international student loans
Get on top of your finances with these international student loans. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

It’s a rough and rocky road for non-US citizens who want to attend college in the US. You’re not eligible to take out US federal student loans and scholarships can be scarce. There is, however, a way around this: international student loans by private lenders. 

In general, lenders need for you to have a US citizen cosigner to get a private loan. Below is a list of the best international student loans 2021, with eligibility requirements, fees and flexible repayment options:


This company gives you the option to pay for college with or without a cosigner. No application fees required. You can also check your rate without impacting your credit score. 

SocialFinance (SoFi)

With a minimum credit score for student loan refinancing at 650, only graduates of accredited universities and graduate programmes can apply. There is no minimum income to apply. It charges no origination fees and has an interest rate discount of 0.125 percent. 

As scholarships can be hard to come around, especially during a pandemic, it’s essential to know what international student loans are available. Source: Eric Baradat/AFP

College Ave

Borrowers with a cosigner who choose the shortest repayment term and make the full monthly payments while in college qualify for the lowest rates. In addition, borrowers have the option of an eight-year term alongside the typical five, 10, and 15 year terms most lenders provide. With College Ave there is also a graduation reward of US$150 cashback for completing the course of study. 

Discover Student Loans

Discover is a great option for international student loans because it has no late fees and also an interest rate discount if borrowers choose to pay the interest on the loan as it accumulates while in school. However, there are downsides as no cosigner release is available and there is only one loan term of 15 years. 

Citizens Bank

international student loans

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Nov. 24, 2020 in New York City. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Another great option for international student loans, Citizens Bank provides a 0.25 percent loyalty discount if a student borrower or their cosigner has an existing account with the bank. Note that cosigners have to wait for a longer time period to be released from the loan than what many other lenders provide. 

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae allows multiple payment reduction for borrowers who are going through financial difficulty. International students may get a loan with the help of a US citizen cosigner, but student borrowers can’t get a cosigner release unless they are US citizens or permanent residents themselves by the time they ask for release. 


Last but not least is Earnest, which offers flexibility to borrowers. They have a long grace period, the option to skip one monthly payment per year, and a wide variety of loan terms. In addition, this company doesn’t charge late fees which is quite the deal, especially for students.