How to Get a Student Loan for Housing as an International Student
A college degree can turn out to be a costly affair for most students who want to pursue higher education in the U.S. It is not just the high tuition fee that is to be taken into account, either. For many students studying in the U.S. one of the most costly expenses is housing.
Whether you go for an on-campus lodging or an off-campus apartment, both the housing options are going to cost you a pretty good amount. However, a good student loan for housing can solve your housing problem.
The Cost of Student Housing
Studying at a US university, you will have to choose between on-campus and off-campus housing, both of which have their own pros and cons. In most states, the estimated yearly cost of living off-campus for a student ranges between $7000 and $10,000. However, off-campus living can still be cheaper than on-campus boarding, especially if the university is situated in a small city or far from the main city. On the other hand, if the University is located right in the middle of a pricey city like New York, it would probably be better to go for on-campus living which may be cheaper and more convenient.
How to Pay For Student Housing?
Before starting college, it is important to make a concrete plan as to how you are going to pay for your tuition as well as accommodation for the duration of the college course. You can go for one of the following methods:
Out of Pocket
The easiest way is, of course, to just pay for your housing out of your savings or by borrowing money from your parents. If you can afford to do that, there is obviously no need to look for any other source.
Many universities in the US offer scholarships to their brightest and most meritorious students. Scholarships are a great way to save money as winning a scholarship will mean automatic waiver of full or a part of your tuition fees. That money can then be used by you to pay for the housing.
With Personal Loans
For those who cannot go with either of the above two options, personal loans are the best bet. Just like a personal student loan can be taken to pay for the course fees, a similar personal loan can also be taken to pay the rent for your duration of the course.
However, while native US students can easily get a loan through the federal student aid program of the US government, the same is not applicable for F1 visa holders who will not be able to take benefit of this program.
Why Most Lenders Won’t Work With International Students?
Getting a student loan for housing becomes particularly difficult for international students who come to study in the US universities on an F1 or H1B visa. The reason why lenders don’t want to work with international students is primarily that most international students apply for huge loans which will take several years to pay back. However, their visas are valid for only a few years, putting the lender at an automatic risk of default from the student.
The law governing student loans is such that the loan needs to be paid back at all costs and cannot be discharged even in case of bankruptcy. The only exception is that if the student leaves the country, the lender does not have any recourse to compel repayment. This clause makes the lenders even more wary of lending to international students with whom there is a high probability that they are going to leave the country as soon as their course is complete.
Moreover, the US government is now directly granting most of the student loans, which is also a reason why lenders do not prefer to entertain international students.
How Can Stilt Help?
If you are worried about paying off your tuition fees or housing expenses and are in need of a quick and effective financing solution, then Stilt is your one-stop shop for all your needs.
To apply for a loan with Stilt, all you need to do is fill out a loan application form with all the necessary documents. Once the document verification is complete, Stilt sends a promissory note for your signature. As soon as the signed promissory note is received, the funds are disbursed.
To be eligible for a loan from Stilt, you just need a valid visa, your address in any state in the US, a US bank account, a US personal phone number and of course, physical presence in the US.
5 Tips to Save Money On While Living At School
Check Out the University’s Financial Aid Center
Most universities have a financial aid center where you can get guidance about off-campus or on-campus living expenses. You will also be able to get a lot of information on how to pay for the housing.
Find and Use Student co-ops
Low-income students who are looking for affordable housing options form small co-ops in and around the University. These co-ops can be located with some research and you may even find students from similar nationalities or cultural background in these co-ops.
Search for Roommates
If you have chosen off-campus accommodation, an easy way to save money is to have a roommate. You can post an ad for a roommate online or just spread the word around. Alternatively, you can also move into an apartment which already has students living in it to divide the costs.
Become a Resident Assistant
A Resident Assistant’s main job is to oversee dormitories. For this, they get their own room in a dormitory free of cost. However, to gain this position, one must have very good grades.
Choose the Right Dorm
American universities tend to offer different dormitory options. Some buildings are newer and more updated than others. Some offer amenities other buildings do not. And these things tend to make a difference in the price tag for room and board. If you’re looking to save money on housing, consider living in an older, less-equipped dorm to reduce your housing costs.
Housing costs in college can turn out to be an unnecessary cause of worry if you do not plan for it. You can ensure that you choose the most affordable housing option by conducting thorough research about the available options before actually moving into one. Cutting down on housing expenses can help you lower your student debt but still, a student loan for housing with Stilt can make your life much easier, especially when living in a foreign land.