The UK is a great place to live and study for international students, and students coming from abroad may also be able to use a loan to pay for tuition fees and living costs. However, the application process for student loans for international university enrolees is different from that in the UK. Student loans for UK citizens (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) and those that have lived as a ‘ordinary resident’ for a minimum of three years prior to studies, are provided by the government owned Student Loans Company (SLC).
Anyone not fitting the criteria may find themselves turned down for a UK student loan from the Student Loans Company (SLC).
EU students looking to study in the UK
Students from EU countries looking to enrol in full-time further education in the UK may be eligible for a loan from the Students Loan Company, although this will depend on personal circumstances. A loan will help with tuition fees and even ‘maintenance’, or living costs. New EU students starting a course on, or after 1 September 2012, will be eligible to apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. This will prevent students travelling from EU countries having to pay fees upfront.
As an EU student, there are different places to apply for a loan depending on where you are planning on studying. If you are looking to go to a university in England, you should contact the Student Loans Company. For universities in Scotland, the Student Awards Agency will be the point of contact.
Students from countries outside of the European Union
Loans for international students from outside of the EU may be best acquired from the government of the country from which you reside. It may be possible to get a loan from a company separate from the Student Loans Company in the UK; however, the interest rates are likely to be nowhere near as attractive as they are in your homeland.
Why are you more likely to receive better interest rates in your home country?
Many lenders providing student loans for international students will assess the ‘risks’ of lending before any agreement is made. Living in a country with your family for your whole life will go more in your favour when obtaining credit than applying for a loan in a new country.
International student loans from governments
In certain countries, students are encouraged to study abroad and are offered loans, bursaries and grants to do so. If you are interested in studying in the UK, it may be a good idea to speak to the appropriate office in your country to see if you are eligible for financial help.
International student loans from banks and other organisations
Depending on your country of residence and individual circumstances, there may be a number of international student loan options at your disposal. Be sure to use the internet to shop around and search for the best deals at the lowest possible rate of interest. You should also be sure to use a trusted lender.