MPOWER Review: Borrowing Student Loans

Loans, Student Loans
MPOWER Review: Borrowing Student Loans

MPOWER Financing offers student loans for U.S. and international students from 192 countries who are attending college in the U.S. It is one of only a few lenders that offer student loans for international students without a co-signer.

The company’s founders both have experience as nontraditional borrowers — one as an international student and the other as a first-generation student. MPOWER is built to ease the challenge of finding financing in the U.S. for international borrowers.

Rather than focus on credit scores for loan approvals, MPOWER considers factors such as academic and employment track records as well as a student’s scholarships. Loans are available only to those who are two years from completing their studies, so it’s best for graduate students or undergraduates in their junior or senior years.

Before turning to private student loans, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA, to see if you’re eligible for grants, scholarships, work-study and federal student loans.


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At a glance

  • Fixed rates: 8.85% to 14.87% APR Variable rates: Not available
  • Available loan terms: 10 years
  • Eligible loan balances: $2,000 minimum and $50,000 maximum over the lifetime of a borrower; $25,000 a year maximum

 

Do you qualify?

RequirementsMinimum qualifications
Credit score Not required
IncomeIndividual future potential income is evaluated
Debt-to-income ratioIndividual future debt-to-income ratio is evaluated
EducationMust be enrolled in a program at a school MPOWER partners with, along with a graduation date within two years of borrowing

MPOWER’s average borrower is 29 years old, in graduate school and will take out a loan for $18,000 with an average annual percentage rate of 11% to 12%. The lowest APRs go to U.S. students enrolled in graduate studies. MPOWER offers an online eligibility form that lets you know quickly if you qualify for a loan. Your credit report will also be reviewed.

» COMPARE: Private student loan options

Repayment options

All borrowers must begin making payments 30 to 45 days after loan funds have been disbursed. After 24 months of smaller payments, full loan payments must be made. There is only a 10-year loan term available to borrowers.  

Where MPOWER student loans shine

Nontraditional qualifications: MPOWER requires no credit score, income amount, debt-to-income ratio, co-signer or collateral.

Available to international students: It could be beneficial for international students who would otherwise have to use a co-signer, put up collateral or pay extremely high interest rates. Students from 192 countries may be eligible. Countries sanctioned by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control aren’t eligible. MPOWER, upon request, can issue a letter to preapproved borrowers to help in the visa process.

Benefits promote financial independence: Loans provide the opportunity to build credit and also offer financial literacy and career benefits such as resume review, interview practice and the opportunity to connect to MPOWER’s network of professionals.

Where MPOWER student loans fall short

Limits eligibility by education level: Only students in the last two years of their program of study are eligible, so it’s not an option for students in their first two years.

Only one term option: It’s not ideal for borrowers who want the option of a shorter or longer repayment term, as there’s only a 10-year term available.

In-school payments required: Smaller payments must be made while a borrower is in school for two years; then full payment amounts are due. For a loan amount of $10,000, repaid over 10 years at an interest rate of 11.99%, the loan payment for the first 24 months would be $107.92. For the next 95 months, the monthly payment would be $169.28, and the final payment would be $169.14.

Loan details

  • Origination fee: 5% added to the loan balance
  • Late fee: $5 or 4% of the payment due
  • Prepayment or application fee: None
  • Loan servicing: FUTR
  • Deferment and forbearance: 12-month forbearance
  • Discounts: 0.25% discount for auto-pay, 0.25% discount for 24 consecutive, on-time payments
  • Credit pull: Hard credit check  

Next steps

Compare private student loan options to find the lender that’s best for you. If you’re ready to apply for a loan with MPOWER, first check your eligibility on its website. You’ll enter your school, degree, enrollment status, program start date, anticipated graduation date, citizenship status, loan amount and loan purpose. If you’re approved, you’ll fill out an application and upload documents.

To apply, have your:

  • Social Security number
  • Competency test scores, if required by your school
  • Desired career and career location after graduation
  • Employment history, additional income and outstanding debt
  • A personal reference (friend, relative or employer)

Anna Helhoski is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski