HomeStudent LoanAccessing Student Loans as an African Resident: Exploring Financial Options for Education.

Accessing Student Loans as an African Resident: Exploring Financial Options for Education.

However, many students in Africa who do not qualify for scholarship opportunities or receive grants often rely on student loans to fund their higher education expenses.

Access to quality education takes work as it is expensive, and for many people, it seems unaffordable without any help or assistance.

In this way, student loan facilities help students, whether undergraduate or otherwise, get a quality education without any unnecessary strain on their financial capacity.

What Are Student Loans?

Student Loans serve as financial aid given to students by the government or private loan facilities to help cover their education expenses.

Student Loans help students from Africa cover aspects like tuition, book fees, maintenance costs, etc. all throughout their studies.

Furthermore, unlike grants or scholarships, you must repay the loans, but the repayment terms and conditions depend on the loan provider.

Generally, you can pay the loans on a monthly or biweekly basis, and payments span from 5 years to as much as 20 years, depending on your loan service provider.

Advantages Of Student Loans 

You can enjoy different benefits when you apply for a student loan to help with your studies. Some of them include:

1. Lower Interest Rate

Student loans generally come with a lower interest rate, which makes them a more affordable and reasonable option when compared to other loan facilities. Loan providers understand that African students are the ones applying for the job, and it is not a business venture. As a student from Africa, when you apply for a student loan, the interest rate is low, but the figure depends on your loan service provider.

2. Covers Other Aspects

Student loans cover more than just tuition. Although the amount of the loan and the type of loan may differ according to the different loan services, the difference may not be as wide. However, some of the student loan providers disburse the funds directly into the school’s account, which is now remunerated to the student.

3. Ease Of The Application Process

The application for student loans is done online, making it easy for students to apply from anywhere without location being a barrier.

International students are also called foreign students. They are students who go abroad to study. They take part or all of their tertiary education in a country that is different from their home country.

As an African student who desires to study abroad or as an African student currently living in Africa who desires to further your studies abroad, you might be wondering if there are any student loan options available for you.

The answer is yes.

Although some student loans are open to natives, there are also student loan options open to international students from Africa.

However, some student loan facilities require a cosigner before approval. Most times, the cosigner has to meet the requirements below:

  • A good credit score
  • Steady Income
  • Favorable 15% or less debt-to-income ratio
  • A resident of the host country

This implies that it is possible for African students living in Africa to apply for and get student loans to aid their education journey as long as they meet the requirements stated by the student loan provider.

How Africa Students Can Apply For Student Loans

As stated above, the application process for student loans is done online, which reduces the stress attached to it. It is, however, necessary to get the documents needed during the process.

As an African student living in Africa who wants to apply for student loans, the first step is to check out the different student loan providers and pick the one that is most suitable for you.

Before picking a loan service provider, consider factors like

  • Supported schools: check if your school is among the list of schools the loan service provider is affiliated with.
  • Maximum amount: check the maximum and minimum amounts they offer and see if they match your budget.
  • Ease of application process: What is the application process like? Is it suitable for you? These are questions to consider.
  • Eligibility condition: do you meet the eligibility requirements? Do you have all the necessary documents they are requesting?
  • Eligible countries: are your country of origin and the country where your school is situated endorsed by the loan service provider?
  • What do the loans cover? Do they only cover tuition? Is the maintenance fee also included?
  • Repayment term: how flexible is the repayment plan? How possible will it be for you to meet up so you do not default?
  • Supported programs: Is the course of study and certification you are pursuing endorsed by the loan service provider?
  • Interest rate: What is their interest rate like? Is it affordable?

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before going ahead and picking a loan service provider for your student loan.

Types Of Student Loans

There are two major types of student loans; the other ones fall under either of these two. They are:

  • Federal student loans
  • Private student loans

1. Federal Student Loans:

Federal loans are sponsored by the government, but they are mostly for the indigenous people of a country who are studying in that particular country.

For African students living in Africa, it might not be possible to get access to federal loans, except if you have become a citizen of that country.

However, there are international loan options available to you that are equally effective. Examples include direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, direct grad PLUS, direct parent PLUS, and direct consolidation.

2. Private Student Loans:

Private loans, on the other hand, are offered by private lenders, and African students living in Africa who want to apply for student loans can opt for this option. Examples include undergraduate loans, graduate loans, income share agreements, and career training and trade school loans.

Federal Student Loans                     Vs                    Private Student Loans

Lower interest rates Interest rates are higher
Income-driven repayment plans Fixed repayment plans
Access to federal loan forgiveness programs Does not offer any federal loan forgiveness options.

Loan Options For Africans Living In Africa

Having considered the different types of loans and the loans available to African students living in Africa, let’s now look at some loan service providers that offer international student loans.

1. Prodigy Finance:

Prodigy Finance was founded in 2007 and is a Fintech organization with an office in London, United Kingdom. So far, Prodigy Finance has disbursed over $1.4 billion. The 2022 impact report from Prodigy Finance states that they have served over 28,000 students globally in 850 schools in 150 countries. They do not require any collateral or cosigner.

Supported schools: Prodigy Finance currently supports about 850 schools in 150 different countries.

Maximum amount: the amount to be borrowed is dependent on the school and the course of study but can cover up to 100% of the tuition and living expenses.

Ease of application process: the application process for Prodigy students is online.

Eligibility conditions: The basic requirements to endorse eligibility include:

  • Must be admitted to a school and program in the US, Canada, or the UK supported by Prodigy Financing.
  • Must be willing to study abroad.
  • Must reside in one of the countries supported by Prodigy Financing.

Eligible countries: Prodigy Finance supports about 800 schools offering Master’s courses in the various programs listed above. To find out the list of schools supported by Prodigy Finance, click on this link.

Repayment term: Payment doesn’t start until 6 months after studies if you study abroad on a Prodigy loan. They have a flexible repayment term of 7 to 20 years

Supported programs: Prodigy Finance currently supports programs in Business, STEM, public policy, law, and health science courses. To begin the Prodigy application process, click here. 

Interest rate: the minimum annual percentage rate (APR) they offer is 11.18%. Individual rates differ according to the circumstances, the loan amount, and the term. The average APR for student loans is 14.88%.

2. Lendwise

Lendwise is a private loan provider in the U.K. They also offer loans to international students. This means that African students living in Africa can apply for international student loans. They are also committed to providing education aid by offering loans to U.K. residents to help fund their postgraduate, short courses, or professional qualifications in top schools in the U.K. They also do not require a guarantor or cosigner.

Supported schools: Lendwise supports schools in the U.K.

Maximum amount: Students can borrow from $5,000 to as much as $100,000, but terms and conditions apply.

Ease of application process: the application process is equally online. To begin the application process, click this link.

Eligibility condition:  As an international student who wants to apply for a loan, you are to meet the following conditions:

  • PDF of your Local credit report dated in the last 30 days after submitting your application
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Postgraduate students must be between the ages of 23 and 25.

To learn more about the eligibility criteria, click here.

Eligible countries: Lendwise offers loans to U.K. residents; however, other African or international candidates can equally apply for loans if they have an offer from a U.K. university.

What do the loans cover? Lendwise loans primarily cover tuition fees. However, a small maintenance fee can be included and disbursed into the student’s account when they start the course.

Repayment term: The repayment period is 10 years.

Supported programs:  Lendwise supports postgraduate programs in the U.K. To learn more about the schools and programs they support, click this link.

Interest rate: They have a fixed interest rate that ranges from 7% to 12%. The interest rate differs based on the type of loan you are applying for.

3. Earnest

Earnest is also a Fintech company with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. It was founded in 2013. As of 2021, Earnest was reported to have refinanced $14.5 billion in student loan debt. Important details Afircan students need to know about Earnest are listed below:

Supported schools: to learn more about the supported schools, click here 

Maximum amount: The loan amount offered by Earnest is $1,000 up to $138,500. But it depends on the type of loan you are applying for. There is also no application fee.

Ease of application process: the application process is online.

Eligibility countries: students from Canada, India, Mexico, or South Korea may not need a cosigner. But Earnest is also open to other international students.

Eligible conditions: to be eligible for an Earnest loan, you should meet these conditions:

  • Have a cosigner with a minimum 3-year credit history.
  • Have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Must not have any bankruptcies.
  • Have at least $35,000 in annual income.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements, click here.

Repayment term: the loan repayment term is between 5 and 15 years.

Supported programs: Undergraduate, graduate, MBA, medical, and law school programs

Interest rate: Earnest has a fixed interest rate of 4.42% to 15.90% with autopay and a variable interest rate of 5.39% to 16.20% with autopay.

4. Ascent Funding:

Ascent Funding is a private loan company that offers loans to students willing to further their education. The loans may be with or without a cosigner. They also offer affordable rates, flexible plans, and up to 1% cash back at graduation, among other benefits. They have their headquarters in San Diego. The vital details African students need to know about ascent funding are below:

Supported schoolsclick this link to see the list of schools supported by Ascent funding.

Maximum amount: Students can borrow from $2,100 to as much as $200,000.

Ease of application process: the application process is equally online. To start an application, click here.

Eligibility conditions: to qualify for the Ascent student loan, you must:

  • Earn or have a cosigner that earns at least $24,000 per year
  • The above must have at least two years of credit history.
  • As an international student, you must have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident as a cosigner.

Note that loans are available to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, DACA students, and international students. To learn more about the eligibility conditions, click here.

Eligible countries: they provide loans to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, DACA students, and international students (this also includes African students).

Repayment term: the repayment term ranges from 5 years to as much as 15 years.

Supported programs: they currently support undergraduates, MBAs, medical science, law, and general graduate school programs.

Interest rate: cosigned loans have a fixed interest rate that starts from 4.48% to 15.51% and a variable rate of 5.94% to 15.83%, including the 0.25% autopay discount.

5. Quorum:

Due to the increasing cost of education, Quorum student loans provide a credit line that covers your books, food, rent, and tuition fees. With a rate that ranges from 11.25% to 12.25% APR and over $1 million in international student loans made in 2022, it shows they are one of the best options today.

The Quorum Federal Credit Union only covers student loans for students who are studying in the USA. However, if you are an international student that is studying in the US, then you may apply to get the private student loan option from Quorum as long as you meet the requirement.

Note that international students can borrow up to $75,000 with a repayment term of 20 or 25 years.

QUORUM LOAN APPLICATION PROCESS:

The Quorum private student loan requires a long processing period. This is because it involves reviewing the documents and also waiting for the university to approve the loan amount. Moreover, you will be getting updates via your email address during the process.

The information you will need to complete the application successfully is:

  • Your Personal information (such as name, date of birth, and social security number)
  • Your reference’s personal info (Note that the reference cannot be a co-borrower.)
  • Information on income
  • The information on the school you enrolled in
  • The amount you need for the current semester

If you are applying with a co-borrower, then you must be with them at the time of application, as they also need to provide the same kind of information.

Lastly, note that you do not have to be a member of the Credit union to start the application, but the borrower must be a member to receive funding. Visit the Quorum Federal Credit Union website for membership information.

QUORUM ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS:

To be eligible for the Quorum Student Loan,

  • you must be enrolled in a degree program at an approved school
  • you must also be a member of Quorum Federal Credit Union.

However, you can apply for the student loan without being a member of the credit union, but you must be a member before you can receive the funds. Be sure to review all eligibility requirements.

THE QUORUM INTEREST RATES: 

  • Fixed interest loan rates: 4.74%–11.74% APR
  • Variable-interest loans: 3.25%–9.99% APR.
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