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International Student Loans: Compare Options for 2019

Anna HelhoskiJune 10, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Private student loans will be the best option for international students since most cannot qualify for federal student loans.

Our picks for

International student loans without co-signer

Most international students don't have a U.S. credit history. Without finding a co-signer who does, these borrowers have few options.

MPOWER Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

Fixed APR

7.52-13.63%

Pros

  • Offers a hard-to-find option: non-co-signed student loans for international and DACA students.
  • Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.
  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer, and borrowers can access national disaster forbearance as well.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.
  • Offers only one repayment term: 10 years.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • MPOWER considers future income potential but does not factor in credit scores.
  • Loan amounts: Minimum $2,001. Maximum loan is $50,000, limited to $25,000 per academic period.

Available Term Lengths

  • 10 years
Prodigy Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

Variable APR

5.00-8.50%

Pros

  • Offers a hard-to-find option: non-co-signed student loans for international students.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • No late fees.

Cons

  • No fixed interest rates.
  • No formal deferment/forbearance options.
  • Not available to borrowers in all 50 states including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Prodigy Finance considers future income, rather than current income or credit score.
  • Loan amounts: Between 80% and 100% of the degree, depending on the program and school.

Available Term Lengths

  • 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Our picks for

International student loans with co-signer

The lenders below accept applications for eligible noncitizens who have a U.S. co-signer.

Ascent Private Student Loans
Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Fixed APR

4.55-13.77%

Variable APR

4.14-13.13%

Min. Credit Score

600

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders.
  • You can make biweekly payments via autopay.
  • For co-signed option, multiple in-school repayment options are available, including interest-only, flat-fee and deferred.
  • For non-co-signed option, no co-signer or credit history is required.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment term lengths than other lenders for fixed-rate loans.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Non-co-signed option is only available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose for co-signed option. For non-co-signed option, Ascent emphasizes future earnings over income or credit score.
  • Minimum income: $24,000 for co-signed option.
  • Loan amounts: For co-signed option, $2,000 minimum to $200,000 over the lifetime of a borrower. The amount for each loan period cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. For non-co-signed option, $2,000 to total cost of attendance.
  • Non-co-signed borrowers must maintain 2.5 GPA or higher.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 10 or 15 for cosigned option or 10 or 15 for non-co-signed option

Disclaimer: 6 Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 07/01/2019 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

Discover Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Discover's website

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Fixed APR

5.24-12.99%

Variable APR

3.87-11.87%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.
  • Above-average customer support compared with other lenders.
  • No late fees.

Cons

  • Only one repayment term: 15 years.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 660+.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance, minus other financial aid.

Available Term Lengths

  • 15 years

Disclaimer: Lowest rates shown are for undergraduate loans and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest interest rate offered on the Discover undergraduate loan and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including Undergraduate, Graduate, Health Professions, Law and MBA Loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable Margin percentage. The margin is based on your credit evaluation at the time of application and does not change. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 2.50% as of July 1, 2019. Discover Student Loans will adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the "interest rate change date"), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Please click here for more information about interest rates.

Earnest Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Fixed APR

5.09-12.78%

Variable APR

3.99-11.44%

Min. Credit Score

650

Pros

  • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
  • No late fees.
  • Nine-month grace period is longer than most lenders offer.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Loans aren't available in Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Virginia, Delaware, Ohio or Texas.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Minimum income: $35,000.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Fixed APR

5.49-11.85%

Variable APR

4.25-11.35%

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.
  • Provides above-average customer support compared with other lenders.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Information not available on minimum qualifying credit scores or income.
Read full review

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 748.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Available Term Lengths

  • 5 to 15 years

Disclaimer: 1 Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount. Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You’re charged interest starting at disbursement, while in school, during your separation/grace period, and until the loan is paid in full. The repayment option that is selected will apply during the in-school and separation/grace periods. When you enter principal and interest repayment, Unpaid Interest will be added to your loan’s Current Principal. 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 are valid as of 05/28/2019 and assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans. Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The rate reduction 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. This benefit may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. 2 Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. 3 This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a fixed rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.88% fixed APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $162.06 and one payment of $120.23, for a Total Loan Cost of $20,680.37.

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Summary of International Student Loans: Compare Options for 2019

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

7.52-13.63%

N/AN/A
Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

Prodigy Private Student Loan

Prodigy Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

N/A

5.00-8.50%

N/A
Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

Ascent Private Student Loans

Ascent Private Student Loans

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

4.55-13.77%

4.14-13.13%

600

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

4.90-12.19%

3.89-11.76%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Discover Private Student Loan

Discover Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.24-12.99%

3.87-11.87%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Earnest Private Student Loan

Earnest Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

5.09-12.78%

3.99-11.44%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

5.49-11.85%

4.25-11.35%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

5.94-11.96%

5.04-10.93%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
MPOWER Private Student Loan

MPOWER Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

7.52-13.63%

N/AN/A
Check Rate

on MPOWER's website

Prodigy Private Student Loan

Prodigy Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

N/A

5.00-8.50%

N/A
Check Rate

on Prodigy's website

Ascent Private Student Loans

Ascent Private Student Loans

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

4.55-13.77%

4.14-13.13%

600

Check Rate

on Ascent's website

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

4.90-12.19%

3.89-11.76%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Discover Private Student Loan

Discover Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Discover's website

5.24-12.99%

3.87-11.87%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Discover's website

Earnest Private Student Loan

Earnest Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

5.09-12.78%

3.99-11.44%

650

Check Rate

on Earnest's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

5.49-11.85%

4.25-11.35%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

5.94-11.96%

5.04-10.93%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

Who is an eligible noncitizen?

  • U.S. nationals, including natives of American Samoa or Swains Island.
  • U.S. permanent residents; that is, you have a "green card.”
  • Those who have an Arrival-Departure Record from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showing the following statuses: refugee; asylum granted; Cuban-Haitian Entrant; Conditional Entrant issued before April 1, 1980; or parolee.
  • Those who hold a T-nonimmigrant status, or those whose parents do.
  • Those who are “battered immigrant-qualified aliens,” or children of someone designated as such.

Last updated on June 10, 2019

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's International Student Loans: Compare Options for 2019