No matter where in the world you choose to study, it’s important to take into account the financial cost of living abroad. Tuition, rent, textbooks, and transport can all be big expenses. But because of visa restrictions, not all students are able to work enough hours to support themselves while studying.
In this, many international students might need to take out private student loans. So, let’s explore what loan options are available for students – including in popular study destinations like Canada, Australia, the U.S., and the U.K.
Where can I find a private student loan?
Many countries have student loan systems in place to help learners fund their education. However international students are usually not eligible for these loans – only citizens, permanent residents, and those with protected status in a country can apply.
On the other hand, there are lots of private loans for international students. Your eligibility will depend on what country you’re studying in. For example, in some countries, you’ll need a co-signer. In other countries, you’ll need to show you have a regular source of income.
Loans for students studying abroad are available from various sources, including:
- Local banks
- Non-bank lenders and private student loan programs (popular in the U.S.)
While searching for student loans, we always recommend checking with your university first, as these loans usually come with better terms. For example, the University of Sydney in Australia offers loans of up to $1000 AUD ($777 USD) that are interest-free and payable within 12 months, as well as $2000 ($1550 USD) loans that can be paid back up to two years after graduation.
Private student loans by country
Private student loans differ by country. So, let’s take a look at what’s available for international students in these four popular study destinations.
It can be expensive to study abroad in Australia. According to the Australian Government, tuition for international students perusing a bachelor’s degree can cost between $25,000 – $45,000 AUD ($19,425-$34,966 USD) a year. Likewise, the cost of living can be about $21,000 AUD ($16,317 USD) for 12 months. Of course, these costs can vary depending on your institution and where you study in the country.
But, the good news is that on an Australian student visa, you can work up to 40 hours every two weeks.
As an international student, you won’t be able to access Australia’s Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). But you can explore the following to help further fund your studies:
- Short-term and long-term loans from a university. Dozens of universities offer loans to international students, just like the ones from the University of Sydney we mentioned above. For example, University of Melbourne offers students loans up to $5,000 AUD ($3,883 USD). The University of Western Australia even gives out student loans of $200 AUD ($155 USD) in case of emergencies, like if you’ve lost your wallet or are short on cash.
- A secured personal loan with a private bank, in which you offer an asset as collateral.
- An unsecured personal loan. With these, you don’t have to offer an asset as collateral, but interest rates are generally higher. Banks across Australia offer these types of loans. One example is Westpac.
On average, students in the U.K. spend about £795 ($1,100 USD) a month on living expenses, and for international students, tuition for a Master’s Degree can be between £5,000-17,000 ($6,983-$23,743 USD) a year. With Brexit, EU/EAA citizens will now considered international students.
So, what loan options do foreign students have?
- A foreign-enrolled loan. Students can apply to these to fund their education abroad – but it depends on what countries you come from and what university you’ll attend. Students from the U.S., for example, can be eligible.
- Bank loans for students studying abroad from your home country.
- Private student loans for foreign learners in the UK. Future Finance, for example, offers flexible loans to international students.
The U.S. is one of the most expensive places to study as an international student. The cost of living can range between $1,000 – 3,000 USD per month, depending on where in the country you settle. Tuition for a four-year bachelor’s degree can cost roughly $40,000 USD at a public university and can reach past $50,000 USD at a private university.
However, there are lots of student loan options available. These loans can be quite a long-term, and students might be able to repay them over the course of up to 25 years.
- Banks and online lenders. Loans from these sources often require a U.S. co-signer with good credit history. Organizations like Assent and Discover provide loans to international students.
- An online lender that doesn’t require a U.S. co-signer. MPOWER Financing, for example, offers loans for international students without a co-signer.
Tuition fees at Canadian universities and colleges can vary – international students can expect to pay between $1000-30,000 CAD ($794-$23,830 USD) a year for a bachelor’s degree. Living costs depend on what city you study in but can range between $800-$2000 CAD ($635-$1588 USD) a month.
International students in Canada have a few loan options:
- A bank loan from your home country. Like many countries, Canada requires students applying for a visa to show they have enough money to cover their expenses – making getting a loan from home a good first option.
- A student line of credit from a Canadian bank. With these, you have a set limit (just like on a credit card) and only have to pay back the money you actually use. Learn more about the student line of credits on the Government of Canada website.
- Private companies. For example, MPOWER Financing also offers loans to international students in Canada without a co-signer.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. But we hope this article provides you with a good starting point and helps you understand where to begin looking for student loans to fund your education. Remember, it’s important to shop around for the loan that works best for you – there are lots of options out there.
Preparing to study abroad? At PTE Academic, we can help you get one step closer. Our computer-based, unbiased language test is accepted by governments and higher education institutions around the world as proof of English proficiency.