International Student Loans Explained

There are a number of international student loans available if you want to study in the United States, or if you are an American student who wants to study abroad. Students who are not citizens of the United States, or are non-citizen permanent residents generally do not qualify for federal student loans, but they can take out private ones.

International Students

Borrowers are generally required to have a credit-worthy cosigner who is a United States citizen, or a non-citizen permanent resident. International students should only apply for student  loans after scholarships and personal funds have been exhausted. A cosigner with a good credit  history will help your rates. International student loans can be used for can be used for education-related expenses including  tuition, fees books, insurance, transportation and room and board. There are no application deadlines, so you can apply for a student loan at any time.

Loan Options

A Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan is suitable for a student who still needs funds after exhausting other sources of funds.  Students with this loan can borrow up to the entire cost of their education, minus other aid they receive. This loan allows students to save money, build credit, and pay off their loans. Applicants for this loan must  submit a copy of the front and back of their current Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-551 (Alien Registration Card).

Alternatively, students can submit a temporary CIS form I-551, a passport with “Temporary 551” stamp, or a Form I-90 (Application to replace Alien Registration Card), and a copy of the student’s passport. International students must submit one of the following: a student visa, a valid passport with photo. Students can submit a current CIS Form I-94, with any of the following classifications: public interest parolee (PIP), asylum status granted indefinitely, or refugee status granted indefinitely.

A student may also submit a current CIS Form I-688B or I-766 that gives the student the ability to work in the Unites States. If a student does not have a valid Social Security Number, the first loan application can be accepted with an “administrative SSN” that Sallie Mae will assign. it is preferred  that the student obtain a real social security number, but the administrative SSN can be used on all future loan applications.

Domestic Students

Domestic students may also apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan if they want to study abroad. Some of the eligibility criteria is similar with those for international students. You must be enrolled at least half time. Interest rates are based on you and your cosigner’s ability and credit score.

The cosigner might be released from this obligation after graduation. There are also point reductions for automatic debits, and for email communication. This loan also  provides quick decisions and no pre-payment penalty. Interest rates are reset monthly based on the LIBOR index. There are disbursement fees, but no repayment fees. Stafford loans are also available for students wanting to study abroad.


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