The education cost in the United States alone is quite expensive, and it keeps going up. So throwing in a study abroad experience can seem out of reach. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t study overseas.
Whether you travel for a few weeks or a whole year, there are ways to fund your studies abroad. And one of them is to use student loans to fund your education overseas.
Now, it’s expensive to study abroad, and numerous students find it difficult to fund their international studies. Yes. Grants and scholarships are available, but they’re highly competitive and barely cover your entire expenses.
But a student loan can help you cover the total cost of attendance. This guide will show you how to get student loans to study overseas and make your experience a memorable one. Let’s begin.
Consider the Type Of Program And Location
Generally, shorter programs are less expensive compared to year-long programs. In addition, different available formats incur varying costs. Here are the types of study abroad programs universities generally offer:
- Affiliate Programs. When a university is approved for an affiliate program, tuition is paid. These programs include meals, housing, insurance, and support, but they can be pricier.
- Instructor/faculty-led Programs. With this program, tuition is paid to the university that gets approved. Your faculty at the foreign school teaches or oversees your classes. This program may or may not include meals and housing.
- Exchange Programs. Your home university gets the tuition. This program is different from the Instructor/faculty-led option. And that’s because, with the exchange program, you go alone, instead of a group. These programs may or may not include meals and housing.
Also, location can affect the total cost. For instance, countries such as Norway and Iceland and cities like Paris and London will have high prices for means, housing, and transportation. So you should be mindful when choosing a destination.
Know The Type Of Study Abroad Student Loans Available To You
You can take out student loans using the federal government or private loan lenders such as credit unions or banks to fund your studies overseas. Let’s quickly go through each of them.
Federal Student Aid
The U.S. Education department offers student loans for U.S.-based citizens. You can use these loans to fund your education in the United States or abroad. If you decide to use your federal loans to study abroad, you need to select a university-approved program (like those outlined in the first point).
If not, you have to ask for approval if your preferred program is not listed. Then, if you want to apply, all you have to do is complete the FAFSA form. There are deadlines for both federal and state every year. So you have to check the website to know the deadlines for where you live.
Types of Student Loans
Depending on your income level and level of education, you have three student loan options to choose from.
- Direct Subsidized Loans. This type of student loan is available to undergraduates that are in financial need.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans. This loan is available to undergraduate and graduate students, and it doesn’t rely on any financial need.
- Direct PLUS Loans. Parents with dependent undergraduates can use the Direct PLUS loan to support their education costs.
Each of these types of loans has different yearly award limits and interest rates. Fortunately, you can use various student loan forgiveness options for repayment.
Private Student Loans
If you’ve maxed out your limit for federal student loans or don’t qualify, you can opt for private loans. However, private lenders require a credit check and credit history before they can give you a loan. If these checks are not looking good, you can choose a cosigner.
However, before you go in for a private loan, keep in mind that you can’t have many options like federal student loans. So before you proceed, talk to an expert to show you how to pay back your student loans with less hassle.
Understand Your Student Loan Repayments
When your study abroad is over, you’ll have to pay back your student loans. So it’s essential to understand how the repayment works and the plans available to you.
Regardless of the option you choose, don’t ever default on your loans because that can damage your credit score, which comes with damaging consequences. When you borrow from the government or a private loan lender, they’ll work to give you options to develop a plan to avoid missing payments.
For example, federal student loans have repayment plans such as income-driven repayment plans. This plan can help you pay back your student loans.
If you’re finding it challenging to repay your loan debts, the federal government offers several student loan forgiveness options to choose from. Some include Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, etc.
You now know that it’s possible to get a student loan to fund your education abroad. So where will you go? Regardless of your choice, remember that you’ll have to pay back the loans you borrowed. So be mindful and don’t borrow more than you need.
If not, you can spend many years repaying your debts, which can put other sectors of your life on hold.