Mpower Financing student loans for international students review
Get financing to pay for your last two years of school — no credit score or cosigner required.
finder.com’s rating: 3.0 / 5.0
- Best for international students without a credit score or cosigner.
- Pick something else if you're a freshman or sophomore — it's only open to upperclassmen.
7.52% to 14.98%
Max. Loan Amount
Min. Credit Score
Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 1,000 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.
Mpower is among the few student loan options out there for international students who don’t have an eligible cosigner. But it’s also open to DACA recipients or any other students who simply don’t have a credit score or creditworthy cosigner. In addition to career support, this lender provides a 1.5% interest rate discount if you sign up for autopay after graduating.
However, its application is slightly more involved than competitors. And it’s not available to students who have more than two years left of schooling. You’ll also get hit with an origination fee. And not every school works with Mpower, so you’ll need to check its list of eligible programs to see if it’s available to you.
Still on the fence? See our list of other lenders that might be a better fit.
First, am I eligible?
Eligibility for an Mpower student loan is open to:
- US citizens, permanent residents, DACA recipients or those with or planning to get an F-1 visa.
- Students in the last two years of their program.
- Students attending a partner university.
Find out if your school is a partner university in the first step of the application process. If you type in the name of your university and it’s not listed, it’s not an Mpower partner.
How do Mpower student loans work?
Mpower Financing is a direct lender that provides private student loans to international students in the final two years of their academic program. Instead of looking at your credit rating and personal finances, Mpower judges your application based on your academic success and earning potential.
You don’t need to be an international student to qualify, however. US citizens and DACA recipients who need money for college and don’t have a cosigner could also benefit from Mpower’s alternative way of assessing your creditworthiness.
Loan amounts range from $2,001 to $25,000, and you may have up to 10 years to pay off your balance. You can pay it off early with no penalties.
The entire application is online, but you may have to provide more documents than your average private student loan provider.
How much does an Mpower student loan cost?
You’ll need to consider two main factors when applying for an Mpower student loan: the interest rate and origination fee. Mpower loans come with APRs of 7.52% to 14.98%, which includes an origination fee. Its rates are fixed, meaning they won’t change over the life of your loan.
The origination fee is a one-time fee equal to 5% of your loan amount, which Mpower adds to your loan balance when it issues the loan. For example, if you borrow $10,000 from Mpower, you’re on the hook for $10,500.
Does Mpower offer any discounts?
Yes. Mpower offers an interest rate discount of 1.5% to borrowers who’ve graduated and made at least six consecutive on-time repayments using autopay. If you’re late on a repayment after you earn the discount, however, you lose it.
What are my repayment options?
Unlike other student loan providers, Mpower offers one option: interest-only repayments. With this type of payment plan, you’re required to make repayments on the interest that adds up on your loan while you’re in school and six months after leaving.
While interest-only repayments might be difficult to afford if you don’t have a job while you’re in school, it can also save you money in the long run. That’s because once you start making full repayments, providers typically add any interest that added up during your grace period to your loan principal. In other words, you’d start paying interest on a larger amount and would likely end up with higher monthly repayments.
Does Mpower offer deferment or forbearance options?
Yes, though it doesn’t advertise specifics. If you’re having trouble paying off your loan or think you might in the future, reach out to your loan servicer to discuss your options.
Top reasons to consider Mpower
- No credit score required. You don’t need a credit history to qualify for an Mpower student loan.
- No cosigner necessary. In fact, you can’t bring on a cosigner to help your application.
- Build US credit score. Repaying your Mpower loan can help you build your US credit score, helping you to qualify for credit cards, personal loans and mortgages in the future.
- Visa support. You can ask Mpower to write you a visa support letter if you need help with approval.
- Rate discount. Mpower knocks up to 1.5% off your interest rate after you graduate simply for repaying your loan on time with autopay.
- Career support. Get help writing your resume and potentially connecting with a paid internship or full-time job in the US through Mpower.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
- Only for the final two years of school. Mpower can’t help if you’re starting a new program.
- Not all schools eligible. Mpower works with over 350 schools in the US and Canada, but your school may not be eligible — especially if it’s a community college or for-profit institution.
- Origination fee. Most private student loans don’t come with any fees. Mpower’s does.
- Short loan term. Many student loan providers offer 15- or even 20-year loan terms. Mpower caps its loans at 10 years.
- One repayment option. You must make interest-only repayments immediately after getting your loan with Mpower. There’s no option to defer repayments until after you graduate, like with other student loan providers.
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What do customers say about Mpower?
There’s not much online about Mpower Financing — it launched in 2014 and serves a niche audience. It doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau page, let alone rating. It also doesn’t have a page on Trustpilot.
The few mentions of Mpower on online forums like Reddit are mostly unanswered questions about people’s experiences with the lender. One person recommended it to another Reddit user as a last resort for a student who has no credit, has no cosigners and needs emergency funds for school.
What to expect when signing up
Mpower’s application is more involved than your typical student loan application. You can complete it online, but some borrowers say it required a Skype interview.
The first step is completing a short eligibility application. If you’re eligible, Mpower provides a list of documents to prepare and directions for completing the application.
After you submit your application, it can take up to three business days to receive a conditional offer. If you accept that offer, Mpower asks for your documents and what it calls “a short video activity.”
After finalizing your application, you should hear a final decision in up to five business days. Mpower then works with your school to agree on a date to disburse the funds.
How to get started
- Go to the Mpower website.
- Click Check your eligibility.
- Select the statement that best describes your academic situation next to Tell us about yourself, and select where you heard about Mpower before clicking Next.
- Complete the required fields with your school’s name, expected graduation date, email, country of citizenship and loan amount. Find your university by typing its name and selecting it from the list that pops up. If your school doesn’t show up, it’s not eligible.
- Review the instructions and click Continue your application.
- Create a password so that you can come back to your application at any time. Then click Register.
- Follow the directions to complete your application with your personal information, educational background, work experience and financial information. Save it and come back later, if you need more time.
More about Mpower Financing
Founded in 2014, Mpower Financing was founded by Manu Smadja and Mike Davis with the aim of providing a financing option for international students studying in the US. Beyond that, Mpower strives to give international students economic mobility in the United States by helping them build their credit history and offering services to help them become financially literate.
It’s a problem both cofounders had some personal experience with before they started Mpower. Smadja was an international student himself and Davis’s parents were immigrants.
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