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5 student loans for international students in 2022

loan and finance companies
Consider these international student loans. Source: Adem Altan/AFP

Received an offer to study abroad? Congratulations! Your next concern would likely be covering the cost of tuition. If you do not have sufficient funds to pay your fees, you might want to consider these loan and finance companies. In the US, international students cannot apply for federal loans, so private finance credits can be a good option.

What are loan and finance companies? In the simplest sense, they are organisations that provide loans to individuals and businesses; be warned though – the interest rates charged on the borrowed sum are much higher than what banks would impose.

The majority of their clients include people with substandard credit history; they turn to loan and finance companies instead and offer collateral (personal possessions or assets valued as equal to the loan amount) as a form of guarantee. If the borrower defaults on this loan, the loan and finance companies can own the collateral.

If you are comfortable with the idea of approaching these companies to fund your studies especially in the US, here is a list of five popular agencies in no particular order:

loan and finance companies

If you are an international student, these loan and finance companies may be a good alternative to fund your overseas studies. Source: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Loan and Finance Companies #1: Juno

Formerly known as LeverEdge, Juno is a student-first initiative for lower rates on student loans.

Instead of getting loans for their Harvard tuition fees, Juno’s founders — Nikhil Agarwal and Chris Abkarians — gathered 700 students from 10 schools, and successfully negotiated a cheaper rate for the whole group, saving about US$15,000 per person.

Currently, 85,000 members have joined the Juno community. With free membership, they can expect to receive up-to-date information on negotiations with the lenders for the best possible rate, and loan alternative options.

Based on the concept of group bargaining power (done by Juno), their deals span from undergraduate loans to MBA loans that do not require a credit check, and even international health insurance (which appears to be cheaper than the university’s own insurance). Members can opt for an international student refinancing on their existing loan as well. 

Loan and Finance Companies #2: MPower

MPower is a public benefit corporation with the aim of making a positive impact on the world. Founded by international students, their goal is to empower global citizens overall through academic, financial and professional successes.

That is why using the student’s potential as the main factor for credit decisions instead of their family income or assets allows MPower to offer no-cosigner loans for those studying in US colleges and universities. More importantly, for international students, MPower provides scholarships, free immigration resources and career preparation resources.

MPower now has a network of over 350 US and Canadian institutions, and recognises student borrowers from over 190 countries.

Loan and Finance Companies #3: Prodigy Finance

Three INSEAD MBA students founded this company to make global education accessible through fintech. Today, over 20,000 masters students have used Prodigy Finance for their overseas studies; 80% come from emerging markets.

Borrowers can choose from 850 schools in 18 different countries. They only need to pay the loan six months after classes finish, and can enjoy flexible repayment terms between seven and 20 years.

Interestingly, you can track your payment from your mobile app, and pay early to save on interest without incurring any penalty. There is no required co-signer or collateral as well.

Loan and Finance Companies #4: Ascent

Ascent, the 2021 winner of the best international student loan with the lowest interest rates by Forbes Advisor, offers a wide variety of lending choices – with or without a co-signer (the latter is only for American citizens, Permanent Residents and those with a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status). Particularly for international students, these cosigned loans are available: undergraduate, and for graduates – MBA, Med, Dental, Law and General.

Depending on their credit history, applicants can borrow up to 100% for attendance costs and school-related expenses (up to US$200,000). You can decide to repay the loan up to nine months after graduating. Ascent – with a network of 2,200 US colleges – gives a 1% cashback reward upon graduation as well.

You may opt for the Progressive Repayment if you prefer to start with lower payments. At the same time, if you make 24 on-time consecutive payments and meet certain conditions, you can release your co-signer. 

Loan and Finance Companies #5: Discover

International graduate students can apply for a Discover loan with a creditworthy American cosigner for up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition fees, housing and books. The minimum loan amount is US$1,000.

Hardworking students who score 3.0 and above for the GPA are eligible for a one-time cash reward worth 1% of their loan. Every new successful loan qualifies you for this reward.

Discover also offers numerous other loans: undergraduate, health professions, residency, law school, bar exam, MBA, parent and private consolidation.

As always, be sure to check loan and finance companies’ websites for the latest details. We hope these loan and finance companies are able to give you a viable funding option for your future studies – all the best!