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Here is an old post of mine copied and pasted. This (loan process) is one of those things where the home work has to done by the candidate coz what is best for me may not work for you and vise versa.
Let me just write about my experience (I have a visa and dont qualify for federal aid):
I started from the school's Financial Aid office's website. Most schools have preferred lenders and some ask that you stick with them only. Some others are flexible. Check on that.
After that, start looking at bank websites and compare in terms of APR, fees(origination fee, disbursement fee, early payment fee....it goes on), repayment period, co signer requirements...
There are PLENTY of scams. So be VERY careful where your money is coming from and where it is going to go. Can't stress this point enough.
This is a starting point. You have to do your own leg work because you know your situation best.
Do we have to have to have a cosigner? Most cases yes. Again since everybody has a different visa status, asking the school and/or the lender is the best idea.
If you have been the US for a while, & have a credit history, check your credit report from all 3 agencies. See if there are any potential hazards or God forbid an identity theft. Have your cosigner do the same. You can take it from there.
Thanks La fea for the reply
I started my homework before asking anything here and looked at the school's website with different lenders and compared them but there are few things which I am uncertain of. Like some banks ask for applying 3 months before the school starts because the credit check is valid for only 3 months supposedly and that expires in case it is done before the advised time and so you have to reapply.Since my school starts in July end ( I am talking about BU), it is no point applying for that now in those particular banks as I understand. So my question is to you guys is if this is correct and have you started for the procedures considering your school starting date.
Other thing is that I read about Prime and Libor rates. Although I tried to go into details but still if anyone who has experience with the bank loans - somebody who is already studying in Dental school can guide on which banks offer competitively cheaper loans. I know that Citi asks for more documentation than Sallie Mae as one of my friend told me.
La fea, you are going to UCSF right? When your school starts and do you mind telling if you have started loan procedure. I am also on visa, so I believe that I am in same condition as you.
Thanks and good luck