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- MPOWER Financing offers student loans to international students pursuing a degree in the U.S. or Canada—even if they don’t have a credit history or cosigner.
- DACA recipients and refugees are also eligible.
- You must be within two years of graduating with your undergraduate or graduate degree.
- Loans can be used to cover cost of living in addition to school tuition.
What we like:
Student loans designed for international students
|Fixed APR||15.01% for undergraduates and 13.98% for graduates|
|Repayment terms||10 years|
|Loan amounts||$2,001 to $100,000 per school year|
International student Manu Smadja and first-generation domestic student Mike Davis both struggled to find help paying for their college expenses when they were in school.
To open up opportunities for U.S. college attendance to other international and domestic students like themselves, they founded MPOWER Financing in 2014.
The Washington, D.C.-based lender offers global citizens who show solid career and academic potential a chance to secure loans for their college expenses.
In this review:
- MPOWER Student Loans Overview
- Eligibility Requirements & Application Process
- Pros & Cons of MPOWER
- Refinancing MPOWER Loans
- Alternatives to Consider
MPOWER Student Loans Overview
|Loan amount||$2,001 – $50,000|
|Term length||10 years|
|Rates (APR)||15.01% for undergraduates and 13.98% for graduates|
|Rate reduction available||Up to 1.50%|
Both international and domestic students can take out a student loan from MPOWER. Loan amounts range from $2,001 to $50,000 with fixed interest rates. The rates and loan terms depend on what type of student you are.
Borrowers can qualify for interest rate discounts of up to 1.5% for fulfilling each of the following actions:
- Sign up for automatic payments (0.5%)
- Make 6 consecutive on-time payments (0.5%)
- Provide proof of graduation and employment (0.5%)
While this might be a good financing opportunity for foreign students who want to attend school in the U.S. or Canada, MPOWER won’t accept all applicants. They carefully vet out the candidates that they assess won’t have as much of a chance of successfully paying back the loans after college.
Note: Students who have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident that is willing to cosign for them can likely get a better deal at another lender. You can check out how MPOWER compares to some of these options in our guide to student loans for international students.
Eligibility Requirements & Application Process
What makes MPOWER unusual is that foreign students don’t need a U.S. credit score, collateral, or a cosigner to secure loan opportunities.
It offers loans to students from more than 190 countries who are attending college in the U.S. or Canada that MPOWER has partnered with. MPOWER also lends to students who live in the U.S.
Although applicants don’t need a U.S. credit score to be eligible, MPOWER still performs a credit check, using credit reports to verify potential borrowers’ payment history. MPOWER says it also considers academic success and career path during the approval process.
Here are some eligibility requirements to keep in mind before applying for MPOWER’s loans:
- Must attend a U.S. or Canadian school that MPOWER is partnered with
- Must be in the last 2 years of your program of study
- International students, permanent residents, DACA students, and U.S. citizens are eligible
How to apply for an MPOWER Student Loan
The application process and approval for these loans can be simple and relatively quick. The money can be used just as a student would use a standard student loan—covering education-related expenses like tuition, room and board, food, insurance, and books.
To apply, simply visit MPOWER’s website and click “Get Started.” You’ll then be prompted to provide some basic information about:
- Your name and country of citizenship
- Your current enrollment status
- Your university and degree
- Your expected graduation date
- Your required loan amount
MPOWER will then check your eligibility and provide you with a rate quote. If you choose to continue with the lender, you can move forward with the application process.
Pros & Cons of MPOWER
Pros of MPOWER
- A simplified underwriting process
- A cosigner isn’t needed, which is a big help to students who have no family to rely upon, or those who have families with no U.S. credit history
- You don’t need a credit history in the U.S. to secure this loan, making it one of the few financial assistance options for foreign students
- The process is straightforward and relatively quick
- There are no prepayment penalties, which is nice for students who expect to make a decent income right after school and who want to retire their debt as quickly as possible
- MPOWER will also report loan and payment information to the credit reporting agencies, which can help borrowers establish and build credit.
Cons of MPOWER
- If you are a domestic student or have a cosigner that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you can likely get a better deal from another lender. Citizens Bank, for example, offers low rates and allows eligible international students with U.S.-based cosigners to take out loans.
- It might take as long as three weeks before potential borrowers receive a final determination about their loan. It might take up to 10 weeks for the funds to be disbursed.
- There is no payment-free grace period. Students are required to begin making interest-only payments shortly after the loan is received, even though they are still going to be in school at the time.
- MPOWER won’t loan money to students at every school—only certain schools are eligible. But the list of eligible schools is growing each year.
- If you are in the first or second year of a four-year program at a university, MPOWER won’t be able to issue you a loan. They only lend to students who are in the last two years of an educational program.
Can You Refinance MPOWER Student Loans?
At the time of publishing this review, MPOWER does not offer student loan refinancing.
If you currently have an MPOWER student loan and you’ve established a good credit history, you might want to consider replacing your current loan with one of the best student loan refinancing companies, especially if you can reduce your interest rate and get a favorable repayment term.
Before you refinance with any company, you should look at interest rates, the length of the loan—which will impact your monthly payment—and if it offers flexible repayment options.
Alternatives to MPOWER
If you’re an international student and you don’t have a domestic cosigner, MPOWER is one of your only options. However, our guide to student loans for international students covers a few additional lenders. If you can find a cosigner with good credit, you’ll qualify with far more lenders.
Domestic students should make sure they’ve exhausted federal aid before taking out private loans. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what kind of federal financial aid you can receive.
However, domestic students who’ve exhausted their federal options might want to look at alternatives to MPOWER, because they are likely to offer better student loan interest rates.
Get multiple quotes from several of the best student loan lenders before agreeing to go with a lender. Doing some homework and comparing rates may save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. For additional options, check out our list of student loan companies.4.6 MPOWER Student Loans
Author: Shannon Serpette