It’s the time of year when many international students are trying to prepare for the upcoming semester by finding funding. If you’re planning on studying inside the United States next semester, more than likely you’re also searching for financial aid. The first step is to apply for as many scholarships as soon as possible. Scholarships are a great place to being your search for financial help since scholarships are essentially free money.
After you’ve applied for as many scholarships as possible, you might still have school fees that you need help with. Since international students are not eligible to apply for federal student loans, international student loans are a great option to help fill this gap. As long as you attend an eligible college or university and have a co-signer (which are required in most cases), you’re able to apply to borrow the total cost of your education, minus any additional aid received. These funds must be approved by your school and can be used for education-related expenses like tuition, books, insurance, transportation, and room and board.
Although there is not a deadline to when you need to apply for a loan, the initial approval process takes about 2-6 weeks. Because of this, it’s best to apply as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that you will need a co-signer in most cases to apply for an international student loan for the fall semester, and that co-signer must meet certain requirements. Your co-signer must be a US citizen or resident that has been inside the US for the past two years and they should also have good credit history. If you have friends or family inside the US- asking those individuals to be your co-signer is a good place to start. However, before asking someone to become a co-signer it’s important to realize that co-signers are accepting a big responsibility when they sign on your behalf. They are essentially joining your loan application and are responsible for paying back the loan in the event that you’re unable.
If you decide to utilize an international student loan, it’s important to realize you must pay back the funds that you’ve borrowed plus any interest that’s accumulated. The interest rate and repayment terms will vary from one lender to the next- because of this, it’s important to review the terms of each lender before deciding on one.