The financial aspect of studying abroad is an unavoidable issue that all international students must confront early on in the application process. While some students may already have a means to finance their education,  most students as well as their parents would love to have a means of financial assistance that would both help the student live independently and lessen the burden on their parents.Though many, if not all universities offer scholarships, not all students meet the necessary requirements to qualify for one. As an alternative, one option that students can look into is applying for a student loan. We will take a broad look at a few requirements and benefits of a student loan.

The Requirements for a Student Loan

Student loans can be offered by a bank, financial institution or the federal government. One of the main requirements by most banks is that the loan applicant must apply for the loan from their home country. Although many banks have a network of branches globally these days, this does not mean that you can apply for a loan at any branch; this has to be done in your home country. There are some banks however in the United States that offer student loans for international students. Citizens Bank for example, allows international students to apply for a loan with the requirement being having a co-applicant that is either a US citizen or permanent resident.

There are also local loan providers available in some countries. One such example is Credila, an education loan provider in India. Credila requires students applying for a loan to have a co-applicant. The role of the co-applicant is quite important. This person signs on to handle repayments should the student not be able to make the repayments on their own. Based on that, the co-applicant needs to confirm that they are employed and that they receive a salary that meets the bank's requirement. A co-applicant is usually a parent or extended family member. Federal loans generally provide flexible payments and lesser interest.

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To apply for a loan you have to provide some basic documents that include a passport copy, and the salary slip from your co-applicant. You may also have to provide proof of admission. Some loan providers like Credila however can offer you a student loan even before applying to a school. This is very beneficial as it will let you know what your budget will be, and therefore you will know which schools you should focus on. Having said that, other loan providers may require you to at least list which schools you are interested in.

Benefits of a Student Loan

Each bank offers different amounts of money for student loans and this amount can cover not just the tuition fees, but other university related expenses like housing, buying a laptop and books. Most banks also offer loan recipients flexible loan repayments. The loan terms are usually between 5 to 10 years.

Perhaps the main concern with taking a student loan is the repayments. Students may worry about paying back the loan, and might find that as a distraction to them during their studies. Most student loans however do not have to be paid back until after you graduate. In fact, you might have a certain period of time after you graduate (grace period) to start paying back. This is beneficial because it will give you some time to search for a job and settle yourself financially. The grace period usually lasts for 6 months after you graduate.

The financial aspect of your study abroad experience can be a challenge. You can look at our blogs sections where you will find a few blogs that will give you helpful advice in dealing with this issue.

About the Writer: Mohammad Al Onaizi graduated from the American University of Kuwait with a Bachelor's in History and International Studies. He is currently a Marketing Trainee, living in Dubai. He loves sports, and has a passion for writing on subjects related to his own personal experiences and international education. He is currently in the process of writing his first fictional novel.