Finding a cosigner can be a bit tricky for international students. Your cosigner needs to meet certain requirements to get approval from a lender. A cosigner is important for securing a loan rapidly and at lower interest rates.
If you can’t find a cosigner, there are several alternatives that you can look into. Here’s what you should do if you can’t find a cosigner for your international student loan:
Consider No-Cosigner Loans:
You’ll find several lenders online who are willing to lend money to international students without a cosigner, but each uses unique criteria for approval. Your lender will look into your educational history, the career path you’ve chosen, and the expected date of your graduation.
Here are some of the top lenders for no-cosigner loans:
- Stilt: Stilt offers loans to immigrants in the U.S., and international students. Their loan process is quicker than a traditional lender. You’ll get approval within 24 hours once you meet the requirements and submit your loan application.
- MPOWER: To make up for the absence of a cosigner, MPOWER lends money only to international students who have high earning potential. The minimum interest rate on the loans is 7.99% as of June, 2021. MPOWER has strict eligibility criteria for potential borrowers. You must be attending an institution supported by MPOWER, and be in the last two years of your education to qualify for the loan.
- Prodigy Finance: Prodigy Finance is another company that lends money to international students with no cosigner. The downside of Prodigy Finance is that it’s limited to a few partner universities and majors. They focus mostly on international students attending MBA programs in the U.S.
- Ascent: Ascent offers two types of student loans: one based on credit, and another based on projected future income. As an international student, you won’t have a credit history; thus you should opt for the latter type of loan.
Look for Alternatives
Qualifying for a no-cosigner loan isn’t a cakewalk. As there’s no cosigner to guarantee the repayment of the loan, lenders set tough eligibility criteria to check the trustworthiness of the borrower. You can always consider alternatives if you don’t qualify for a no-cosigner loan. Here are a few other options to finance your studies in the U.S.:
Apply for a Scholarship or Grant
Scholarships or grants can be invaluable for financing your education. Seek advice from the financial aid office of your school. Most colleges have their own scholarship programs for international students.
Scholarships and grants have eligibility criteria too. Make sure you do your research or seek guidance from a professor or mentor to check if you’re eligible to apply for scholarships or grants.
Beware of scholarship scams. As an international student, you’re the prime target of these scammers. Make sure you check the credibility of the institution or person who’s granting you the scholarship.
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See If You Qualify for Federal Student Loans
Federal loans are available to students who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. However, depending on immigration status, some noncitizens may qualify for these loans too.
You may qualify for federal student loans if:
- You’re a U.S. national.
- You hold a T visa, or any of your parents has T-1 non-immigration status.
- You’re a citizen of Palau, Marshall Islands, or Micronesia.
- You’ve built your own credit.
You might still qualify for a cosigner loan if you have an exceptional credit history. Unfortunately, international students don’t have assets in the U.S. that could help them create a credit history. However, once you’re in the country you can start building your own credit.
The best way of doing this is by applying for a credit card. When you make a small purchase using the card and pay the balance on time, it will be reported to the credit bureaus. As long as you keep your credit card paid off, you can build a good credit score.
By building your own credit, you can qualify for an international student loan with a low interest rate without having to depend on a cosigner.
Look for Ways to Find a Cosigner
The fact is, for most international students, finding a cosigner is by far the easiest way to qualify for a loan with agreeable terms. If you’re unable to find a cosigner among your relatives and friends in the U.S., there are two other alternatives you can look into:
University Alumni Associations
Many universities have alumni associations that help international students secure loans. There are alumni who have been in your shoes that may offer to act as your cosigner. Make sure to demonstrate to them your commitment to your education and future career. Consult the alumni association at your school and check for options.
Online Cosigner Matchup
In the age of the internet, you can find anything online, be it a car, home, or gadget. This holds true for finding a cosigner as well. You can use websites like Cosigner Finder to search for a creditworthy person who is willing to act as the cosigner for your loan. These companies will charge you an additional fee to help you find a cosigner.
If scholarships and grants alone cannot finance your college education, a loan is your remaining option. While a cosigner can make securing a loan easier, it is not absolutely essential for every student. Look into the other options in this article carefully. Try to find a cosigner if you can, or take advantage of the no-cosigner loans available to you if not.
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