
With no-cosigner loans, instead of looking at credit history, the lender will look at your academic success and career path. A few factors they will take into consideration include your home country, graduation date and what school you attend.
Here are the common requirements to qualify:
You will also need to meet the lender's checks into your creditworthiness.
Private international student loans are offered through non-government lenders. There are a number of private lenders that offer loans for international students, each with their own eligibility requirements. However, only select lenders offer loans to international students that don’t require a cosigner.
Before choosing a product, it’s important to do your research and find student loan lenders that will offer you a loan that meets your needs. You can use our loan comparison tool to get matched with a student loan company that works with international students in just a few clicks.
Meeting all of the requirements to qualify for a loan still doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to be offered one.
Your acceptance or approval for a loan may depend on specific factors such as:
The above factors may also impact the amount you may borrow, the interest rate that will apply and the repayment terms you are offered.
If you’re an international student and would like to explore the option of a loan that doesn’t require a cosigner, you’re able to use our loan comparison tool to see if your school has one available. If so, you can then research the terms and conditions of the loan and apply directly through the lender. When researching a loan a few items you will want to take note of include:
Private student loans allow you to borrow up to the total cost of your education each year - also known as the Cost of Attendance.
The Total Cost of attendance is a figure calculated by the school you are attending.
As an example with one of our partner lenders, you can get up to $25,000 per academic period or $50,000 total over 2 academic periods. On your application you must state how much you would like to borrow.
Your loan amount will be agreed with the lender but must be approved by your school before the loan funds are paid out. The approved amount along with your designated interest rate will be assigned to you by the lender after your application has been reviewed.
Once you have applied for a loan and it has been reviewed, you will get details about your loan offer. This will include the interest rate and how much you can borrow. These things might vary from lender to lender and your situation. When you apply for a loan, there may be different rates available.
For example, the fixed interest rate you are offered could be between 11.99%-13.99% (this is an example rate from one of our lenders and yours may vary).With a fixed interest rate you will have more certainty over the repayments you will be required to make compared to a variable rate.
The interest rate available to you will be provided by your lender prior to you agreeing to the loan so that you can make an informed choice.
By signing up to automatic payments you may receive a better interest rate.
Repayment terms vary with every lender and individual circumstances. You may have a period during school where your monthly payment is zero, or during school and for the first 6 months after graduation you make interest-only payments.
If you are approved for a loan, the funds are disbursed directly to your college or university. The entire process usually takes about 6 weeks, so you will need to plan accordingly.
If there is any money remaining after your school has deducted their costs, it will be paid directly into your bank account.
To see if there are private student loans available at your school, including no cosigner loans, use the comparison tool to get started.
The short answer is no. In most cases private loans are the only option for international student borrowers. Federal loans may be available to certain eligible noncitizens, such as lawful permanent residents. International students can't get federal student aid, but they might be eligible for "institutional aid". You should ask the school's financial aid officer about this, and then consider a private loan.
If you are not from a supported country, do not go to a school that the lenders work with, or if you cannot get approved for loans, then you may need to look elsewhere.
You can begin with your school's financial aid office. You should also try to find suitable scholarships for international students by searching IEFA and International Scholarships.
To learn about the different types of International Student Loans see: