There are many times when you as a student wonder how you will get the finances and needed resources for your schooling especially when you come from a poor background or you want to further your education.
Then you have heard of student loans and how other students like you apply for it, and then get it, in which they use the loans to fund their schooling and later on at the agreed time, they pay back the loans; sometimes they do this installmentally, and sometimes in full payment.
Now the question is; How to apply and get a student loan to study abroad? How do you do this? Where do you apply for this loan? And what’s the surety that you will surely get this loan you applied for?
To know how to apply and get a student loan to study abroad, you need to follow some important, but critical procedures. Maybe, you want to get a student loan to study in America, The UK or Canada, and you are thinking it is hopeless or far-fetched for you due to your financial status, or immigration/citizenship status, you need to know that they are options available that will most likely work for you if you follow the steps involved efficiently.
Keep reading to know what you have to do on how to apply and get a student loan to study abroad successfully and quickly as possible.
Firstly, Why Should You Study Abroad and Why Does It Benefit You as a Student?
Studying abroad can offer a one of a kind experience that you won’t find in the country you are residing in. It allows you to learn a language, gain insights into cultures and gives you an edge when searching for jobs in the future.
Many students from universities choose to spend a year abroad especially if they are studying a language. However there are opportunities for students in diverse fields to also have an experience. This could involve enrolling in a full time university program abroad and participating in a study program as part of your degree.
When considering studying whether it’s for a period or for the entire duration of your higher education, it’s important to consider the financial aspect. Tuition fees, living and travel costs can differ significantly.
Don’t worry! Whether you need a loan for studies abroad or a grant to cover specific aspects of your education, there are options available. Keep reading to discover all the information you need on how to apply and get a student loan to study abroad successfully
About Student Loans
Student loans are an option for individuals who’re unable to secure grants. According to government data, more than £17 billion is provided annually in the form of loans to support 1.3 million students in England.
These loans can be used for covering tuition fees and living expenses, and individuals facing challenges such as disability, low income or childcare responsibilities may be eligible for assistance. Repayment of the loan starts once your annual earnings surpass £27,295.
Opting for a loan to finance your studies abroad could potentially be one of the decisions you make in life. Numerous studies indicate that students who seek abroad education are highly sought after by employers because they possess qualities such as adaptability, mindedness and effective cross cultural communication skills.
If you’re concerned about the affordability of studying abroad, there are options available including university exchange programs, student loans and grants that do not require repayment.
How To Apply And Get a Student Loan To Study Abroad
The following are ways on how to apply and get a student loan to study abroad:
- Getting Loans from the Student Loan Company (SLC)
Loans for UK residents who want to study are offered through the Student Loan Company (SLC) which is a non profit organization owned by the UK government.
The Student Loans Company (SLC) is responsible for overseeing loans and grants for students attending colleges and universities in the UK even if they study abroad as part of their UK degree. Keep in mind that there are requirements to meet in order to be eligible and if you intend to spend your entire degree period you may not be eligible for an SLC loan.
Usually, these loans can help with paying tuition fees as well as covering your maintenance expenses which include your daily living costs.
There are also some loans if you have dependents, disabilities or long term health conditions. We won’t delve into the specifics of these loan types, and you can find more information on the student finance pages provided by the UK Government.
It’s important to note that certain aspects of student finance and university fees vary depending on which country in the UK you’re from, and where your university is located. This means that rules, processes and fees may differ. For instance, Student Finance England (SFE) handles loans for individuals in England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their regulations regarding certain aspects of the process.
You can easily access links to the respective student finance organizations for each country in the UK on the SLC ‘About’ page. If you’re unsure about which devolved organization is relevant to your situation, there is an introduction provided as well in the page.
Keep in mind that SLC loans are typically only available to individuals enrolled in courses arranged by a UK university. If you are enrolled in a program at a university in the UK that involves an overseas component such as completing a placement as part of a medical or dental qualification or studying a foreign language, you should still be able to apply for financial support from SLC.
- Using the Turing Scheme
The Turing Scheme operates similarly to Erasmus (now known as Erasmus+ since 2014). Schools, universities and colleges participating in the Turing Scheme can access grants that enable their students to participate in study or work placements.
These types of grants provide families with a means to cover expenses related to studying without resorting solely to bank loans.
The Turing Scheme is designed as a grant which means that any funds received do not need to be repaid. To explain it further, it’s basically free money. However, individuals are unable to apply for it because all applications must be made through a registered education provider. Additionally unlike Erasmus+, the funding provided by the Turing Scheme does not cover tuition fees or travel expenses unless the applicants come from very poor backgrounds.
However, there are still funds for individuals to cover expenses such as food, books, learning materials, and living costs while pursuing education abroad.
The Turing Scheme extends its reach to.
- Pupils aged 14 and above who are enrolled in a school within the UK or a British overseas territory.
- Students currently enrolled in the university.
- Graduates who have completed their education within the past year.
- Learners engaged in further education and vocational training.
You can refer to the eligibility list to verify your qualification.
For education placements lasting between four and eight weeks students can receive either £120 or £136 per week depending on the cost of living at their chosen destination. If placements exceed eight weeks monthly funding options of either £335 or £380 are available.
There is also assistance for individuals with educational needs or disabilities, as well as those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds to cover travel costs. As opportunities get away geographically farther, funding amounts ranging from £20 to £1,360 is available.
- Applying for Federal Loans:
In the United States, individuals have the opportunity to apply for government backed loans. These loans, referred to as federal loans, offer repayment options, benefits and low interest rates. However, it’s important to note that only citizens of the United States or foreign residents, with an Alien Registration Number are eligible to apply.
What about Grants and Government Funding? How Available are They For You?
Once you finish your studies and begin earning income it’s crucial to remember that you must repay the student loans you borrowed. Nevertheless there are grants provided by the UK government that you might be eligible for.
You may qualify for these grants if;
- You are enrolled in a course at a university or college in the UK.
- You are studying a course at a university or college in the UK.
- You take part in a study or internship through programs such as Erasmus+, Turing or Taith.
- If you are studying abroad as a medical or dental student.
Government grants differ from student loans since they usually don’t need to be repaid. Yet, you should remember these supports do usually have limitations. Travel expenses, health insurance, visas, and necessities are often the things they cover. They’re generally not for paying your education.
Do note, income plays a role in eligibility. If your income is low, chances are you might get assistance. This way, education becomes feasible for more individuals.
How Are Student Loans Repaid?
For student loans, repayment kicks in six months after graduating, and this is commonly termed as the grace period. The terms of repayment often depend on the loan’s size and generally range between 5 to 10 years. Some countries may offer the possibility of extending this repayment period for up to 15 years. Certain nations might allow you to stretch your payback time to a full 15 years.
If you’ve borrowed a student loan to cover your tuition fees, you’ll only need to start repaying the loan once you complete your studies and begin earning an income level known as the ‘repayment threshold’. Like in the UK, it’s possible to loan up to £8,200. You start paying it back once your yearly salary goes over £21,000 post graduation.
Student loans from loan companies like SLC in the UK accrue interest at a fixed rate, which can be competitive compared to private bank loans for education. Once you graduate from the university you applied for or if you quit the course you were studying or leave prior to graduation for any reason, you will need to pay back the loan you borrowed in full, plus any accrued interest.
Loan repayments only start once you reach an income threshold, which varies depending on the time you took out your loan. If you’re employed and meet the minimum income requirement, your employer will deduct the repayment amount from your salary before it gets deposited into your bank account and handle the loan repayment on your behalf.
Self employed individuals need to report their income to the company they took the loan from like the SLC and make repayments alongside their tax payments. If you stop earning, repayments also pause until you start earning
What Are Your Other Options
Even if you are not eligible for some specific loans you applied for, there are other options to finance your study abroad.
Apart from government education, loans, and grants for studying abroad, most universities provide scholarships, bursaries and grants for particular subjects to help students explore international experiences.
The availability of these opportunities may differ between universities and not all of them are highly competitive based on the field of study. It’s always worth inquiring about these options to take advantage of any opportunities for support.
There are also competitions to help students with funding and they include:
- The Global Study Awards: This competition is jointly organized by the British Council where individuals aged 18 and above can apply for a prize of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees for studying
- The Fulbright Awards: These awards offer postgraduate scholarships in the United States for UK students who have achieved or expect a 2:1 in their degree.
There are also scholarships, for students who are pursuing undergraduate studies, in the United States. Some examples of these scholarships include the Butex study abroad scholarships and the John Speak Trust language scholarships.
- Travel grants for students
If students who normally live in England spend half of their studying terms at a foreign university or college or engage in unpaid research at an overseas institution, they may have the opportunity to apply for a travel grant from the government.
The amount they receive through this grant depends on their household income, which includes their income as well as that of their parents, guardians or partners. The crucial threshold is set at £39,796.
Initially, students are responsible for paying £303 of their travel expenses, but if the household income is £39,796 or less, the remaining travel costs will be reimbursed. For every £8.73 earned above £39,796 annually by the household members, the travel grant amount will be reduced by £1.
This funding is also accessible for dental students who study abroad or participate in placements within the UK. You can find eligibility criteria here.
It’s important to note that unlike the Turing Scheme (another program), students are required to keep a record of their travel expenses (such as bus tickets or train fares), and submit reimbursement claims using a government provided form specifically designed for travel grants. Once approved, the reimbursed funds will be deposited directly into their personal bank accounts.
Don’t worry if you can’t find any grants or if the idea of accumulating an amount of student debt doesn’t sit well with you. There are alternatives to make studying abroad affordable for you. Even making adjustments to your lifestyle can help you save money that could be better invested in your endeavours.
- Learn how to budget
It may seem like an easy concept, but this is a skill that many of us lack. According to the Financial Conduct Authority, a percentage of adults in the UK lack confidence when it comes to managing their finances. Taking the time to establish boundaries and adhering to them can truly make a difference.
- Tuition-free universities
Several European Union (EU) countries offer tuition education for EU nationals. However due to Brexit, the UK no longer has access to these fee courses like other European countries do.
Nevertheless there are countries that don’t charge tuition fees at all for their public universities—regardless of the students nationality. These include Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic (provided that the courses are taught in Czech).
- University jobs
From working at libraries and canteens to bars and shops, most students are aware that university jobs can help fund study opportunities. While these jobs may not always be fulfilling per se, keeping your goal in mind will certainly serve its purpose.
What You Need to Know
Attending university is not a cheap thing to do whether you choose to study within your country or overseas.
Typically you will be required to cover the costs of tuition fees along with your expenses such as food and accommodation. If you meet the criteria for a student loan or grant, these options can assist you in managing aspects of your education.
Grants unlike loans from companies like SLC do not require repayment. Loans from loan companies like SLC are only repaid once you reach an earning threshold. This is different from taking a loan where repayment is fixed on a schedule regardless of employment status.
Participating in grant programs such as the Turing Scheme can help you avoid accumulating debt while studying abroad. This can make life easier for families with financial resources who cannot afford to send their children overseas. If you are ineligible for this scheme, there are also options to finance your study abroad experience.
Other ways to fund your studying abroad include working part time during the schooling term or finding employment during holidays. Many individuals also opt for a gap year after completing school to save up some money before starting their university program.
If you plan on finding work in the UK, it’s worth reaching out to your university as they may have useful resources available. Also, local Facebook groups at your destination can provide job opportunities if you’ll be studying abroad.
Another option to gain experience while keeping costs down is to explore the possibility of applying to universities in countries that offer heavily subsidized tuition even for international students.
So, make sure to utilize what is working for you do matter how small it is, because of course, other opportunities will be coming your way as well. So, it will be worthwhile to use what works for you now to work towards your goal on how to apply and get a student loan to study abroad.