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Thursday, November 7, 2013

How international students can access private student loans

International students have access to a wide range of funding options
Work study programs finance college and build experience
By Carman Navaro

Earning a college degree is important, but it’s also expensive. Because of the high cost of tuition, many students are forced to take out student loans in order to pay for college. Some of these loan programs are government funded while others are funded through private organizations.

As an international student, accessing loans can be difficult. Most loan programs want to keep their money in their own respective country and are not willing to provide funding for an international education. But just because finding the funding is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. The following are a few ways that international students can access private student loans to start their education.

Check with your local banks or financial institutions

It’s important for you to talk with a professional when it comes to retrieving a student loan. Visit your bank or local financial institution to see if they have any programs that could help you. They may be able to provide you with a private student loan, but you may have a higher interest rate or may have to start paying the loan back sooner. Although this may not be exactly what you wanted, it could end up being your only option to finance your international education.

If you do have to pay the loan back sooner, try to get your monthly payment down as much as you can by stretching the length of your loan. For example, taking out a 72-month loan will give you a smaller payment than a 24-month loan. Although you’ll end up paying more in interest, it will make it easier for you to pay back every month while you’re in school.

Check with your school

Many US schools know there’s a crunch on financing for students, so some have offered to help by providing loans to their foreign students. Ask the financial department of your college or university if they offer a program or service that could help you.

In some cases, schools are willing to give loans to students on their own. In other cases, the school will require you to have an American co-signer. If you have someone in the states that could help you, this could be a great option.

Many schools also offer work-study programs that could help cut the cost of tuition. For example, students will be given a job on campus or off campus that fits in with their schedule and educational goals. The student can then use the money they earn from the work study program to pay for your tuition or to help cover the cost of books or other necessities.

Get creative

If you’re having trouble finding a traditional loan, you could always get creative and find another way to earn the money. You could ask friends and family members for loans to help you out, or you could turn to the power of the Internet. Websites such as Greennote.com can help you ask friends, family and even strangers to help earn your tuition.

Try for a scholarship

Scholarships can be a great way to fund your education. InternationalScholarships.com is a website that will help international students find scholarships that could help them ease the burden of paying for school. Scholarships do not have to be paid back, making them one of the best ways to fund your education. Be sure to apply for as many as you want in order to give yourself the best shot at decreasing the cost of your education.

Although many lenders are hesitant to provide funding to international students, there are a few things you can do to help give you a better shot at earning a loan. Make sure that you provide documentation of yourself, your financial history, and your acceptance letter. You should also be willing to have your student visa too to prove that you are definitely attending school for educational purposes. Create a plan for repayment of the loan, and provide these documents to the lender to show that you are willing to be responsible for the repayment of your education. There’s no guarantee this action will work, but it certainly won’t hurt.

About the author: Carman Navaro is a bilingual student adviser. Carman utilizes her skills and training to assist international students with complex documentation.

Image license: Smartphotostock.com

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