Completing an International Student Loan Application: Five Tips for Success

by Kat Tretina | In Guides and Tools | 1 March 2023 | Updated on: March 1st, 2023

Students from all over the world come to the United States to study. In fact, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education reported that international students make up 5% of all post-secondary enrollment.

But the cost of attending college in the United States can be surprisingly steep. No matter what school you hope to attend – from Boston University to the University of California-Los Angeles – you should be prepared for high tuition and room and board fees.

As an international student, you aren’t eligible for federal student loans. However, you may qualify for international student loans that can cover the cost of your program. The application process can seem daunting, but if you use these five tips when you apply for a student loan, you’ll be able to get the financing you need. 

1. Get Accepted Into Your Desired Program

Before you can qualify for an international student loan, you must already be attending college or enrolled for the upcoming semester in a post-secondary program in the United States. The type of program you’re applying for and the degree level will impact the timing of your application. 

  • Undergraduate Students: In general, undergraduate students submit their applications in the fall of the prior year or early spring. For example, if you plan to attend college for the fall semester of 2023, you’d send in your school applications between September 2022 and April 2023. Acceptance letters and financial aid packages are typically sent out by April or May of 2023. 
  • Graduate or Professional Students: With graduate and professional schools, the application process can be more intensive. Typically, applications are due between October 31 and December 31 of the prior year. If you’re applying for the fall semester of 2024, that means your application should be submitted by December 31, 2023. 

2. Check Your Program’s Eligibility

Before applying for international student loans, find out if your program is eligible for funding. If you’re planning on using MPOWER Financing to take out loans, you must attend one of its 400+ approved schools. 

MPOWER supports over 400 colleges and universities, including a broad range of public and private schools, such as the following well-known schools: 

  • Brown University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Duke University
  • George Washington University
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • New York University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Yale University

If your intended school isn’t on MPOWER’s list of partners, you’re not eligible for an international student loan through the lender, and will have to find alternative financing. 

3. Collect Key Information Ahead of Time

You can save time during the application process if you collect necessary documents early. As an international student, you’ll need a variety of forms and other documentation, and you don’t want to be scrambling to find them when the financing deadline is approaching. The required forms vary by the type of degree you’re pursuing and the lender:

  • Graduate or Professional Students
      • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
      • Proof of home country address
      • Standardized test scores, such as the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or NBDE
      • English proficiency exam scores
      • Admissions letters
      • Past transcripts or diploma from previous universities
      • Estimated cost of attendance and financial aid summary
      • Passport
      • Secondary photo identification
      • Support evidence of funds
      • References
  • Undergraduate Students
    • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Proof of home country address
    • Standardized test scores, such as SAT or ACT
    • English proficiency exam scores
    • Admissions letters
    • Past transcripts
    • Estimated cost of attendance and financial aid summary
    • Passport
    • Secondary photo identification
    • Support evidence of funds
    • References

4. Apply for Student Loans Early

The lender has to review your information and, if it approves you, must verify your enrollment with your selected college and certify the cost of attendance. This means that even if your application process was fairly quick, the disbursement period might take longer. 

Depending on your situation and the lender, the entire process from approval to loan disbursement can take up to two months, so it’s wise to start the process well in advance of your school’s payment deadlines. 

5. Complete the Application Online

Now that you know what’s needed to apply for a student loan and your school’s deadlines, you can complete the application. With MPOWER Financing, you can see if you’re eligible in just 60 seconds. 

When you apply online with MPOWER, the application will ask you some basic questions about yourself – such as your name, residence, and selected school, to check your eligibility for a loan. If your program isn’t eligible for MPOWER’s international student loans, it may recommend other lenders to you. 

If your program is eligible for an MPOWER loan, you can fill out the rest of the application and enter information about your finances, transcripts, and your acceptance letter. 

From there, MPOWER will review your application. 

Paying for College as an International Student

As an international student planning to study in the United States, the financial aid process can be overwhelming. If you need to apply for a student loan, it’s wise to start the process as early as you can to ensure you can meet your college’s payment deadlines. 

By using the above tips, you can be prepared to fill out applications for international student loans and get the financial aid you need to pay for school. 

Author: View all post by Kat Tretina

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER – Subject to credit approval, loans are made by Bank of Lake Mills or MPOWER Financing, PBC. Bank of Lake Mills does not have an ownership interest in MPOWER Financing. Neither MPOWER Financing nor Bank of Lake Mills is affiliated with the school you attended or are attending. Bank of Lake Mills is Member FDIC. None of the information contained in this website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by MPOWER Financing or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.

2022 © MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation NMLS ID #1233542. 1101 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20036