Eligibility Criteria For Non-US Citizens
For non-US citizens, the federal government has the following criteria:
- An individual must be a permanent resident or conditional permanent resident holding a green card or permanent resident card
- The individual holds an arrival-departure record with designations like asylum granted, Cuban Haitian entrant, humanitarian or indefinite parole, or refugee
- The individual should be the citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau
- The individual is the holder of United States nationality
- Holders of visas granted to victims of human trafficking like the T-Visa
- The Student or parent is a holder of T-1 nonimmigrant status or is a battered immigrant-qualified alien
Apply For Federal Loans If You’re Eligible
If you meet the eligibility criteria for federal loans, here’s how to apply. Submit the free application form for federal student aid, also known as FAFSA. When applying for FAFSA, you’re also liable to qualify for other free aids like scholarships, work-study, and grants. Moreover, federal loans have reduced interest rates compared to private loans, as well as forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment options.
Get A Private Loan Using A Cosigner
If borrowers fail to meet the eligibility criteria to get a loan, then they’ll need to look for a US cosigner to help obtain a private one. International students can be viewed as a risk since they come with no credit history in the US and might leave after completing their studies without repaying. Hence, they need to look for a US cosigner who’s a permanent resident of the US or a US citizen with a good credit history. The minimum credit score of the cosigner should be 690 or above.
Best Practices To Shop For An International Student Loan
Here are some of the best practices that you must follow before applying for a student loan:
- Compare private loans with other loans provided to international students to find the lowest interest rate
- Check to see if the lender is ready to postpone the payments during troubled times
- Check if you need to pay any prepayment fees, late fees, or origination fees
- Look for easy options to reach the lender through such as email, live chat, or phone. This is crucial for resolving any customer service or billing issues
- Try to opt for a fixed rate of interest. This won't increase in the future as a variable interest rate would
- Check the payment amount, terms, and conditions using a loan calculator
- Consider refinancing options by building a strong credit
- Go for refinancing with a cosigner
Even if you don’t meet the necessary requirements for a federal student loan, there are other great options that can help cover the cost of education. If chosen wisely, international students can settle on private loans to help further their studies in the US without having to stress about their financial circumstances.