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Use this comparison tool to find the right international student loan, study abroad loan, or foreign-enrolled loan for you.
Study Abroad Loan Resources
If you are comparing Study Abroad Loans, Foreign Enrolled Loans, and International Student Loans, you may come across difficult loan terminology while comparing lenders. To help make sense of it, we have defined commonly used terms to help you evaluate each lender and determine which loan is right for you.
- Interest Rate
When you take out a loan through a lender, you will be responsible for paying back the amount of money you borrowed (called the principal) plus an additional amount charged by the lender for the loan (called interest).
The interest rate on our Study Abroad Loans is calculated based on an index plus a margin that will add an additional percentage interest rate depending on your cosigner's creditworthiness. The two most common indexes used for international student loans are the Prime Rate and LIBOR Rate:
- Prime Interest Rate
- This index is determined by the federal funds rate which is set by the US Federal Reserve. This is the rate in which banks lend to one another and in many cases the interest rate which commercial banks charge their most creditworthy clients.
- LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate)
- Like the Prime Rate, the LIBOR is the interest rate that banks borrow from other banks which is published by the British Banker's Association in the "Money Rates" section of The Wall Street Journal on the first business day of each month. The rate is an average of the world's most creditworthy bank's interbank deposit rates for overnight and one year terms.
When evaluating the loan, the lender will clarify which index the plan uses. Then, there will be an additional margin that will be added to this index based on the borrower's individual criteria, including the cosigner's credit history. Based on their creditworthiness, an additional interest rate will be added to the index which will be the total interest rate you owe. This will appear on your final loan paperwork as Libor + 2.8%. The application is free, and when your application is approved, your specific margin will be disclosed to you. At that point you can accept or refuse the loan. Currently the rates are anywhere between 2.25% APR and 9.11% APR.
- Origination Fee
- Many of our Study Abroad Loans carry origination fees of as low as 0% depending on the credit of the borrower or co-borrower. The origination fee will be added to and financed with the requested loan amount at disbursement.
- Finance Charge
- The finance charge on a loan is the cost of the loan over and above the principal, or original amount borrowed. The finance charge depends on the interest rate, the origination fee, the terms of the loan, and the timing of all payments.
- APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and is a measure of what a loan will cost. It takes into account the rate, fees, terms of the loan, and timing of all payments.
The repayment period is the number of months of principal and interest payments that need to pay off the balance of your loan. You have three different repayment options – immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, and deferred repayment.
- Immediate Repayment
- Make both principal and interest payments beginning immediately after receiving your loan. This option has the lowest interest rate generally.
- Interest-Only Repayment
- Make only monthly interest payments while in school, up to four consecutive years. You can defer the principal up to 45 days after graduation or if you drop your course load to part-time. The interest rate for this option may be higher than the traditional immediate repayment option.
- Full Deferred Repayment
- Make no payments while in school. The interest is accrued and added quarterly to the principal balance. Six months after you graduate, begin making both principal and interest payments monthly. This option may have a higher interest rate than the immediate and interest only repayment options.
Many lenders will also allow you to pay off your loan early without penalty. If you are interested in prepayment, check with your Study Abroad Loan to see if this applies.
- Term Length
- The repayment term for loans from Study Abroad Loans will depend on the loan you select. Some lenders will allow you to choose the number of years you want to pay back your loan. Keep in mind that the longer your term length, the more money you will pay over the course of your loan.
- Deferral & Forbearance
During repayment, upon meeting certain conditions, you may be able to make reduced payments or no payments for a period of time. This can be described as a deferral or forbearance depending on the circumstances. Interest will continue to accrue during the deferment period and is added to the loan balance when payments resume.
This only applies to certain loans so be sure to check with the lender to see whether your loan offers this benefit.
- All loans from Study Abroad Loans are disbursed directly to your school, who will then disperse the funds directly to you. Your school will certify the loan amount based on the full cost of your education minus other financial aid as certified by your school.