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Student Loans For Studying Abroad: Practical Things To Know

student loans for studying abroad

You may be eligible to utilize federal student assistance to pay for your expenditures if you intend to study abroad for a semester or complete your whole degree outside of the United States. The sort of financial help you are eligible for, as well as the procedures you must follow, will be determined by the type of program (study abroad or complete degree) you intend to enroll in. Your position as an undergraduate or graduate student has an impact on the types of help you’re qualified for, just as it does at American universities. Students enrolled in a U.S. college who are engaging in a short-term study abroad program are eligible for student loans for studying abroad. 

Your home school must give you credit for your study abroad, and your home institution must also be approved. If that’s the case, your software can be hosted anywhere on the planet.

Always use government loans before borrowing from a commercial lender as a rule of thumb. Lower interest rates, greater repayment alternatives, and improved financial hardship safeguards are all common features of these loans.

An In-Depth Look: What Are Student Loans for Studying Abroad Programs? 

Student loans for studying abroad programs enable U.S. college students to study in a different nation while continuing their studies at their home institution. Summer programs or programs lasting fewer than eight weeks are examples of short programs, although they can also endure a quarter, semester, or even a year.

Students from the United States can also enroll as foreign students and complete their whole postsecondary education overseas. Each case takes a different strategy for financial assistance.

The Institute of International Education estimates that 10.9 percent of American college students travel overseas at some point during their undergraduate study. For bachelor’s degree students, it’s 16%. About two-thirds of those who study abroad do so for a short time, while the rest study for a quarter, semester, or year.

These programs might be sponsored or run by your own university, institution, or another American or foreign organization. If you attend for a quarter, semester, or year, the credit you gain is sent to your home institution and counts toward your degree.

Why Should You Study Abroad?

There are several reasons why spending time studying abroad might considerably enhance your entire educational experience. The following are some of the reasons why individuals choose to study abroad:

  • To have a deeper understanding of a new culture
  • Put foreign language abilities into practice in a real context
  • To get a taste of learning in a different setting or from various instructors
  • to add international experience to their transcript and future CV
  • For personal growth and life experience

Because many student loans for studying abroad programs may easily be integrated into a conventional degree program and credit transfers, finding excuses to pass up the chance if you can afford it may be more challenging.

Getting a Degree While Studying Abroad

student loans for studying abroad

The financial assistance procedure is slightly different if you want to apply or transfer to a school overseas and get your degree.

Even if you complete your education entirely outside of the United States, you may be eligible for federal student help, including federal student loans, if you attend a school that participates in the federal student aid program. 

While you will be able to borrow Direct federal loans from qualifying overseas institutions just like you would in the United States, you will not be eligible for any of the Department of Education’s award programs. If you want further financial assistance, always check with the institution you intend to attend.

Your federal student loan monies will be sent directly to the college or university where you want to enroll. If there are funds left over after the school’s tuition and expenditures are paid, the school will reimburse you the balance, which you can use for travel, lodging, and other associated expenses.

Medical School Student Loans for Studying Abroad

Medical education is well-known for its exorbitant costs. As a result, some students choose to attend medical school in another country. The United States Department of Education maintains a list of overseas medical schools where American students can study and acquire a medical degree that is recognized in the United States.

Federal Student Loans for International Study

If your institution is already a part of the federal student assistance program, you can usually utilize federal student loans for studying abroad. If you want to apply for federal student aid, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To find out the types of help, you may utilize for your trip and what documentation you’ll need to fill out, contact the financial aid office at your school in the United States.

Direct Subsidized Loans: These loans are given to needy undergraduate students. While you’re in school, the U.S. government will cover the interest on subsidized loans.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of financial need, can apply for these loans. Unsubsidized loans, unlike subsidized loans, require you to pay all interest accrued.

Direct PLUS Loans: Grad PLUS Loans for graduate students and Parent PLUS Loans for parents who wish to pay for their child’s education are the two varieties of Direct PLUS Loans. PLUS Loans, unlike subsidized and unsubsidized loans, need a credit check.

Note that the procedure for earning a full degree from an international institution differs from simply studying abroad for a period of time.

Am I eligible?

All students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who will be studying at an authorized U.S. school at the undergraduate or graduate level outside of their native country. Credit must be earned at the student’s home college or institution. See the entire list of qualified schools if you’re not sure if your institution qualifies.

To be eligible for federal student aid programs, your institution must be accredited by an entity recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.

Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are enrolled full-time at a qualified overseas school should apply for a foreign-enrolled loan.

The following are some of the advantages:

  • Interest rates are low and fixed (meaningless you have to pay back)
  • Repayment arrangements depend on income (meaning your payments will be parallel to what your income allows you to afford)
  • Cancellation for certain types of employment (in some cases, you may be able to request a cancellation of this form of loan’s payback. For instance, if you work in public service or as a teacher in a low-income school.)
  • Options for deferment (This is a brief period during which you are not required to return your loan in full, including both principal and interest.)

Private Loans for Study Abroad

If all of your federal student loan choices have been exhausted, the next step is to evaluate private student loans. Instead of the government, private banks and lenders provide these services. Because these are mostly determined by your credit score, you may require a cosigner with strong credit to assist you in qualifying. You must also be a United States citizen or permanent resident.

While private lenders’ interest rates are often higher than federal loans, they have begun to provide rebates and other advantages to assist in lowering the total cost of the loan. Most private lenders also allow you to make payments while still enrolled in school or after graduation.

Private study abroad loan applications are simple to complete and may be completed nearly entirely online. If you intend to use a cosigner, he or she will be required to give extra information in order to complete the application.

Here’s what to look for in foreign school private student loans:

Eligible lenders: You’ll want to apply with lenders who can help you afford your international education. To fulfill the higher credit standards for private student loans, most borrowers will need a student loan cosigner.

Affordability: Look for low-interest private student loans with cheap fees. 

Calculate your monthly payments to be sure you’ll be able to repay the loan whenever it’s due.

Deferment option: Inquire about private student loan deferment policies. If you don’t want to make payments while you’re in school, for example, check sure the lender will let you postpone them until after you graduate.

Advantages of private borrowing include:

  • Borrow up to the complete cost of attendance, minus any additional financial assistance.
  • Repayment arrangements that are flexible
  • Thousands of schools have been approved.

Keep in mind that private student loans for studying abroad are not eligible for federal student loan advantages like income-driven repayment plans or forgiveness programs. Private student loans, on the other hand, have their own set of advantages. A private student loan, for example, can be applied for at any time. Depending on the lender, you may be able to borrow up to the cost of attendance at your school.

What resources can I use to learn more about schools and their requirements?

student loans for studying abroad

First and foremost, do not be alarmed. You’re on your own, but you’ll be OK if you’re organized and dedicated. In this area, we’ll provide you with some advice on how to prepare for studying at an overseas school, as well as some resources to help you discover more about schools that participate in federal student assistance programs in the United States.

Here are some broad guidelines:

Begin as soon as possible. You have more responsibilities than your American schoolmates, so don’t expect to apply for financial help this month and have it paid for next month’s tuition.

If you’re considering a particular school, look at its website for information on program availability (does it offer the degree you want? ), pricing, enrollment procedures, and foreign student support and programs.

Make a to-do list and conduct your research. What paperwork, for example, is required? (Visas? Do you have any housing applications? Is it necessary to register with the police? Is your passport up to date? Who should I call in the event of an emergency? (Do you have health insurance?)

Make a file to keep track of your school paperwork and information.

Find out who will be processing your financial aid at the school. Takedown their email address and use it to contact them if you have any queries. (If you’re not sure where to start, go to the foreign students’ office at the school.)

How will I be compensated?

Your loan monies will be electronically transferred from the U.S. Treasury to the approved bank of the foreign school. The money will be used to pay off any debts you have with the school first (tuition, fees, etc.). If there is any money left over after the funds have been paid to your school account, it will be given to you.

What to Think About When Getting a Student Loans for Studying Abroad

You should understand

  • how student loans operate
  • and how much they will cost you over time

before taking out one to pay for your studies abroad.

Here are a few things to remember:

The rate of interest: This is the most important aspect of calculating the total cost of your loan over time. It is preferable if the rate is as low as possible.

Term of repayment: Your monthly payment is determined by the loan period, which is factored into the total loan cost. The smaller your monthly payment, the longer your payback period, the more your loan will cost over time.

Fees: The majority of private student loans are fee-free. However, federal student loans for studying abroad include origination costs ranging from 1% to 5%. This price is deducted from the money you get, so be sure you withdraw enough to satisfy your needs plus the fee.

There is a grace period: This is how much time you have until you must begin repaying your loan. The grace period for federal loans and most private loans is 6 months following graduation or leaving school. Make sure you double-check the grace period on your loan, so you know when payments start.

Possibility of repayment: Although it may be difficult to predict while still a student, you should consider how much student loan debt you will have after graduation and if you will be able to make your monthly payments. If you fear you’ll have trouble paying off your debt, skipping the study abroad trip can be a good idea.

Is there a limit to the amount of money I can borrow?

Foreign Enrolled Students can apply for up to the full cost of their foreign education, less any financial help they may be getting from their institution in the form of scholarships or other forms of aid. You should contact your school’s financial assistance office to establish your maximum loan amount or what can be included in your loan.

Cosigner is Recommended 

student loans for studying abroad

For a student loan, a cosigner is not essential, although it is strongly suggested. Few students have

  • sufficient income
  • or credit history

to qualify without a cosigner. Therefore we recommend that everyone

  • apply with a cosigner to boost their chances of approval
  • and to get a better interest rate depending on your cosigner’s creditworthiness (credit history).

The cosigner must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who has resided in the United States for at least two years and has a strong credit score and income history.

Your cosigner must be informed that the lender will examine their credit history and score. The cosigner’s credit history is updated when the loan is approved to indicate that they have cosigned on a loan. Should the principal borrower (you) fail to return the debt, they would be held liable.

What may student loans be used for when studying abroad?

If you take out student loans for studying abroad, you’ll be required to sign a loan agreement. That agreement states that you’ll only spend the money for approved educational expenditures.

Here are some examples of expenditures that you might be able to cover with student loans for studying abroad:

  • Traveling to and from the nation in where your chosen university is located
  • Board and lodging
  • Fees and tuition
  • Textbooks
  • Supplies for computers or other devices
  • Expenses incurred as a result of participating in a study abroad program


For Americans, there are a variety of student loans for studying abroad. If you qualify for federal financial help, you may be able to utilize it to study abroad. You may usually utilize these as well if you qualify for private student loans. Before taking out a study abroad loan, make sure you understand how they function and what alternative options you have.