Tuition fees for study in the US can be expensive, so many international students choose to fund their studies with a bank loan. While it can be tempting to take out as big a loan as possible, you need to remember that all that money will need to be paid back – with interest.
Types of loan
There are two types of loan open to international students wanting to study in the United States:
- Student loans
- Personal loans
Student loans are bank loans designed purely for the purpose of studying. The terms of a student loan vary from country to country, but most student loans allow you to defer interest payments until you have graduated or even until you are in a job. The application criteria will normally involve you listing all your projected costs, and the loan will cover tuition fees and a portion of your living costs.
Personal loans are similar to bank loans in that you can use the money for whatever you feel like. However, the interest fees and terms of repayment will often be higher than that of a student loan. Payments on a personal loan cannot be deferred, so expect to start paying money back whiles still studying.
There are very few US-based loans that are available for international students – but there are a couple of ways you could still benefit from a US bank loan.
American passport holders or dual citizens can apply for a US federal loan through the FAFSA website, which offers some of the lowest interest rates around and have deferred interest payments.
International students can also apply for US bank loans if they know a creditworthy US citizen who is happy to co-sign the loan terms with them. These students should contact their university’s financial department to find out about local banks who offer student loans.