Private education loans offered by private banks and other companies are credit-based. Students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents or foreign students can apply for private education loans as an alternative to borrowing federal student loans. Foreign students are required to provide a qualified US citizen or permanent resident co-signer. The loan’s approval and its interest rate will depend on the student’s and co-borrower’s credit history. Those applicants with strong, favorable credit histories and equally favorable credit scores will receive a more favorable interest rate and lower fees on their loan. Therefore, although students who are US citizens or permanent residents may not be required to provide a qualified co-signer, the student will most likely receive more favorable terms depending on their co-signer’s credit history and score.
Although the Financial Aid Office has provided a list of loan options for borrowers, realize that students are not required to use any of these and can select to use any lender of their choice. Recognize that the terms that lenders offer on their loan products can change at any point therefore it is best to visit the lender’s website for the most up-to-date information on their loan products. Keep in mind that not all private education loan lenders will allow foreign students to apply for their loans. Our list of options includes those lenders that currently enrolled students have used in recent years.
The co-signer should realize that, when acting as a co-signer, their credit history and score are carefully reviewed by the lender. Upon the loan’s approval, the co-signer’s credit history is updated to reflect that they have co-signed a loan on the student’s behalf. The co-borrower is usually responsible for payment of the loan should the primary borrower (the student) not repay the loan for any reason. Both the student and co-borrower should carefully review the lender’s policies.
Although borrowing a private education loan may provide a better interest rate and lower fees compared to federal student loans, students and co-signers should be aware that lenders have strict credit standards. Additionally, private education loans may not provide the same deferment and forbearance options or loan forgiveness that some of the federal loan repayment options currently have. Co-signers may not feel comfortable co-signing a loan depending on their own personal financial circumstances. For these reasons, foreign students are advised to have at least 2 qualified co-signers available to them when applying for a private education loan. The co-signers need to be “sustainable” meaning that they must be willing to act as a co-signer on the student’s behalf throughout the student’s expected enrollment as long as the student requires access to private education loans.
We encourage students review the Guide to Supplemental Loans so they may make an informative choice before borrowing private education loans.
Private Education Loan Options
Discover Health Professions Loan – (877) 728-3030
Wells Fargo MedCap Loan Program – (800) 378-5526
Salliemae Smart Option Loan Program – (888) 272-5543
The Citizens Bank TruFit Student Loan – (800) 708-6684
MPOWER Financing Student Loan – firstname.lastname@example.org
While this loan does not require a co-signer for foreign students, this product is only available to students in the final 2 years of their academic program.