international student loans usa without cosigner

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

To get a student loan for studying abroad, you will need to have a co-signer. It is the same as getting a private student loan in the USA. A cosigner is someone who signs on to your loan and becomes legally responsible for paying it back. The cosigner’s credit score affects whether or not they are eligible to be a cosigner. You can apply for student loans without a cosigner if you have no credit history or bad credit. If you’re an international student looking for an international student loan, then Sallie Mae has a great program that allows students to get an international student loan without a co-signer! In this post, we explore all you need to know about international student loans usa without cosigner, how to get a student loan, sallie mae international student loans, international student loans for african students and student loan cosigner requirements.

Student Loans for International Students | eduPASS

One of the first things that people think when they hear about international student loans is that they are not good or safe options. This is not true! There are many different types of loans available, and some are better than others. The best way to find out which one works best for you is by researching them all and comparing them side by side before making a decision about which one is best for you personally based on your circumstances like age, income level etc.. It doesn’t matter if your parents are willing or able cosigners because there are other options available besides cosigners such as co-signing agreements with other family members who may be more financially stable which could help improve both yours and their credit scores if approved. Read on to know more on international student loans usa without cosigner, how to get a student loan, sallie mae international student loans, international student loans for african students and student loan cosigner requirements.

international student loans usa without cosigner

We begin with international student loans usa without cosigner, then, how to get a student loan, sallie mae international student loans, international student loans for african students and student loan cosigner requirements.

In the United States, a cosigner is someone who will become responsible for loan payments if the borrower is unable to repay them. It is added security for lenders and makes them more likely to approve you for a student loan.

But what if you are looking for an international student loan but don’t have a cosigner? Fortunately, there are both federal and private international student loans available without a cosigner.

Federal Student Loans for International Students Without Cosigners

All federal student loans do not require (or accept) cosigners.

The bigger problem that international students face is meeting the eligibility requirements for federal loans.

Only qualified noncitizens are eligible for federal student loans, including:

  1. U.S. nationals (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island).
  2. U.S. permanent residents with a green card.
  3. Those who have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following statuses: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Conditional Entrant (issued before April 1, 1980), or Parolee.
  4. Those who hold a T nonimmigrant status or whose parent holds a T-1 nonimmigrant status.
  5. Those who are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien” or the child of one.

You can apply for federal student loans by filling out the FAFSA. This will also determine your eligibility for other forms of federal financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

Below are the types of federal student loans you may be eligible for. Note that all federal student loans have origination fees. You can see current rates and fees here.

1) Direct Subsidized Loans

These loans provide students with flexible repayment terms along with low, fixed interest rates. These loans are provided to students based on their financial need, and the government pays the accrued interest while students are in school and during the grace period (6 month period after leaving school when payments aren’t yet due).

2) Direct Unsubsidized Loans

Contrary to the subsidized loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available for all students regardless of financial need. The government does not, however, pay accrued interest while students are in school or during any other time. These loans do have the same low interest and many repayment options, though.

3) Direct PLUS Loans

These loans are available to graduate students (Grad PLUS Loans) and parents of students (Parent PLUS Loans). Interest rates are higher than the other two types of loans but there are multiple repayment plans available.

Private Student Loans for International Students Without Cosigners

If you are ineligible for federal student loans, don’t be discouraged!

There are also private student loans for international students that don’t require a cosigner.

It’s important to note that private student loans aren’t eligible for federal student loan benefits such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness.

Here are three online lenders designed specifically for international students without cosigners:

1) Stilt

Stilt’s loans are specifically designed for international students and others who may have difficulty obtaining a private or federal loan in the US. Stilt lends to immigrants, including international students and DACA holders, who can’t get a cosigner.

Stilt’s loans have competitive interest rates starting at 7.99% and the loan process is very quick—you can get a decision within 24 hours after completing an application. The funds can be in your account as quickly as 1 business day after the promissory note is signed.

Stilt doesn’t partner with universities, so you are eligible to apply irrespective of the university you attend. Stilt is also the only option if you want to refinance your international student loan without a cosigner.

Another benefit of Stilt’s loans is that they can help you build your credit score.


Like Stilt, MPOWER Financing also focuses on international students. To make up for the lack of cosigners, however, MPOWER tends to give loans to students they feel have high earning potential.

MPOWER partners with universities and provides loans only for a few majors. To be qualify for MPOWER, you should be attending an eligible school supported by MPOWER and be in the last 2 years of your education.

Interest rates start at 11.99% and the loans have repayment periods up to 10 years. Because of this, it can be difficult for undergraduate students and students at lower-tier universities to qualify.

On average, it takes 3 weeks for an end-to-end process with MPOWER, and the funds are disbursed directly to the school.

3) Prodigy Finance

Another international student loan company is Prodigy Finance. They have seen great success and hope to grow tremendously in the future. The downside, though, is that they have tough qualification guidelines.

The list of partner universities and majors is limited. Prodigy is focused on loans to international students who attend Master’s programs. They only offer loans to students at the highest-ranked universities and even restrict the areas of study that they will cover.

The loans are originated from a U.K.-based entity, and the repayments are not reported to credit bureaus in the U.S., so they can’t help build your credit score.

Other Financial Aid Options for International Students

For many international students, getting private student loans (like the ones above) ends up being the only option that they have. In some cases, though, you may be eligible for other financial aid options.

Here are two additional ways for international students to get financial aid outside of student loans:

Private & Academic Scholarships

A great option for students of all backgrounds is scholarships. There are scholarships for almost every type of person and skill, and some are complete luck!

A simple Google search will pull up hundreds of scholarships, and the more you apply for, the better chance you have at getting money.

Even if you get a great loan, scholarships offer a huge advantage: you will never have to repay them. No matter the size, scholarships can help all students, regardless of the method they use to pay their tuition.

Family & Personal Savings

When it comes to college tuition, paying what you can upfront can save you a lot in the long run.

It may require some sacrifice, but any payments that you can make on your own throughout your time in college will reduce the amount of debt you have to take on.

Why Do International Students Often Need Cosigners?

After reading about the difficulty of finding a cosigner above, you may be wondering whether or not you need one? Can you get a loan without a cosigner?

There are many criteria for obtaining a student loan, whether it is a federal loan or a private loan, many of which are more difficult for international students to meet.

Low/no credit score & credit history

As with a cosigner, an international student loan will require you to show an excellent credit score and a long credit history in the US.

This is obviously very difficult for international students, as college is often their first time in the US for an extended period of time.

Even if you began building credit in college, it would likely not have enough time to grow during your time there that you would be eligible for an international private student loan without a cosigner.

Students have very little income

Most students don’t have substantial income during college because they aren’t yet eligible for high-paying jobs and because they don’t have time to work that much while taking classes. Because of this, most college students don’t meet the income requirements for private lenders.

Very high-interest rates

If you are barely able to meet the requirements above but have no cosigner, the lender will make up for this insecurity by charging you a much higher interest rate.

Although it’s great to be able to qualify on your own, a high interest rate means your loan can be very expensive. A qualified cosigner can help you get a lower rate.

How Can an International Student Find a Loan Cosigner?

After reading the beginning of this article, you may have come to the conclusion that it is both helpful and very difficult to find someone to obtain a cosigned loan.

Below you will find the most common ways to find an international student loan cosigner in the US:

Have friends or family cosign

If you are planning to attend a university in the United States, it might be because you have close family or friends living there.

If this is the case, and they are a US citizen or permanent resident with good credit, they may be willing to sign for your loan.

Family and friends are the most commonly used cosigners in the US, for both permanent residents and international students.

Check with university alumni associations

Some universities have programs in place to help international students with the dilemma of getting a loan with a cosigner.

Alumni who may have been in your shoes before and are now established in the US offer to cosign private loans for students who show commitment and academic promise.

It is worth it to check for this option when choosing your university.

Use an online loan cosigner matchup

In this day and age, whether it’s a home, book, or significant other, you can find almost anything online. This also holds true for loan cosigners.

You can certainly do your search on any social media platform, but there are also websites like Cosigner Finder that will help you find a willing and able international student loan cosigner.

The internet can be a great resource—but be careful! Do not give any personal information to an untrusted party. Also, note that websites like this may charge additional fees.

Requirements for Cosigners on International Student Loans

While the concept is simple, finding a loan cosigner can be very difficult, especially for an international student; not just anyone can cosign a loan.

A qualified cosigner can be difficult to find because private lenders will require that they meet certain criteria. The most common and important requirements are that your cosigner:

1) Have a Good Credit Score and Credit History

The point of having a cosigner is to provide additional security on the loan, so the cosigner must prove that they will make the payments if need be. The proof that lenders look to is credit history and credit score.

2) Be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident

The second thing you need in an international student loan cosigner is US citizenship, which is usually the most challenging criteria for international students.

3) Have a Stable Source of Income

Lastly, your cosigner must be able to show a stable source of good income. Lenders will usually ask for recent pay stubs to prove that the cosigner will be able to make payments.

4) Be Willing to Cosign a Loan on Your Behalf

The last element of an eligible cosigner is much simpler, yet can still add difficulty to your search. Even if you have found a perfect cosigner—who meets the criteria above—he or she may not be willing to sign on your behalf.

Cosigners are taking a risk because their credit can be hurt if the borrower fails to make the necessary payments on the loan. Many people are not willing to take this risk, even if they are a close friend.

Bottom Line on International Student Loans Without Cosigners

As an international student, loan options will be hard to come by in the U.S., especially if you don’t have a cosigner. But that doesn’t mean that you have no options. Armed with the information above, you should be able to secure a loan and make the most of your education in the U.S.!

how to get a student loan

Next, we review how to get a student loan, sallie mae international student loans, international student loans for african students and student loan cosigner requirements.


  • To apply for federal loans for college, students and parents need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
  • Federal student loans come in two basic types: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are more affordable, if you qualify.
  • Other loan sources include federal PLUS loans for parents and private loans from banks and other lenders.
  • Payments and interest on student loans from federal agencies has been suspended until early 2022.

Step 1: Fill Out the FAFSA

The first step in applying for student loans is to fill out the government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA asks a series of questions about the student’s and parents’ income and investments, as well as other relevant matters such as whether the family will have more than one child in college at the same time. Based on the information you supply, the FAFSA will calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). That’s the amount of money the government believes you should be able to pay for college for the coming school year out of your own financial resources.

You can complete the FAFSA online at the office of the Federal Student Aid website.1 To save time, round up all of your account information before you sit down to start work on it. You must not only complete the FAFSA when you first apply for aid but every year after that if you hope to continue receiving aid.

Have you Been Asked to Cosign a Loan? Read This First - San Diego Financial  Literacy Center

Step 2: Compare Your Financial Aid Offers

The financial aid offices at the colleges you apply to will use the information from your FAFSA to determine how much aid to make available to you. They compute your need by subtracting your EFC from their cost of attendance (COA). Cost of attendance includes tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and some other expenses. It can be found on most colleges’ websites.

In order to bridge the gap between your EFC and their COA, colleges will put together an aid package that may include federal Pell Grants and paid work-study, in addition to loans. Grants, unlike loans, do not need to be paid back, except in rare instances. They are intended for students with what the government considers “exceptional financial need.”

Award letters can differ from college to college, so it’s important to compare them side by side. In terms of loans, you’ll want to look at how much money each school offers and whether the loans are subsidized or unsubsidized.

Direct subsidized loans, like grants, are meant for students with exceptional financial need. The advantage of subsidized student loans is that the U.S. Department of Education will cover the interest while you’re still at least a half-time student and for the first six months after you graduate.2

Direct unsubsidized loans are available to families regardless of need, and the interest will start accruing immediately.

Payments and interest on these loans was suspended in 2020 during the economic crisis, with both resuming in mid-2022.

If you qualify, a college might offer you both subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Federal loans have a number of advantages over student loans from banks and other private lenders. They have relatively low, fixed interest rates (private loans often have variable rates) and offer a variety of flexible repayment plans

The confusingly-named Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be renamed the Student Aid Index (SAI) in July 2023 to clarify its meaning. It does not indicate how much the student must pay the college. It is used by the school to calculate how much student aid the applicant is eligible to receive.

However, the amount you can borrow is limited. For example, most first-year undergraduates can only borrow up to $5,500, of which no more than $3,500 can be in subsidized loans. There are also limits on how much you can borrow in total over the course of your college career.

If you need to borrow more than that, one option is a federal Direct PLUS Loan. PLUS loans are intended for the parents of undergraduates (as well as for professional and graduate students). PLUS loans have higher limits—up to the full cost of attendance minus any other aid the student is receiving—and are available regardless of need. However, the parent borrower must generally pass a credit check to prove their creditworthiness.

Step 3: Consider Private Student Loans

Another option if you need to borrow more money than federal student loans can provide is to apply for a private loan from a bank, credit union, or other financial institution.

Private loans are available regardless of need, and you apply for them using the financial institution’s own forms rather than the FAFSA. To obtain a private loan, you will need to have a good credit rating or get someone who does have one, such as a parent or other relative, to cosign on the loan.

Having less-than-stellar credit can make it difficult to qualify for student loans. Private lenders will consider your income and credit history, and as a college student, you likely have poor credit or no credit at all. However, some lenders offer student loan options for borrowers with bad credit.

Generally, private loans carry higher interest rates than federal loans, and these rates are variable rather than fixed, which adds some uncertainty to the question of how much you’ll eventually owe. Private loans also lack the flexible repayment plans available with federal loans and are not eligible for loan consolidation under the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program. However, you can refinance your private loans after you graduate, possibly at a lower interest rate.

Each college will notify you of how much aid it is offering around the same time that you receive your official acceptance. This is often referred to as an award letter. In addition to federal aid, colleges may make money available out of their own funds, such as merit or athletic scholarships.

Step 4: Choose Your School

How much you’ll have to borrow to attend one college versus another may not be the most important factor in choosing a college. But it should definitely be high on the list. Graduating from college with an unmanageable amount of debt—or, worse still, taking on debt and not graduating—is not only a burden that might keep you up at night; it can limit—or even derail—your career and life choices for years to come. Also factor in the future careers you are considering when you choose to pay more for college. A career with a high entry-level salary will put you in a better position to repay your loans and justify taking on more debt.

sallie mae international student loans

Now, we find out sallie mae international student loans, international student loans for african students and student loan cosigner requirements.

Borrow responsibly
We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.

1. You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2019/20 school year who were approved when they returned in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

2. Sallie Mae loans are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. This loan is available to students at participating schools and is not intended for students pursuing a graduate degree. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. The borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment. 

3. Base cash back is earned at a rate of 1.5%. Accelerate cardmembers will earn a 33 1/3% bonus on rewards redeemed to help pay down a student loan (Bonus Rewards) which gives you a total cash back value of 2% on the amount redeemed. For example, if you redeem $100 in Rewards to pay a student loan, you will earn an additional $33.33 in Bonus Rewards, which will be included as part of the student loan payment, resulting in a total payment of $133.33 toward your student loan. Bonus Rewards only apply on reward amounts redeemed to help pay down a student loan. The reward redemption amount may not satisfy the loan payments due to your lender and you are responsible for meeting the specific payment terms of your loan.

The Sallie Mae Ignite, Sallie Mae Accelerate, and Sallie Mae Evolve credit cards are issued by Sallie Mae Bank pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard and World Mastercard are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Sallie Mae loans are made by Sallie Mae Bank.

Information advertised valid as of 5/25/2022.


international student loans for african students

International Student Loans for Nigerian Students in the USA and Canada

Many Nigerians come to the United States as international students to earn their undergraduate or graduate degree. This is not an easy process especially as the cost of an international education in the US can be quite expensive – and continues to rise year after year.

The same can be said for those international students wishing to study at a university in Canada.

One option to help international students afford their education is a student loan which can cover up to the total cost of your education minus any financial aid received. The loan amount must be certified by your school.

How To Get An International Student Loan

International Student Loans for Nigerian Students

The cost of studying in the USA is an issue for any international student. For private colleges, it can be as high at $75 thousand dollars a year and for public schools it’s around 50k annually. Federal loans are popular among US based students but they aren’t available to Nigerian or other foreign citizens – instead they can apply for an International Student Loan.

If you are interested in a student loan to study in the USA or Canada, start your research with our Student Loan comparison tool that will match you with a list of lenders specific to your school. Simply use the tool above and follow these three steps:

  1. Choose your citizenship and school, and click “Compare Student Loans”
  2. Review your list of lenders and compare terms
  3. Select the student loan that meets your needs and start the online application

Our student loan comparison tool allows you to compare basic terms and choose the loan that’s right for you. Then, apply online and get initial approval within weeks!Tip

Make sure to research your lenders before applying in order to find the loan that best suits your needs. Compare interest rates, repayment options and enrollment requirements before choosing a lender.


To qualify for a loan international students must attend an eligible school in the US or Canada. You must also be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student and pursue a degree, certificate, or license.

Co-Signer Required for Most Applicants

Most Nigerian students need a cosigner to apply for an international student loan. The cosigner must be a US citizen or permanent resident, with good credit and who has lived in the USA for the past 2 years. Learn more about how to find a cosigner. If you do not have a cosigner you can use the loan comparison tool to see if a no cosigner loan is available at your school.

Loans that do not require a cosigner for Nigerian students are available at an increasing number of US schools and in Canada – use the Loan Comparison Tool to find out if your school is on the list.

What Student Loans Cover

International students can apply for a loan for up to their school’s total cost of attendance, as determined by the school, minus any other aid received. Total cost of attendance includes tuition, room and board, and expenses related to education such as books and transportation, as well as living expenses. All of our international student loans offer:

  • No collateral required
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Online application

Education Loan Programs in Canada for Nigerian Students:

Students from Nigeria studying at eligible Canadian universities may find loan programs availalabe to them. In most cases a co-signer is not required when studying in Canada.

Like all private education loans, students in Canada can use the funds to cover part of or their entire tuition fee, as well as living expenses and school-related costs, medical insurance and travel costs.

How to apply:

The application process for international student loans is quite simple.

  1. Check your eligibility: Using the loan comparison tool on this page – this takes 10 seconds and will show you if any companies are able to lend to a student in your position.
  2. Application: If you are matched with a lender you can then proceed with your application. The application process doesn’t take long even if you are a non-US citizen. You will need to submit the necessary documents and paperwork to the loan company and they will decide whether you are approved or not.
  3. Documentation: These are the most common documents you will need to provide your lender. You may be asked to provide other documents if needed.
    • Identification proof
    • Proof of residence
    • Academic records
    • Valid passport & Visa
    • Proof of admission to your university
    • Extra-curricular certificates if appropriate
  4. Approval: Once your application is conditionally approved, you will be notified of the interest rates (fixed or variable rate) and repayment terms. Once you agree with the terms, your loan application will be approved and funds disbursed. This usually takes around 6 weeks. You should go through the terms and conditions multiple times before making any decisions. It can be very confusing to understand. If you have any doubts, consult an expert before signing to accept your funds.

student loan cosigner requirements

Cosigners for student loans typically need a good credit score, stable income, be in good health and be willing to help you if you are unable to meet your loan payments.

1. Credit History of Cosigner

After the financial and credit crisis of 2008, it became more difficult to qualify for unsecured consumer credit. In the case of private student loans, most borrowers will need a cosigner who has a favorable credit history and a reliable source of income. Your cosigner should have a low debt to income (DTI) ratio, as well as a history of making payments on time.

There are frequently student loan cosigner minimum credit score requirements.  Lenders are more likely to approve your loan if your cosigner’s credit score is 720 or higher. If your cosigner has a credit score between 680 and 720, he or she may still be able to help you secure a loan, but the interest rate will probably be higher.

2. Stability

Along with a good credit history, lenders will also look at the stability of your cosigner. This includes job history, as well as the length of time your cosigner has lived in his or her home.

You’ll want to choose someone who has worked for the same company for at least a year, if not longer, and has verifiable income. The longer he or she has lived in the area, and maintained a steady income, the better your chances are of securing a private student loan.

3. Good Health

Believe it or not, the age and health of your cosigner does matter. Maybe not so much to the lender, but it should be something you take into consideration. If you choose a cosigner who is in poor health, or over the age of 65, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise later on.

Why? Some lenders include a clause in your student loan agreement that allows them to demand your loan be paid in full upon the death of your cosigner. Or worse, the lender could place your loan in default, even though you have made all your payments on time.

This can happen automatically, without any notice, and effectively ruin your credit.

International Student Loan In Canada 2021: A Complete Guide | xScholarship

4. Relationship to Student Loan Cosigner

You may think that your parents are the only ones who can cosign a loan for you, but that is not the case. Other relatives, including siblings and cousins, as well as a friend or a spouse, may act as your cosigner. Basically, anyone with a good credit history and the willingness to help you could act as your cosigner.

Just remember that this is a binding contract. If you fail to make your payments or default, you run the risk of not only ruining your credit and your cosigner’s, but also destroying your relationship.

It might be a good idea to draft a contract prior to asking someone to act as your cosigner. You could include specific details about how you plan to repay the debt, such as setting up automatic payments, as well as a clause that states you will reimburse any missed payments and/or fees covered over the life of the loan.

It’s not required, but it may give your cosigner some peace of mind. Finally, don’t forget to thank your cosigner for helping you out. It’s a serious commitment to make and one that should not be taken lightly.

When you apply for a cosigner release, you are proving to the lender that you can afford the payments on your own. Therefore, in addition to meeting all of the above criteria, students applying for cosigner release should ideally have good credit. You might also consider asking a parent or another close relative to be your cosigner so that you can get money when the time comes.

We hope the information provided in this article helps you with your journey of getting an overseas student loan. If you are still overwhelmed with all the documentation that is needed, don’t worry. These student loans may come from banks and credit unions but applying for them is much like applying for a student loan here at home, so it’s much easier than you think.

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