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Students on campus on a sunny dayAs the cost of higher education rises in the US and UK, more students require loans to fund all or part of their studies.

When considering a loan to finance education, be sure to examine carefully all of the terms and conditions of the loan. Explore repayment options, as the conditions of each loan scheme will vary. Interest rates may also add to the total cost of the loan, particularly if it is accrued while you are studying. Although you might find all of the general information about costs and interest rates when enquiring about a particular loan scheme, it is important to read the fine print before signing any agreement.

Types of Loans

There are two types of loans that can be used for US study: student and personal loans. Student loans are designed for the purposes of university study. As long as students are enrolled in higher education (even if they complete one degree and enrol in a second degree), they may defer payment. Interest may accrue during this time, however. Depending on the scheme, payment will likely begin six months after graduation for a US-based loan, regardless of earnings.

Payments on a personal loan typically cannot be deferred. Rather, students or parents begin paying these off during university study. Additionally, the interest rates for personal loans tend to be higher than student loans.

UK-Based Loans

Unfortunately, you will not be able to use your UK student loan from the UK government to fund your studies in the US. However, you may apply for a personal loan from a UK bank. We recommend students and parents first contact their current bank and then shop around at other high street banks and lenders.

Please note a loan from a UK bank will likely be a personal loan rather than a student loan. This means you will need to begin making payments during your studies and that the interest rate will likely be higher than a student loan.

US-Based Loans

The availability of US-based loans for international students is limited. The two exceptions are American or dual citizens (see below) and international students who have a creditworthy US citizen or permanent resident who can co-sign on the loan with them. These students should contact the university's financial aid office for a list of local banks and lenders commonly used by students. Though these loans will have a higher interest rate than US federal loans (below), they will be student loans, meaning you can defer payment until the end of your studies.

Please note, if you (the student) are an American or dual US-UK citizen, you can apply for US federal loans through the FAFSA website. US federal loans generally offer the lowest interest rates and are student loans, meaning you can defer payment until the end of your studies. The financial aid office should have information on how to complete these forms.