Alien Students Loans

For international students, there exists the Smart Option Student Loan Program made available through Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae is one of the nationís most well known providers of loans to students. The United States government founded Sallie Mae in 1972 to assist students paying for college. It began to move to a private organization in 1997 and has continued to function in that capacity ever since.

Students who are not U.S. citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending an eligible U.S. college are eligible for the Smart Option Loan Program. Credit seekers are required to have a U.S. citizen co-signer with good credit or a non-citizen permanent resident.

Students who are not U.S. citizens or non-citizen permanent residents and who are attending schools outside the U.S. are not currently eligible for Sallie Mae loans.

The†Sallie Mae Student loan†is an ideal solution for students who still need funds after they have maximized free money and federal loans. With this loan, students can borrow up to the full cost of their education, less other aid received. The Smart Option Student Loan helps students save money, build good credit, and pay off their student loan faster.

These are the requirements for eligibility for the Smart Option loans:

U.S. permanent residents and other eligible aliens must submit a copy of the front and back of their current Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-551 (Alien Registration Card). They do not accept expired cards.

If the student borrower does not have a current Form I-551, they will accept:

  1. A temporary CIS Form I-551,
  2. A passport stamped "Temporary 551," or
  3. Form I-90 (Application to Replace Alien Registration Card),†and a copy of the student's passport.
International students must submit a copy of one of the following:

  1. Student visa (type F1, H1B, J1, or M1). If the student is already in the U.S. and the expiration date on the student visa has passed, they require an I-94 with a future expiration date.
  2. Valid passport with photo and current CIS Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) with any of the following classifications:
    • F-1 and D/S; J-1 and D/S; M-1 and D/S; or H1B
    • Public Interest Parolee (PIP)†

    • Asylum status granted indefinitely†

    • Refugee status granted indefinitely

    • Current CIS Form I-688B or I-766 (Employment Authorization) that entitles the student to work and attend school in the U.S.

    • For international students who do not yet have a valid Social Security number (SSN), they can accept the first loan application with an "administrative SSN" that will be assigned by Sallie Mae.
For future loans, it is preferred that borrowers apply with a valid SSN, but if borrowers are not able to obtain a valid SSN, they may be allowed to use the administrative SSN for all future private loans with Sallie Mae.

The student borrower's Social Security number must be on all CIS forms.

Per the CIS, all colleges and universities have a designated school official (DSO) who should be knowledgeable and up-to-date on CIS regulations. If you have any questions about the documentation required for a Smart Option Student Loan, please contact your DSO.

There may also be programs offered for international students at the colleges they are interested in attending. Always contact and request information from the school you are interested in attending to find out if they have their own programs.