If you’re a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-U.S. citizen and want take out a student loan for your studies abroad, you have two main options: take out a federal student loan, or take out a loan from a private lender.
What will you need for an international student loan? Here are the general requirements to be eligible for a federal student loan or a private student loan:
General Requirements for a Federal Student Loan
For a federal student loan, you must be enrolled for a least a half-time course load in your program. To compute for your financial need, you need to complete the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
If you’re a male aged 18 and 25 years old, you must also be registered with Selective Service to be eligible to apply for a federal student loan.
Other general requirements for a federal student loan are listed below:
- Financial Need – To qualify for Direct Subsidized Loans, you must demonstrate a financial need. Your financial need is based on the calculation from FAFSA.
Your financial need is determined by getting the difference between your family’s contribution and the estimated cost of your studies.
- Citizenship – In the United States, you must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-U.S. citizen to qualify for a federal student loan.
- Enrolment in a Program – The program you’ll be taking should be a recognized and accredited program before you can be eligible to apply for a loan.
- Social Security Number – You must have a valid Social Security Number. In the US, your Social Security Number can be based on the territories of the country.
- Academic Qualifications – Federal student loans are often, if not exclusively, granted to students who are able to demonstrate academic abilities by maintaining the minimum required grades. Getting a grade that is lower than the minimum grade set by your institution, may result in having your federal student loan cut off.
- Requirements and Qualifications for Program – To apply for your current program, you must present documents and requirements to show that you are qualified to enroll. These include your high school diploma or an equivalent.
General Requirements for a Private Loan for Students
With international student loans from private lending institutions, the eligibility requirements vary per institution. Not all private student loan lenders have the same set of requirements.
Generally, the following are the requirements to be eligible to apply for a private student loan:
- Enrolment in a Program – To get a private student loan, you must be enrolled in any program in any institution. Although it’s important to note that some private lenders only cater to students in a particular institution.
- Demographic Requirements – Depending on your lender, you may be required to be a citizen of the country you’ll be studying in, or you must be at least 18 years old before you can apply for a loan.
- Credit History – You may not be approved for a private student loan if you have a low credit score and bad credit history. You may want to consider getting a consignor in this case, but some lenders may not require you to get one regardless of your credit score.
- Income – One of the ways a lender determines your ability to repay is to get your income-to-debt ratio. Basically, you must have sufficient income so the lender can know that you are able to repay the loan.
Student loans can be a life-changing decision that may cause gaps in your future finances. Don’t make rushed decisions about an international student loan until you’ve done extensive research. Check out our articles here at MSM Unify for more information on the process of taking out a student loan and how to pay it post-graduation.