Studying abroad can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it comes with a hefty price tag. For many international students, taking out a loan is necessary to cover the costs of tuition, accommodation, and other expenses. However, navigating the complexities of international student loans can be overwhelming. Here are some tips and advice to help make the process easier.

Conduct In-Depth Research

Before taking out a loan, it’s essential to research your options. Many different types of loans are available, each with its terms and conditions. Some loans may have lower interest rates but require a co-signer, while others may not need a co-signer but have higher interest rates. Additionally, some loans may be limited to certain countries or schools. Be sure to research and compare different loans to find the one that’s right for you.

When considering a loan, it’s essential to understand the terms and conditions. This includes the interest rate, repayment period, and fees or charges. Read the fine print carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear. You don’t want to be surprised by unexpected fees or penalties down the road.

Consider your Repayment Options

When you take out a loan, you must consider how to repay it. Some loans may require you to start making payments immediately, while others offer a grace period after graduation. Some loans may offer flexible repayment options, such as income-driven repayment plans. Consider your financial situation and choose a loan with a repayment plan that works for you.

Look for Scholarships and Grants

Taking out a loan should be a last resort. Before applying for a loan, look for scholarships and grants to help cover your expenses. Many organizations offer international students scholarships and grants, so research and use as many as possible.

Build your Credit History

If you’re planning to study abroad, it’s a good idea to start building your credit history early. This can help you qualify for loans with better terms and conditions. One way to build your credit history is to get a credit card and use it responsibly. Be sure to make payments on time and keep your balance low.

Consider a Co-signer

Consider finding a co-signer if you’re having trouble qualifying for a loan. A co-signer agrees to be responsible for the loan if you cannot make payments. A co-signer can help you qualify for a loan with better terms and conditions.

Use a Loan Comparison Website.

Many loan comparison websites can help you compare different loans and find the one that’s right for you. These websites allow you to compare loan options, including interest rates, repayment terms, and other essential details. Using a loan comparison website, you can make an informed decision and select a loan that fits your needs and budget.

Compare Remittance Options for Student Loans.

You don't have to stick with your loan bank to send money overseas to pay your university fees or deposit money in your foreign bank account. Typically, traditional banks charge high margins (4 - 7%) for converting currencies on outward remittance. Also, they may charge hidden fees obscured in fine print, and their process can be slow. The cheapest way to send money abroad would be through websites like ExTravelMoney, which are remittance specialists. They aggregate banks and non-bank remittance providers in India. Compare exchange rates and choose the best remittance option from their network. These platforms charge much lower fees than traditional banks for transferring your money.

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Utilise Student Loans for your Expenses Abroad

To save money when paying for university fees and maintenance expenses abroad, it's best to use a student loan. When transferring money for overseas education and proving the source of funds is from a loan, the government only charges 0.5% TCS (Tax Collected at Source) on transfers above Rs 7 lakhs. However, for other transfers, the TCS rate is 5% above Rs 7 lakhs, which can significantly increase your remittance cost. While TCS can be claimed when filing income tax returns, it's still an upfront expense. By using a student loan, you'll only pay 0.5% TCS, ensuring most funds go to the student's education expenses rather than to pay this tax. In conclusion, taking out an international student loan can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By researching, understanding the terms and conditions, and considering your repayment options, you can find a loan that works for you. Additionally, look for scholarships and build your credit history. Use a loan comparison website to make the process easy, and use websites like ExTravelMoney to find the best remittance option to send your loan amount abroad.