How to Apply for an Education Loan to Study Abroad

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Aug 20, 2021 01:18 PM

Planning to apply for an education to finance your higher education abroad? Here is a simple and detailed student guide on how to apply for an education loan to study abroad along with the different loan schemes offered by Indian banks in 2021.

According to a 2020 report, around 91% of Indian students wanted to study abroad despite the Covid-19 pandemic. This is primarily due to foreign universities coming up with various measures to assist international students and keep them safe during the pandemic. While studying abroad continues to be popular among students in India, higher education costs at international schools have become quite a burden for many parents.

Regardless of a student’s financial capacity, a major percentage of Indian students planning on higher education abroad resort to education loans. From reasons like easy repayment terms to a wide range of expenses covered, a growing number of students are applying for education loans rather than dipping into the personal savings of their parents.

Let us now take you through the application process for education loans to study abroad in detail along with the top Indian education loan providers in 2021.

What is an Education Loan?

An education loan is an amount of money borrowed from a bank or other financial agencies to cover your cost of post-secondary or higher education. It intends to finance the cost of books, supplies, tuition fees as well as living expenses.

Unlike a personal loan, an education loan offers a lower interest rate and if you are qualified for a government-subsidized loan, you will be required to pay even lower interest rates. Education loans usually offer a longer repayment tenure of up to 20 years and payments are often deferred while the borrower is in college. Sometimes, the borrower is offered an additional six-month period after earning a degree, which is known as a “grace period”.

Also Read: Application Deadlines 2021-2022 for Popular US Universities

How to Get an Education Loan for Studying Abroad?

Confused about applying for an education loan to study abroad? Given below is the process explained in detail:

Pre-Application:

Step 1: Explore your options and find out what financial gaps you want to fill through the loan. This would require you to figure out how much loan you require.

Step 2: Research and shortlist the banks that offer education loans for studying abroad.

Step 3: Check the eligibility criteria for each of those education loans and find out if the bank recognises the course you are applying for.

Step 4: Compare the education loans offered by different banks for studying abroad and pick one that meets your requirements.

Step 5: Before applying for an education loan, always read the terms and conditions of the loan thoroughly.

Application:

Step 6: After you have picked the bank and the loan plan, fill in the application form either by visiting the bank or online. Please note that not all banks let you apply for an education loan online. 

Step 7: Submit the Documents Required for a Study Abroad Education Loan Application.

Post-Application:

Step 8: Wait for your loan application to be approved. 

Step 9: Once your loan is approved, the bank will provide you with a loan document including the various elements of the loan.

Step 10: Sign the loan agreement, after which the bank will pay the required amount in installments or as asked by the university.

Confused About Which Education Loan to Apply for?

Top Indian Education Loan Providers for Studying Abroad

Given below is the list of the top education loan providers in India for studying abroad:

Name of Bank

Features

State Bank of India (SBI)

Eligible courses: Full-time graduate/post-graduate degree/diploma/certificate/doctorate course in any disciplines

Eligible countries: USA, UK, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Europe [Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, UK]

Simple Interest will be charged during Course Period + Moratorium Period

Axis Bank 

Eligibility:

  • Indian citizen

  • At least 50% in HSC or graduation

  • Obtained admission to career-oriented courses like medicine, engineering, management, etc at the graduate/post-graduate level.

  • Obtained admission through entrance test or merit-based selection process

No prepayment charges

No pre-closure charges

Repo rate linked interest rates

HDFC Bank

Eligible courses: MS, MBA, Executive Management Courses and all other courses (case-to-case basis)

Eligible countries: 35+ countries

Coverage: 100% of tuition fees determined by university along with other expenses

Loan repayment up to 14 Years including the Moratorium Period

Punjab National Bank (PNB)

Eligibility: 

  • Should be applying for any job-oriented professional/technical graduation course/MCA/MBA/MS/diploma/degree courses like pilot training, shipping, aeronautical, etc.

  • Should have obtained admission to only PNB-approved university

  • Obtained admission through entrance test or merit-based selection process

  • Should be an Indian

Scholarship/ assistantship be included in margin

Coverage: fees, travel expenses, life insurance premium, books, computer and other expenses

Bank of Baroda

Eligibility:

  • Should be applying for MBA, MS, MCA and other job-oriented courses

  • Should have obtained admission to only BoB-approved university

  • Obtained admission through entrance test or merit-based selection process

  • Should be an Indian

Coverage: Tuition fees, travel expenses, life insurance premium, books, computer and other expenses

Also Read: Application Deadlines for Popular UK Universities in 2021-2022

Top Education Loan Schemes for Studying Abroad in 2021 - A Comparison

Before applying for a study abroad loan, go through the details mentioned in the table below and compare the schemes offered by different banks in 2021:

Bank 

Loan Amount

Processing Fees

Interest Rate (p.a)

SBI

Minimum Loan Amount: Above INR 7.50 Lakhs

Maximum Loan Amount: INR 1.5 Cr

INR 10,000 per application

6.85% to 8.65%

Axis Bank

Minimum Loan Amount: INR 50,000

Maximum Loan Amount: INR 75 Lakhs

0 to INR 15,000 + tax

13.70% to 15.20%

HDFC Bank

Minimum Loan Amount: INR 2 Lakhs

No upper limit

Up to 1.5% of loan amount + tax

9.40% to 13.34%

PNB

Maximum Loan Amount: INR 15 Lakhs 

1% of loan amount

7.30% onwards

Bank of Baroda

Maximum Loan Amount: INR 4 Lakh and above

1% of loan amount up to INR 10,000

6.75% to 9.85%

ICICI Bank

Maximum Loan Amount: INR 1 crore

-

9.50% onwards

Note: Details mentioned here are subject to change.

How to Ensure the Education Loan is Sanctioned

To maximise your chances to get your study abroad education loan sanctioned or approved, here are a few tips:

Check the university’s and lender’s requirements: Many lenders have requirements pertaining to which universities and degree programs are eligible for the loan. While some may provide loans to a specific list of universities, some might not be limited to a location, university or degree programs. However, every lender would have a specific list of study destinations.

You must make sure to check the university’s requirements as well and apply to only those universities and programs that the lenders approve of. Many universities share a list of lenders or banks that have supported former students.

Have a Repayment Plan

It is extremely important that you have a financial plan to increase your chances of getting your education loan approved. Some lenders need borrowers to pay interest-only or partial-interest payout while they are still enrolled in school. Making arrangements for this and looking for ways to pay them timely will prevent the interest from capitalising. Further, if you choose a shorter repayment period, you have a better chance of getting the loan approved.

You, as an international student, will get a number of opportunities to earn some extra money while in college, especially in countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, among others, where work rights are flexible. These may include on-campus or off-campus part-time employment, scholarships and internships. You may also bridge the remaining cost gap (if any) through personal/family savings.

Have a Well-Thought Career Plan

Any lender would want to have an idea about how you are planning to pay off the loan. It is because of this that many banks offer education loans to applicants enrolled in programs that are more likely to offer high-earning careers (example - MBA, engineering).

Lenders want to make sure that the borrower would end up with a lucrative career after graduation, which could convince the lender that offering an education loan would be worth the risk. In case you already have a history of employment, it is even better as it will show the bank that you have higher chances of finding employment upon graduation.

Banks vs NBFCs for Study Abroad Education Loan

Although banks have been the go-to option for students requiring education loans to study abroad, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) have also emerged as a great option to borrow a loan.

Banks are usually rigid with regard to the course the student is applying for, while NBFCs approve loans for almost all courses. In addition, NBFCs cover most of the common expenses including tuition fees, transportation, books, security deposits, and more. Let us now look at the differences between banks and NBFCs when it comes to education loans to study abroad:

Point of Difference

Banks

NBFCs

Loan Coverage 

Tuition fees, travel expenses, lodging fees, costs of books, library fees, travel expenses, caution deposit, etc. 

100% of tuition fees, lab fees, travel expenses, exam fees, accommodation costs, caution deposit, cost of books, etc.

Flexibility

Has a definite list of approved universities and category of courses. 

Courses can be at postgraduate, undergraduate, diploma levels, preferably in the non-vocational stream. 

Many nationalised banks also offer education loans for vocational courses

Comparatively more flexible on the type of courses 

Processing Time

Private banks approve loans faster than public sector banks.

Faster in approving education loans irrespective of the course

Procurement

Stricter rules and regulations

Simpler terms irrespective of the course chosen by the borrower

Government Subsidy

Offer interest rate subsidy to those from the weaker sections of the society (applicable during the moratorium period)

No interest rate subsidies

Loan Amount

There is an upper limit 

Ranges between Rs. 20L and Rs. 30L, based on the course and university. However, this may vary from one bank to another

No cap

Security Collateral

Require security collateral

For loans below Rs. 4L, no security is required.

For loans between Rs. 4L-Rs.7.5L, third-party guarantee is required.

 

Based on the loan amount and credit history of the borrower

Interest Rates

Uniformity linked to the bank’s marginal cost of funds based on lending rate (MCLR)

Set their own interest rates based on the market competition and cost of operations; higher interest rate

Repayments

Can be done within seven years

Interest repayment can begin during the moratorium period

Principal repayment can be done as monthly installments

Can be done within seven years

Moratorium Period

Ranging from six months to up to one year

Six months

Documents Required

List of Documents

ID Proofs

Residence Proofs

Signature Proofs

Concessions for Women

Might be available

NA

Pre-closure charges

NA

Might levy pre-closure charges based on the reason of closure, profile of the borrower and tenure left

Have Further Doubts About Education Loans for Studying Abroad?

For further information about study abroad loans in India, please write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com. Stay tuned!

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