What it is: Money that is borrowed and must be paid back, usually after completing an academic program
Criteria: Usually based on financial need
Who awards them: Banks in the U.S., banks in your home country, private loan programs
Applying for Student Loans
International students who wish to obtain a loan from a U.S. bank are usually required to have an eligible co-signer who will pay reimbursement fees should students fail to repay their loans. A co-signer is usually a U.S. citizen friend or family member who agrees to accept responsibility for repaying the loan if the student is unable to do it. Some colleges and universities will serve as a co-signer on behalf of their international students.
International students should also consider applying for loans offered by banks in their home country or by international loan programs.
Many U.S. schools will ask international students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to assess students’ financial need. Before filing a FAFSA, contact the U.S. school where you wish to study and ask how to apply for institutional aid.
Loan Tip: Use private loans only when federal loans, grants and other forms of financial aid do not cover the full cost of attendance.
Loan Programs for Non-U.S. Citizens
The International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) is an organization that partners with international student loan programs to provide students around the world with financial aid options to fund their education abroad. Their loan programs are for international students from anywhere in the world studying in the United States.
The Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund is an educational loan program of the Organization of American States. The fund provides interest-free loans to citizens from Latin America and Caribbean to finance their studies or research in American universities. The money helps students cover a portion of their tuition fees, living expenses, or emergencies.