How to Obtain Student Loans in US as an International Student

The United States is one of the top study destinations for international students across the world.

This is due to the high standard of education obtainable both in their public and private institutions.

Sometimes, despite getting scholarships or bursaries, you might still need more money for daily expenses, housing, textbooks, laboratory fees, etc and as an international student in the United States, another way to get funds would be through Student Loans.

Read also: How to Obtain Student Loans  as an International Student in Canada



What are Student Loans?

Student Loans are education Loans which are designed for both citizens and international students studying at approved colleges and universities in the United States.

Interestingly, student loans were created to aid students who are willing to study but do not have sufficient funds due to the high tuition fees in the country.

Although permanent residents have access to more loans from the Federal Government, there are lots of private financial institutions willing to give out loans even without collaterals to international students studying in the United States.

How Can I Apply for a Student Loan?

Institutions who give out loans to international students are private financial firms in the United States. Some require that you have a US resident as a Cosigner before you are considered for your student loans.

These firms work alongside schools in the United States, you might have to find out which firms your school has partnered with as regards giving loans to international students.

you can also make use of  to find out your school’s eligibility and application procedures. It is also important that you compare the interest rates, repayment terms, and duration before putting in for that loan.

What do I Need to Apply For Student Loans?

Although different banks have different requirements, here is a list of some documents that may be required:

  • Admission letter from  your university
  • Loan application form
  • Passport size photographs
  • Academic documents (certificates and Transcripts)
  • GMAT or IELTS results
  • Proof of residency for the student and guarantor
  • Statements of accounts

Is there a Maximum Amount?

Well, Most banks usually do not give out loans that exceed your tuition fees as an international student.

This is because after you put in an application for a loan your tuition fee would be verified by your university before your loan can be approved.

Do I Need a Cosigner?

Most student loans given out by banks require that you have a guarantor who lives, works in the United States for more than two years and also has good credit standing.

But in recent times, there are banks that do not require guarantors as long as they are partners with your university.

How Long does it take to Repay Student Loans?

Repaying student loans is quite dependent on the interest rates of the bank which you apply to.

Some banks usually start collecting payments upon graduation and securing a job whilst some start collecting payments with no interests within the duration of your program.

It usually takes about 10-25 years to repay student loans depending on how fast you get a job and the interest rate.


Before considering applying for a student loan, it is advisable that you exhaust all possible options such as applying for a scholarship or bursary.

In a situation where these options are not viable, then I will recommend you read thoroughly the terms and conditions of the loan you would apply for.

Also, you can make use of Loan comparison tools or IEFA to get the best possible deals as regards student Loans.

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