International Student Loans Lending and Repayment Options
July 1, 2020

International students have fewer student loan options to pay for U.S. institutions than citizens. That means unless you’re a qualifying non-citizen eligible for federal student loans you will likely need private loans. Repayment of international student loans has similar limitations as many U.S. lending institutions don’t refinance these loans. This article is worth the read if you’re an international student looking to pay for your U.S. education or if you’re looking for options to repay existing international student loans.


Who are international student loans for?


  • Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who are attending an eligible U.S. college or university.
  • U.S. students who have attended international institutions may have international loans.
  • International student loans are private education loans that can be used for education-related expenses. Examples include tuition, books, fees, insurance, transportation, room and board, etc.


How can I repay my existing international loans?


International loans are private loans that typically have high interest rates. Most borrowers want strategies to repay the debt quickly and minimize the interest. There are two ways to pay back your loans quickly and save interest. The first option is to refinance. Not all lenders refinance international student loans. The second option is to make extra payments on top of your required monthly payment.


Refinancing International Student Loans

Refinancing is the only way to lower your interest rate but, some lenders require a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Advantages of refinancing:

  • Can potentially lower the interest rate
  • Can combine multiple loans into one
  • Loans are already private which means no loss of benefits

Disadvantages of refinancing:

  • May require a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Limited number of companies refinance international loans


How to Access Private Loans

The lending & refinancing options available without U.S. citizenship are somewhat limited. Traditional lenders often require U.S. Citizenship, but some companies make loans with a valid visa or U.S. co-signer. Accessing these loans is similar to applying for other types of consumer loans like mortgage or auto loans.


Lenders consider the following eligibility factors for non-residents:

  • Qualifying minimum credit score
  • Whether you’re signing with a cosigner
  • Valid visa
  • Any work permits
  • Proof of employment or written job offers
  • U.S. bank account
  • U.S. personal phone number
  • Proof of residence in the U.S


Important Resources


International Education Financial Aid website


Lenders that don’t require U.S. co-signers


Additional financing options