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MPOWER Student Loans Review: Private and International Loans

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MPOWER Review: Borrowing Student Loans

MPOWER Financing offers student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. MPOWER may not be the best fit for most borrowers since its interest rates are higher than other private loans. But it is a good option for international students and students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status.

MPOWER is one of the few lenders to offer loans to international and DACA students, who comprise 90% of its borrowers. MPOWER was founded by two men with experience as nontraditional borrowers — one as an international student and the other as a first-generation student. The company lends to students from 180 countries who attend college in the U.S.

Since most international borrowers do not have a U.S. credit history, MPOWER considers borrowers’ potential as it makes underwriting decisions.

Is MPOWER right for you?

To borrow, you must be no more than two years from completing your undergraduate or graduate education. Most MPOWER borrowers are in graduate school. You cannot use a co-signer to take out a loan.

An MPOWER loan may be right for you if you:

  • Are in your last two years of undergraduate school or in graduate school
  • Are an international or DACA student who needs to borrow money to pay for undergraduate or graduate school in the United States
  • Are a domestic student who needs to fill a gap in the financial aid package you received after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA
  • Do not have a co-signer

» MORE: NerdWallet’s 2018-19 FAFSA Guide

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At a glance

  • Fixed rates: 8.89% to 14.97% APR.
  • Available loan terms: 10 years.
  • Eligible loan balances: Minimum $2,001. Maximum loan is $50,000, limited to $25,000 per academic period.

Rates updated Feb. 13, 2018.

Before taking a private student loan from MPOWER or any lender, contact your college to find out what financial aid you might be eligible for. International or DACA students may not be eligible to get federal aid, but your school may have other aid options available. The U.S. Department of Education has more information on federal aid available to non-U.S. citizens.

If you are eligible for federal financial aid, submit the FAFSA to apply for federal grants, work-study and federal student loans. Borrow the maximum in federal student loans before considering private ones. Federal loans have more borrower protections and also don’t require a co-signer.

Can you qualify?

You may qualify for an MPOWER student loan if you:

  • Attend an eligible school: Students must be accepted into a four-year, Title IV college that MPOWER works with.     
  • Meet citizenship or international requirements: International students must be from one of the 180 countries MPOWER works with. DACA students do not need a Social Security number to qualify.

MPOWER does not disclose specific credit requirements or typical borrower profiles. However, MPOWER considers dozens of data points, such as future income potential, to determine creditworthiness and make a lending decision. The company reviews credit history, but credit scores are not a factor in its decision since most international students do not have U.S. credit history.

» COMPARE: Private student loans

How to apply for an MPOWER student loan

Before you take out a private student loan, compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who face difficulty making payments.

  1. Find out if you’re eligible. Go to the MPOWER loan eligibility page. Fill in details about the school you’re attending to find out whether you’re eligible.
  2. Complete an application. Create an account by filling in your personal details and information about your school, degree, enrollment status, program start date, anticipated graduation date, citizenship status, loan amount and loan purpose. Here’s what’s required:
    • A resume, including contact information, prior school and employment history
    • Past university transcripts
    • Current university transcripts or admission letter from the school you’ll be attending
    • Standardized entrance exam scores or waiver note
    • Your most recent university invoice or a university financial summary
    • An employment letter or pay stub
    • Address verification
    • Identification verification
    • An I-20 or financial plan
  3. Wait for MPOWER to contact you. A customer service representative will reach out to make sure your application is complete and move your application to a credit review.
  4. Agree to let MPOWER do a hard credit check. You won’t know what interest rate you can get from MPOWER until you apply. As with most loan applications, borrowers have to agree to let MPOWER check your credit scores.
  5. Sign the required documents. You’ll need to sign a loan promissory note.
  6. Wait for the funds from your school. The approved loan amount will be sent directly to your school.

MPOWER student loan details

  • Grace period: 6 months, but interest-only payments are still required during this time
  • Loan servicer: NelNet
  • Application fee: No fee
  • Origination fee: 5.0% origination fee added to the loan balance
  • Late fees: After 15 days, 4% of the amount due, or $5, whichever is less
  • Prepayment penalty: None

General repayment options

  • All MPOWER borrowers are required to make interest-only payments in school starting 45 days after loan funds have been disbursed.
  • All loans have 10-year repayment terms

Repayment options for struggling borrowers

During the life of your loan, you may run into situations that require you to take a pause. MPOWER offers a few repayment, deferment and forbearance options for struggling borrowers:

Hardship repayment

Borrowers may utilize a temporary hardship repayment option, which reduces payments for up to six months.


Borrowers can postpone payments and extend the term of repayment in two situations:

  • In-school deferment: Students enrolled at least half-time are eligible for up to 24 months of deferment while continuing to make interest-only payments.
  • Active duty military deferment: Active-duty service members can defer payments for 24 months, in 12-month increments. Interest still accrues, but during the period of active service, interest on loans will be reduced to 6%.


  • Hardship forbearance: Available if you have a late payment or are about to miss a payment. Borrowers have a 24-month limit on forbearance, available in six-month increments. During forbearance, interest will continue to accrue annually on the loan.
  • Natural disaster forbearance: Available in three-month increments for borrowers affected by federal disasters, as confirmed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Interest still accrues.

MPOWER extras

  • Interest discounts:

Autopay: 0.50% discount

On-time payment: 0.50% discount for six consecutive on-time payments

Proof of graduation and employment: 0.50%

  • Career coaching staff available
  • Visa process assistance for preapproved borrowers

Contact MPOWER

Go to, click “Contact Us” in the lower right corner of any page.

MPOWER student loan FAQs

  • Can I apply with a co-signer? No.
  • Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? Not considered, since bankruptcy isn’t an option in many other countries.
  • Can I qualify if I don’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.

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