For international students who want to study in North America, finding student loan lenders willing to work with them can be challenging, especially if they don’t have a relative who is a permanent resident or citizen to act as a cosigner. MPOWER Financing aims to be a funding solution for students all over the globe. It offers loans to borrowers studying in the U.S. or Canada, and it doesn’t require students to have a cosigner.
However, not all students are eligible for a loan from MPOWER Financing, and it has strict loan limits. Before applying for a loan, make sure you understand how these loans work and what fees are involved.
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- Available to international students without a cosigner – While there are multiple private lenders that will lend to international students, most require them to have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. With MPOWER Financing, you don’t need a cosigner; you can qualify for a loan entirely on your own.
- Interest rate discounts available – MPOWER Financing has multiple interest rate discounts, including automatic payment discount, on-time payment discount, and graduation and employment discounts. In total, you can reduce your interest rate by 1.5%.
- High interest rates – MPOWER Financing has higher interest rates than you typically see with private student loans. The APR on international undergraduate loans was 13.99%, and the rate on international graduate loans was 11.99%.1 Both rates include 1.50% in rate discounts. Considering that some lenders offer rates as low as 3 to 5% for international students, MPOWER Financing’s rates are significantly higher.
- Origination fees apply – If MPOWER Financing approves your loan application and you proceed with the loan, the lender will charge you a 5% origination fee and add it to your loan balance. You will pay the fee over the loan’s repayment term.
- Only one repayment option – While other lenders have multiple repayment plans and loan terms, MPOWER Financing has just one.
Student Loans Offered by MPOWER Financing
MPOWER Financing has student loans for international students, U.S. citizens, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students. They require interest-only payments while you’re in school and for 6 months after graduation, after which you’ll have a 10-year loan term with full interest plus principal payments. Interest rates vary by loan type.
U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, and DACA Undergraduate Student Loans
U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and DACA students pursuing a bachelor’s degree can qualify for undergraduate student loans. These loans are eligible for multiple loan discounts, and there is no prepayment penalty.
|Loan Terms for Domestic Undergraduate Loans|
|Fixed Rates||9.99% (10.91% APR)|
|Loan Amounts||$2,001 to $100,000|
|Loan Terms||10 years|
U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, and DACA Graduate Student Loans
If you’re a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or DACA student and are going to graduate school, you may be eligible for MPOWER Financing’s graduate school loans, which have the lowest interest rates of all of its loans.
|Loan Terms for Domestic Graduate Loans|
|Fixed Rates||7.99% (8.89% APR)|
|Loan Amounts||$2,001 to $100,000|
|Loan Terms||10 years|
International Student Undergraduate Loans
If you’re an international student within two years of graduating, you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan. To qualify, you must be admitted to or already attending one of MPOWER Financing’s partner schools in the United States or Canada. It has more than 350 of them.
|Loan Terms for International Undergraduate Students|
|Fixed Rates||13.99% (14.98% APR)|
|Loan Amounts||$2,001 to $100,000|
|Loan Terms||10 years|
International Graduate School Loans
As a graduate student enrolled in a one or two year program or within two years of graduation, you can qualify for MPOWER international graduate school loans. Like its other loans, the international graduate school loans are eligible for multiple interest rate discounts, and there is no prepayment penalty if you choose to pay off the loan early.
|Loan Terms for International Graduate Students|
|Fixed Rates||11.99% (12.94% APR)|
|Loan Amounts||$2,001 to $100,000|
|Loan Terms||10 years|
To qualify for a loan from MPOWER Financing, you must meet the following criteria:
- You are currently admitted to or enrolled in a school in the U.S. or Canada that MPOWER Financing supports.
- You are within two years of graduating from your program.
- You must reside in the U.S. or Canada while you are in school.
- You are not a citizen of a restricted country or subject to individual sanctions.
Is Loan Prequalification Available?
While MPOWER Financing doesn’t offer loan prequalification, it does have an eligibility check tool. By entering basic information about yourself and your program, you can see if you meet MPOWER Financing’s basic eligibility requirements. If so, you can move forward with the loan application process. If you are ineligible for a loan from MPOWER Financing, you may be able to take out a loan from one of its partners, such as Sallie Mae.
Student Loan Fees
MPOWER Financing charges origination fees and late fees.
Unlike many other private student loan lenders, MPOWER Financing does charge an origination fee to cover the cost of processing and disbursing the loan. If you’re approved for the loan and decide to move forward with it, the lender will charge you a 5% origination fee and add it to your loan balance. You do not pay the fee upfront; instead, you’ll repay it over the length of your loan term.
For example, if you took out a $10,000 loan, your origination fee would be $500. That fee would be added to your loan balance, so you would have to repay—with interest—$10,500.
If you miss a payment, MPOWER Financing will charge you 4% of the unpaid amount or $5, whichever is less.
Student Loan Discounts
MPOWER Financing borrowers can qualify for loan discounts:
- Automatic Payment – Reduces your interest rate by 0.50% when you sign up for automatic payments
- On-Time Payment – Reduces your interest rate by 0.50% when you make six monthly payments on time with automatic payments
- Graduation and Employment: Reduces your interest rate by 0.50% when you report proof of graduation and employment
If you take advantage of all 3 discounts, you could reduce your interest rate by 1.5%.
MPOWER also offers scholarships for international students.
MPOWER Financing only has one repayment option for its student loans. While you’re in school and during the first 6 months after graduation—your grace period—you’re required to make interest-only payments on your loan. Once the grace period expires, your 10-year repayment term begins, and you will start repaying the interest and principal.
You can build credit as you make full on-time payments on your MPOWER loan and potentially refinance those student loans for a better rate.
MPOWER Financing has a referral program. If you refer friends, and they apply for a loan and are approved—and mention your name on their loan application—you can qualify for cash bonuses, airline tickets, cruises, and merchandise.
Are Cosigners Required?
MPOWER Financing does not require cosigners, nor are they even considered on your loan application. Instead, the lender looks at your future potential and any existing credit history you may have in your home country.
Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options
While MPOWER Financing doesn’t include details about its forbearance program on its website, it does say that borrowers experiencing financial hardships should call customer service to discuss their options.
Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement
The application process doesn’t take long to complete. However, MPOWER Financing must submit your information to your college for certification, which can take a long time. According to the lender, certification can take between two to six weeks, so it’s a good idea to apply for a loan well in advance.
Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?
MPOWER Financing offer student loan refinancing up to $100,000 with no cosigner.
Depending on your credit approval, loans are issued by either MPOWER Financing or Bank of Lake Mills. MPOWER Financing is a newer company, founded in 2014. As such, it isn’t included in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s annual student loan ombudsman report. Although it has fewer than 100 customer reviews on Trustpilot, its overall rating is 4.6 out of 5.
Customer service is available via message through the lender’s website or by calling the following numbers:
- United States: 202-417-3800
- Canada: 647-503-4607
- India: 91-812-345-6789
Students from China can ask questions via the app WeChat.
Apply for an MPOWER Financing Student Loan
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and exhaust all federal, state, and institutional aid before turning to private student loans. If you’re an international student or DACA student and ineligible for federal aid, then you can move forward with your loan application.
According to MPOWER Financing, the application takes about 30 minutes to complete. To do so, you’ll need the following information:
- List of school expenses (such as tuition, housing, and textbooks)
- Résumé or CV (for graduate students)
- Standardized test scores (for graduate students)
- English proficiency exam scores
- College admissions letter
- Past transcripts or diploma
- Secondary photo ID (from your home country)
- Supporting evidence of funds (such as bank statements or pay stubs)
- References (such as family or friends)
Once all of your information is submitted, MPOWER Financing will review your application. If approved, the lender will work with your school to certify the loan. It can take up to six weeks before the loan is disbursed.
What Types of Student Loans Does MPower Financing Offer?
MPower Financing has student loan options for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. You may be eligible to refinance your loan if you have graduated and worked in the U.S. or Canada for at least three months.
How Does MPower Financing Work?
Applying for an MPower loan starts with checking whether your school and your program are eligible. Then you will complete and submit an initial application and a valid photo ID online. You could receive a conditional offer either immediately or within three business days.
If you get a conditional offer, the lender will ask you to watch a video, complete an assessment and upload documents. MPower Financing verifies these documents for loan approval, which can take up to three business days, and provides a visa support letter if necessary. Lastly, the lender certifies costs and then disburses funds to your school, a timeline that can stretch up to 10 weeks.
Loans can be used for all education-related expenses, according to MPower Financing. But the lender also says to ask your school’s financial aid office if you plan to spend loan money on anything other than tuition. MPower Financing sends funds directly to your school.
What Are MPower Financing’s Terms, Fees and Conditions?
MPower Financing offers fixed-rate student loans from $2,001 to $50,000 over two academic periods – semesters, quarters, trimesters or school years – with a $100,000 lifetime borrowing limit. Annual percentage rates are between 6.49% and 12.49% if you qualify for MPower Financing’s discounts. Your loan repayment terms depend on whether you’re an international student, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, and what country your school is located in.
Loans have a repayment term of 10 years. The lender adds a 5% origination fee to your loan balance that you will pay over the loan term rather than upfront. MPower Financing also charges a late payment fee of either $5 or 4% of the past due amount, whichever is less, plus a $5 returned payment fee.
You must be admitted to or enrolled at one of more than 400 eligible schools before you can apply for an MPower loan. If you are ineligible to borrow from MPower Financing, the company recommends looking into its partner, Sallie Mae.
If you qualify to refinance a loan, your APR with all discounts will be fixed at 7.99%. You can borrow the same $2,001 minimum and $100,000 lifetime amount and then repay it over 10 years. A 2% origination fee will be added to the loan amount, plus international borrowers pay a foreign currency exchange rate fee and a premium conversion charge.
What Discounts Does MPower Financing Offer?
Borrowers can qualify for three interest rate discounts of a half percentage point each by:
- Signing up for autopay. You will receive the rate discount as long as you remain enrolled.
- Making consistent payments. Your rate will drop another half percentage point after you make six consecutive full payments with autopay.
- Keeping a full-time job. After you graduate and start working a full-time, salaried job, you can get one more half percentage point discount.
How Can You Qualify?
MPower Financing doesn’t require a credit history, co-signer or collateral. Instead, the lender considers your academic success and career path to determine your creditworthiness.
International students, DACA recipients, refugees or asylum-seekers are eligible to apply. Undergraduate or graduate students must be starting a one- or two-year program or within two years of earning a degree at one of more than 400 schools in the U.S. or Canada. Graduates who have worked in the U.S. or Canada for at least three months may be eligible for refinancing.
What Credit Score Do You Need?
If you have a credit history in the U.S. or your home country, the lender will verify your record and look for delinquencies, collections or tax liens. These are important factors considered during MPower Financing’s credit review.
The lender recommends checking with TransUnion in the U.S. or Canada at 800-888-4213 or Nova Credit at 844-423-1345 for international accounts if you are concerned that your credit history could affect loan approval.
Where Does MPower Financing Operate?
Is MPower Financing Reputable?
MPower Financing received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau but is not accredited by the BBB. Trustpilot scores the lender 4.5 out of 5 stars, an excellent rating, based on more than 300 reviews.
How Is MPower Financing’s Customer Service?
Borrowers can contact customer service by chat, email or phone.
You can also ask the chatbot questions by clicking on the chat icon – a blue circle containing a question mark – at the bottom right corner of any webpage. If you can’t find the information you need, you can complete this form to receive an email response within 10 business days.
The lender recommends reaching out by email before calling because of high volume. You can reach MPower Financing at 202-417-3800 in the U.S. or 647-503-4607 in Canada, and borrowers from India and Nigeria should contact the U.S. number or request a callback online.
What Are Some of MPower Financing’s Online Features?
Borrowers can access digital tools for tasks such as setting up autopay, uploading documents and checking basic loan eligibility. You can apply for a loan, search and apply for scholarships, and use loan calculators to estimate payments on the lender’s website.
The MPower dashboard allows you to arrange loan payments and to view your monthly payments and due dates, as well as your loan servicer’s information.
MPower Financing provides a Support Center with answers to FAQs on topics such as applying for a loan, refinancing and repaying a loan. The lender also offers immigration, career, financial empowerment and other resources for students.
What Are the Deferment and Repayment Options?
MPower Financing does not offer in-school or extended training deferments. You must make interest-only payments in school and for six months after graduation and then pay off principal and interest over 10 years. Borrowers struggling to make payments should contact MPower Financing to discuss options and find the best solution.
What Are the Discharge Options?
MPower Financing doesn’t provide any details about discharge options.
MPower Financing Student Loans Are Best For:
- International students, DACA recipients, refugees and asylum-seekers.
- Students who need to borrow without a credit check or co-signer.
- Students starting a one- or two-year program or who are within two years of graduating.
MPOWER Financing is a public benefit corporation that specializes in private student loans and student loan refinancing. This D.C.-based lender was founded by former international students who understand the struggles noncitizens go through when it comes to financing their education.
Although the company does offer student loans and refinancing to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, its services are best for international and DACA students who are enrolled in a degree-seeking program, since MPOWER does not require co-signers.
At first glance, MPOWER’s offer seems pretty ordinary: loans for undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to student loan refinancing. But the company’s standout feature is the fact that its loans are open to international and DACA students without a co-signer — both of which are often overlooked by most private lenders. By removing the need for a co-signer, collateral and credit history, MPOWER makes it easy for both of these groups to be eligible for its loans.
Besides that, MPOWER goes the extra mile by helping international students with their visa application process and securing a U.S.-based job after graduation, at no additional cost. However, both of these services are completely optional.
If you wish to return to your home country, that’s okay, too. MPOWER has partnered with payment platform Flywire so you can repay your loans from abroad using the currency of your choice.
MPOWER student loan snapshot
|Loan types||Undergraduate, graduate, refinancing|
|Loan amounts||Private loans: $2,001 to $50,000 ($100,000 lifetime limit)|
Refinancing loans: $2,001 to $100,000
|Interest rates||Private loans: 7.52% to 13.63% fixed APR (with autopay and other discounts)|
Refinancing loans: 7.44% fixed APR (with autopay and other discounts)
|Repayment terms||Private loans: 10 years|
Refinancing loans: 10 years
|Grace period||6 months|
Pros and cons of MPOWER student loans
MPOWER student loans can be a great alternative to help you cover the costs of college when other types of financial aid fall short. Still, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before you apply to ensure this is the best option for you.
- Open to noncitizens without a co-signer. Most lenders issue loans exclusively to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. MPOWER, however, issues loans to both international students and DACA students. MPOWER also doesn’t require students to have a co-signer, collateral or any credit history to be approved for a loan.
- Generous rate discounts. MPOWER offers rate discounts up to 1.5 percent for private loans and up to 1 percent for student loan refinancing.
- Many currencies supported. Although you’ll be charged a fee for currency exchange, you can repay your loans using your local currency if you’re living abroad.
- You can apply before the semester starts. MPOWER allows you to apply for a loan up to 12 months prior to your start date.
- Plenty of resources available for borrowers. There is a dedicated team that assists international students with their visa process, in addition to career support for those looking to find a job in the U.S. Besides that, MPOWER sponsors a variety of scholarships of up to $10,000 to help students reduce their borrowing costs.
- Limited availability. Students must be enrolled in one of the 422 institutions that MPOWER works with. To be eligible for either an undergraduate or a graduate loan, students must also be within two years of their expected graduation date.
- Limited repayment terms. While most lenders offer repayment terms ranging from five to 20 years, MPOWER offers only a 10-year repayment term on all of its loans.
- Fixed rates only. Borrowers can typically choose between fixed and variable interest rates when applying for a private student loan. However, MPOWER has only one fixed rate per loan category.
- Interest rates are on the higher side. Right now, private student loans have starting APRs of about 5 percent for a 10-year term, while MPOWER’s loans have a starting APR of 9.56 percent for undergraduate loans and 7.52 percent for graduate loans (including discounts).
- Payments aren’t deferred while you’re in school. Lenders typically don’t require any payments on your loans until six months after you graduate. With MPOWER, you’re required to start making interest payments 21 to 60 days after your loan is disbursed.
MPOWER student loan requirements
To apply for MPOWER’s private student loans, you must:
- Be admitted to or enrolled in one of the U.S. schools supported by MPOWER.
- Be within two years of your expected graduation date.
- Be enrolled in a degree-seeking program.
- Be a citizen of one of MPOWER’s approved countries.
- Reside in the U.S. while completing the program.
To apply for a student loan refinance, you must:
- Be a college graduate.
- Have worked in the U.S. for at least three months.
- Have a valid visa or be a DACA recipient, U.S. citizen, refugee or asylum-seeker.
Who is this loan good for?
MPOWER’s student loans are a good option for international and DACA students who are enrolled in a degree-seeking program in the U.S. and need financial assistance to pay for school. MPOWER is more likely than other lenders to approve international students for a loan, and it offers several additional resources that can help these students get settled in the U.S.
If you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, however, you might be better off looking into other options, as you could potentially find better terms and interest rates than those offered by MPOWER.
Interest rates and terms
MPOWER has three discounts of 0.5 percent each: one when you sign up for automatic payments, another one for making six consecutive payments with autopay and a third one for submitting proof of graduation and employment. However, this last one is not available for student loan refinancing.
The rates below reflect these discounts.
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Undergraduate student loans||N/A||9.56% to 13.63% APR|
|Graduate student loans||N/A||7.52% to 11.59% APR|
|Student loan refinancing||N/A||7.44% APR|
Fees and penalties
MPOWER charges a 5 percent origination fee on both graduate and undergraduate student loans and a 2 percent origination fee for student loan refinancing. The company also charges a late payment fee and a returned check fee, although the amount isn’t specified.
Repayment terms and grace period
All of MPOWER’s loan products have a 10-year repayment term, which is quite limiting, especially on the refinance side.
The company’s grace period is also unconventional. While most lenders don’t require you to make any payments until at least six months after you graduate, MPOWER requires borrowers to start making interest payments 21 to 60 days after the loan is disbursed.
That being said, you’re not required to make any payments on the principal balance until six months after you graduate.
MPOWER has a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, with numerous reviews praising the company’s customer service and seamless loan application process.
The customer service department is open during “business hours.” You can contact customer service by submitting a form through MPOWER’s website, over WeChat or by phone at 202-417-3800.
How to apply for a loan with MPOWER
The application process is done 100 percent online and takes about 30 minutes to complete.
To apply, you’ll need the following:
- Two valid photo IDs (passport, driver’s license, national ID, voter’s ID or another government-issued photo ID).
- A copy of your CV.
- Proof of home country address (bank statements, a letter from the university, utility bills, signed lease agreement, etc.).
- Standardized test scores or a waiver from your university if none is required.
- English proficiency test scores or a waiver from your university if none is required.
- Letter of acceptance or past transcripts.
- Estimated cost of attendance (this can be a screenshot from your school’s website).
- Proof of DACA status (if applicable).
Once you fill out the application, you’ll receive a conditional offer within three business days. Then you’ll have three additional days to upload copies of the documents listed above in MPOWER’s website for a final review.
If your application is approved, MPOWER will send the documents over to your school for certification, after which the money will be disbursed. This last part is dependent on your school and can take anywhere from two to 10 weeks.
How Bankrate rates MPOWER
|Repayment Options||3.6||MPOWER is widely available and has several types of loans, but its limited repayment options makes it less ideal for borrowers who need flexibility.|
|Affordability||3.0||While not unreasonable for a lender that doesn’t require co-signers, MPOWER’s interest rates and fees are high compared to more traditional lenders.|
|Customer Experience||4.0||MPOWER does not specify its customer service hours but does make loan management easy with an online portal and discounts for automatic payments.|
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.