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Prodigy Finance private student loans for international students review
Pay for a law, engineering, business or public policy graduate degree with these student loans for noncitizens only.
International students don’t have a lot of options when it comes to paying for graduate school in the US. You can’t qualify for federal aid if you’re in the US only for school, and most private lenders require you to at least have a green card — or ask you to apply with a cosigner who does. Luckily, you do have some options and Prodigy Finance is one them — if you’re getting a business, engineering, law or public policy degree and live in one of the counties it serves.
Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.
First, am I eligible?
To qualify for a student loan from Prodigy Finance, you only need to meet two basic requirements: attend an eligible business, engineering, law or public policy program and be a resident or citizen of an eligible country. Permanent US residents or citizens aren’t eligible, and loans are only offered in some US states.
You can find out if your school or program is eligible by visiting Prodigy Finance’s student loan page and searching for your school name.
Prodigy Finance doesn’t have any hard credit score or income requirements since it deals with several different nationalities. However, you’re required to submit a copy of your credit report, and it helps your application if you’re employed when you apply. You’ll also need to prove that you have enough savings or other sources of financing to cover school costs that Prodigy can’t.
You can qualify for a Prodigy Finance loan if you’re a non-US resident from one of the following countries:
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
You can’t qualify if you’re a noncitizen resident of one of the following states:
Noncitizens can still be eligible for federal aid
You don’t necessarily need to be a permanent resident to be eligible for federal aid, which is typically the least expensive option for paying for college. The Department of Education and most private lenders recommend that you fill out the FAFSA before applying for private student loans if:
You’re a US national.
You’re a US permanent resident with Form I-551, I-151 or I-551C.
You have an I-94 showing that you’re a refugee, Cuban-Haitian entrant, conditional entrant (if issued before April 1, 1980), parolee or have been granted asylum.
You have a T-visa.
Your parent has a T-1 nonimmigrant status visa.
You’re a battered immigrant-qualified alien.
You’re a citizen of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands or Palau (options might be limited).
At this time, DACA recipients aren’t eligible for federal aid but they might be able to qualify for state financial aid.
How do Prodigy Finance student loans work?
Prodigy Finance is a semi-direct lender that partially funds its student loans through investors. It’s loans are designed specifically for international students, so this loan isn’t for you if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident planning to attend a program in the US. It’s also only for graduate students, so undergrads can’t apply.
How much funding you’re eligible for depends on your school. Typically, Prodigy Finance can only cover a certain percentage of your school’s cost of attendance — including things like textbooks, housing and transportation. To find out how much you can borrow, search for your school on Prodigy Finance’s student loan page and click Loan Info to go to the school’s Prodigy Finance page. Here, you’ll also get details on rates, when you need to apply and additional requirements you need to meet.
How much do Prodigy Finance student loans cost?
Like everything else with Prodigy Finance, your loan cost depends on your school. Some require a 2.5% administrative fee, which you pay back along with the loan. Others are free to apply.
When it comes to interest, your options are limited. Prodigy Finance only offers variable interest rates, which can go up and down over time and have the potential to go lower — or higher — than your standard fixed rate option. This means that your loan repayments will also go up and down, depending on your rate.
Currently, variable interest rates range from 5% to 8.5% (
7.53% to 12.03%
APR). However, you might not always pay a rate in that range. That’s because Prodigy Finance calculates your rate by first giving you a smaller interest rate, called a margin. Each month, it adds your margin to a rate set by a third party that reflects trends in the lending market — like banks charging higher or lower interest rates. Prodigy Finance uses the 3-month LIBOR rate, which changes every three months.
No matter how crazy the 3-month LIBOR rate gets — say there’s some kind of international financial catastrophe — you won’t ever pay more than 25%.
What are my repayment options?
Prodigy only offers one standard repayment plan, where you make the same repayments each month. You can, however, adjust your monthly repayment and the overall cost of your loan by choosing a longer or shorter loan term.
Prodigy Finance offers terms from 7 years to 20 years, though not all are available at all schools. A shorter loan term lowers the overall cost of your loan but increases how much you pay each month. A longer loan term increases your total loan cost but lowers your monthly repayments. To get the best of both worlds, try to choose a term that gives you the highest monthly repayments you think you can afford.
If you’re a full-time student, you won’t have to make full repayments until six months after you graduated. Part-time students, however, are on the hook for repayments three months after their loan is disbursed.
But just because your payments aren’t immediately due doesn’t you have to wait to start making repayments. Paying as soon as early as possible helps you avoid interest capitalization. With interest capitalization, your lender takes all the interest that accumulated while you were in school and during your grace period and adds it to your loan’s principal.
This makes your loan more expensive in two ways: You’re paying back a larger amount and your interest payments are higher. You don’t get to extend your loan term after your interest capitalizes, so you’ll end up paying higher monthly payments too. To avoid this, you can make repayments on your interest while you’re still in school.
Repaying your Prodigy Finance loan from abroad
Prodigy Finance doesn’t have any restrictions on where you can make repayments from. The only requirement is that you repay your US student loan in US dollars. You have three options when it comes to making your repayments.
Direct bank transfer. This could be your easiest option if you have a bank account in US dollars — otherwise you’ll have to convert your funds first. If you’re paying internationally, allow for enough time for the transfer to go through — sometimes these transfers can take a month. With this option, you can set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about it each month.
Flywire. Prodigy Finance recommends borrowers that don’t earn US dollars use the Flywire payment portal. It allows you to make your payment in your currency and Flywire converts it before making the transfer. With this option, you can pay directly from your account or with a debit or credit card.
International money transfers. You can also send your funds through a money transfer company like TransferWise, though this option is typically more expensive. Make sure whatever provider you choose allows transfers to the UK.
Compare more private student loan providers
Updated October 20th, 2019
Top reasons to consider Prodigy Finance
Noncitizens OK. This is one of your few financing options if you don’t have a green card in the US.
No credit score required. Prodigy Finance looks at your credit report, but it doesn’t have any strict credit score cutoffs.
No cosigner necessary. Unlike most private student loan options for international students, Prodigy Finance doesn’t require a cosigner that’s a US citizen.
Pay from any country. You don’t need to have a US bank account to make your repayments.
Why you might want to look elsewhere
Only for specific graduate programs. You must be enrolled in an eligible business, law, public policy or engineering program to qualify.
Only for noncitizens. If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident, this loan is not for you.
Not available for every country. You’ll need to be a resident or citizen of an eligible country to qualify.
Doesn’t cover your whole degree. You can’t rely on Prodigy Finance to pay for the entire cost of your program — and you’ll need to prove you have other sources of financing.
What do customers say about Prodigy Finance?
Mostly good things, though customers haven’t said much about Prodigy Finance online. This isn’t a surprise since it only works with a very specific group of students. Since it’s based in the UK, it doesn’t have a page with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It has a Trustpilot page, but no customer reviews.
Most mentions on online forums are questions about whether or not Prodigy Finance is legit. Borrowers generally were enthusiastic, saying it offered relatively low rates and came with a hands-off application process — until it came to the documentation.
One borrower from India mentioned that running the credit report can take the longest, but he wasn’t sure if this was the case for all countries. Another said the whole process was a pain and also pointed out that you might need to pay extra fees to transfer your repayments internationally.
What to expect when signing up
Before you get started, make sure you have other sources of financing to cover the rest of your school’s expenses and that you meet Prodigy Finance’s eligibility requirements.
How to check your eligibility
Go to the Prodigy Finance site, hover over Get a Loan in the main navigation bar and click on Student Loan.
Scroll down and enter your school’s name under Find your school. If it doesn’t pop up, double check by hitting click here to see a full list of eligible schools and programs.
Click Loan Info under your school’s name to get more information about eligible programs, how much you can borrow, fees and repayment options.
Scroll down to the heading Are there nationalities Prodigy cannot lend to? and click restricted nationalities. If you’re a national of one of the restricted countries, you aren’t eligible to go forward.
Once you’re sure you’re eligible, Prodigy Finance recommends that you gather some necessary documents. If any aren’t in English, you’ll need to get an official translation as well. You’ll want to do this ahead of time because Prodigy Financial only gives borrowers two weeks to submit documents after they’ve been preapproved.
Proof of identity. Prodigy Finance accepts passports and driver’s licenses as proof of your identity. If you have multiple passports, you’ll need to have all of them on hand.
Proof of admission. Most students submit their acceptance letters or any other letter clearly showing that you’ve been accepted to an eligible program.
A credit report. To find directions on how to get a credit report in your country, go to Prodigy Finance’s FAQ page and scroll down to What is a Credit Report and how do I get one? Scroll down to your country and either click the link or follow the directions.
Proof of address. Utility bills, bank statements and official government documents are all acceptable as long as they clearly state your name and address.
Proof of income. Prodigy Finance asks for three months of pay stubs and an official bank statement showing that you received these funds.
Proof of savings. Some applicants need to show they have a savings to cover the rest of the college expenses. You can upload statements from a savings or investment account, have a family member complete a form stating that they’ll contribute to your education costs or submit a receipt from payments you’ve already made to your school.
Proof of scholarship or company sponsorship. If you have scholarships, any official document with the scholarship or company’s letterhead stating how much you’ve been awarded is accepted.
A financial aid form. Some schools require students to fill out a financial aid form. If you have it, include it in your application.
How to apply
Now that you know you’re eligible and have your documents, the hard part is over. You’re ready to start the actual application.
Go to Prodigy Finance’s site and click Get Started in the upper righthand corner, then click Apply Now.
Select the statement that best describes your situation and click Next.
Create an account be entering your name and email and creating a password. Read the disclosures and check the box before clicking Create Your Account.
Check your email and click the link to verify your email address and get started on your application.
Click Start a New Loan Application.
Read the authorizations and check I agree to the above for all loan applications made to Prodigy Finance before clicking Continue.
Follow the directions to complete the application. This step should only take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Wait for Prodigy Finance to let you know if you’re preapproved. If you get the green light, Prodigy Finance gives you details about what loan amount and rates you might qualify for.
Upload and submit the required documents. If it’s taking you more than two weeks to get all of your documents, reach out to Prodigy Finance to ask for an extension.
Wait for Prodigy Finance to review your documents and ask for additional information if necessary. Typically, this takes between three and five business days.
Wait for Prodigy Finance to coordinate your loan disbursement with your school and send you an email with your loan agreement. You’ll typically sign your loan documents while you’re on campus before classes start.
Step-by-step application with screenshots
More about Prodigy Finance
Prodigy Finance was founded by three international MBA students who had experienced first-hand how difficult it is to get funding from abroad. It’s a UK-based company, though it also offers financing for international students studying across Europe and the US.
Its investors are often alumni and universities that want to support international students while also making a profit. Prodigy Finance offers both private student loans to attend school and refinancing to save on paying off loans after you complete school. So far, Prodigy Finance has funded over 10,300 student loans.
Prodigy Finance is for a very specific group of students: international engineering, law, business and public policy graduate students. You can’t be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify and you’ll need to go to an eligible program. But it could be a good option for students who meet the eligibility requirements and don’t know a US citizen or permanent resident willing to cosign their loan — or just don’t want a cosigner.
Prodigy Finance allows you to apply between 8 and 10 months before your program’s start date. The sooner you start your application the better — you’ll have more time to get together your documents and make up for unexpected roadblocks.
You can, as long as you’re the resident of an eligible state and attending an eligible program. You aren’t eligible if you live in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington or Wyoming.
You also can’t use your student loan to pay for school in a country where you’ve lived for more than one year.
If you’re having trouble getting a credit report after following the directions on Prodigy Finance’s site, you can also ask your bank for a letter of good standing. This shows that you haven’t had any major financial trouble with your bank and proves you have a strong financial standing.
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