International students often face challenges when seeking to finance their education in the United States or Canada. One of the primary obstacles is finding international student loans without a cosigner. A cosigner is someone who agrees to take responsibility for a loan if the borrower cannot repay it, providing added security for the lender. However, not all international students have access to a suitable cosigner. In this article, we will explore the options available for international student loans without a cosigner, as well as alternative financial aid options and how to find a cosigner if needed.

Federal Student Loans for International Students Without Cosigners

Federal student loans in the United States do not require or accept cosigners. However, eligibility for these loans is limited to qualified noncitizens, such as U.S. nationals, permanent residents, and certain other immigration statuses. To apply for federal student loans, international students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet specific eligibility criteria.

Unfortunately, most international students do not qualify for federal student loans, as they are not considered qualified noncitizens. In such cases, private student loans become the primary option for financing their education.

Private Student Loans for International Students Without Cosigners

Several private lenders offer international student loans without a cosigner, although the eligibility criteria and loan terms may vary. Some of the most popular lenders in this category include Stilt, MPOWER Financing, and Prodigy Finance. Each of these lenders has its unique features, requirements, and loan terms, making it essential for students to compare their options and choose a suitable lender.


Stilt is an online lender that specializes in providing loans to immigrants, including international students and DACA holders, who cannot find a cosigner. Their loans have competitive interest rates starting at 7.99%, and the loan process is swift, with decisions made within 24 hours of completing an application. Stilt does not partner with specific universities, making their loans available to a broader range of students. Additionally, Stilt’s loans can help borrowers build their credit scores in the United States.

MPOWER Financing

MPOWER Financing focuses on international students and offers loans without a cosigner to students attending specific colleges and universities. To qualify for a loan from MPOWER, students must attend an eligible school supported by MPOWER and be in their last two years of education. Interest rates for MPOWER loans start at 11.99%, and repayment periods can be up to 10 years. MPOWER’s loans are more accessible for graduate students and those attending top-tier universities.

Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance is another lender that offers international student loans without a cosigner. However, their loans are primarily geared towards graduate students attending top-ranked universities and studying specific fields such as business, STEM, public policy, law, and health sciences. Prodigy Finance loans originated from a U.K.-based entity, and repayments are not reported to credit bureaus in the U.S., meaning they won’t help build a borrower’s credit score.

Also Read: Private Student Loans for Bad Credit: Your Comprehensive Guide

Basic Qualifications for International Student Loans Without Cosigners

International students looking for a loan without a cosigner must meet basic eligibility requirements. These may include:

  • Attending an approved school
  • Coming from a qualifying country
  • Being enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree-granting program
  • Finishing the program within two years
  • Living in the U.S. while attending school
  • Holding the appropriate visa status for studying in the U.S.
  • Verifying identity with the lender

In addition to these basic qualifications, borrowers must also pass the lender’s underwriting review, which evaluates factors such as credit history, employment and educational background, and financial documentation.

Loan Requirements for International Students Without Cosigners

International students seeking loans without cosigners must also meet specific loan eligibility requirements. These may include:

  • Credit history and score in the U.S., if available
  • Employment and educational history
  • Bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and other financial documents
  • Family financial statements, if applicable
  • Estimated future earnings, in some cases

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee loan approval, but it improves the chances of obtaining a loan with favorable terms and interest rates.

How to Find and Compare No-Cosigner Loans

To find and compare international student loans without cosigners, students can use loan comparison tools online. These tools allow borrowers to evaluate different lenders’ loan terms, interest rates, and eligibility requirements. Students can then apply directly with the selected lender and provide the necessary documentation to complete the application process.

When comparing loans, consider the following factors:

  • The loan amount and borrowing limits
  • Interest rates (fixed or variable)
  • Repayment period
  • Disbursement process and timeline

By considering these factors, students can make an informed decision and choose the best loan option for their needs.

Alternative Options for Financing Education

If an international student is unable to secure a loan without a cosigner, there are alternative financial aid options available. These include:

Grants and Scholarships

Grants and scholarships are forms of gift aid that do not need to be repaid. They can be need-based, merit-based, or awarded based on specific criteria such as nationality, cultural background, or field of study. Researching and applying for grants and scholarships can reduce the amount of loan funding required, easing the financial burden of education.

Federal Loans

As mentioned earlier, some noncitizens may qualify for federal student loans, depending on their immigration status. Students should explore their eligibility for federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA and consulting with their school’s office of financial assistance.

Part-Time Employment

Working part-time while studying can help reduce the amount of money needed to borrow. However, international students’ employment options may be limited due to visa restrictions. Students on an F-1 visa can generally work on-campus up to 20 hours per week and may be eligible for off-campus employment through Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs after their first year.

Other Lenders

Smaller banks, credit unions, or lenders in the borrower’s home country may also offer loans to international students. It is essential to research these options, compare rates and terms, and be aware of any additional fees or requirements associated with transferring funds to the U.S.

Asking Potential Cosigners

If all other options have been exhausted, students may consider seeking a cosigner to expand their loan options. Friends, family members, or acquaintances who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may be willing to cosign a loan, provided they meet the lender’s requirements.

Finding a Loan Cosigner

If an international student decides to seek a cosigner for their loan, there are several strategies for finding a suitable candidate. These include:

  • Asking friends or family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Contacting university alumni associations, which may have programs in place to help international students find cosigners
  • Using online platforms or social media to connect with potential cosigners

It is crucial to ensure that any potential cosigner meets the lender’s requirements, including having a good credit score, stable income, and U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status. Additionally, the cosigner must be willing to take on the financial responsibility of repaying the loan if the borrower cannot.

Also Read: Average Student Loan Interest Rate (June) 2023


International student loans without a cosigner can be challenging to find, but they do exist. By exploring federal and private loan options, researching alternative financial aid sources, and considering the possibility of finding a cosigner, international students can secure the funding needed to pursue their education in the United States or Canada. With careful planning and research, international students can overcome the challenges of financing their education and achieve their academic and career goals.