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美国国际学生贷款市场生态解读

全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

美国国际学生贷款市场生态解读

编者按:本文为Nomad Credit业务发展副总裁Nathan Treadwell的客座文章。Nomad Credit致力于降低国际学生及签证持有者的信贷门槛。通过与美国及外国贷款机构合作,Nomad Credit的平台帮助国际学生寻求更多贷款选择。

目前在美国留学的国际学生约有120万。他们来自世界各地,约三分之一(超过36万)来自中国,来自印度的人数刚刚超过205000。韩国和沙特阿拉伯紧随其后,分别超过了7万和5.5万。国际教育成本常高达六位数,于是美国和国外都出现了国际学生贷款产品,满足这一人群的教育经费需求。

教育的高昂成本对私人资金产生了巨大的需求,美国贷款机构对向在美国留学的国际学生贷款非常感兴趣。国际学生通常没有任何信用记录,面临的贷款困难与美国学生相似。但许多国际学生毕业后都不会留在美国,因此贷款机构还必须考虑额外的潜逃风险。银行放出国际贷款时,可能会面临新的挑战。

如何降低潜逃风险?

国际学生贷款是新兴市场,很难知道潜逃风险有多高。贷款机构通过学校参与、美国联名担保人、项目审议来降低这种风险。

贷款金额最终批准前,通常会通过借款人的学校认证,核实借款人的出勤情况和所需金额。然后贷款会直接发放给学校,确保资金合理使用。

除了学校的参与之外,考虑到未来的盈利潜力,贷款机构把贷款的重点放在了美国顶尖商学院的顶尖项目,还有机构为这些学生提供无担保贷款产品。这一产品主要瞄准低风险的研究生。本科阶段还没有联名担保贷款。

此外,美国的贷款机构还能根据学生的研究领域预估潜逃风险。根据研究方向不同,加上签证因素,学生留在美国的能力可能会有所不同。国际学生毕业后可选择参加选择性实习训练(OPT)。如果在专业相关领域工作,这个项目允许他们毕业后延长最多12个月的停留时间。但STEM(科学、技术、工程、数学)专业的学生可延长OPT项目至24个月,这些专业的学生毕业获得H1B签证前,最多可停留3年。

因此STEM专业通常意味着潜逃风险低。而MBA的学生没有OPT延期项目,相对地就会提前离开。从人口统计学的角度来说,我们还观察到不同种族的巨大差异。

如果国际学生能够获得美国联名担保人(永久居民或美国公民),把支付风险和负担转移给联名担保人,许多美国的贷款机构将会向更多学校的国际学生提供贷款。

国际学生选择更多

美国的贷款机构并不是这一领域唯一的贷款机构,有的国家也针对本国海外留学生提供相应的贷款产品,其中有不少银行和非银金融机构都已纷纷试水这一市场。

印度就是这样一个国家。由于人口、家庭经济、政府干预的影响,印度学生贷款需求强烈。过去十年中印度的学生贷款取得了巨大的增长,2017年达到了33亿美元,其中很大一部分流向了海外留学的印度学生。事实上,印度大约有55万名学生出国留学,其中大概有40万人获得贷款。许多学生出于更加熟悉的考虑而选择国内贷款。也就是说,其他学生选择海外贷款是希望利率更低。

其他国家国内则还没有国际学生贷款选择。对巴基斯坦和尼日利亚等国家的机构来说,央行的利率让他们很难提供可行产品。这些国家寻求外部资助的学生就需要参加顶尖项目,或者在选择减少的情况下,找到美国联名担保人。

此外,政府、文化因素可能会降低海外留学生的贷款需求,比如中国,中国留学生贷款的需求很少,因为对于中国家庭来说,支付孩子的学习费用非常重要。

美国及海外贷款机构都在努力增加对这一人群的资金支持,国际学生贷款市场生态将继续增长,随着市场成熟,对潜逃风险和贷款获益的了解也会增加。这对国际学生来说是个好消息,他们将看到美国和本国的贷款选择都有所扩展。

There are almost 1.2 million international students currently studying in the United States. They hail from countries all over the world with almost a third – more than 360,000 – coming from China and just over 205,000 coming from India. South Korea and Saudi Arabia follow behind dropping down to just over 70,000 and 55,000, respectively. With education costs often approaching six figures and beyond, an international student loan ecosystem has emerged both in the U.S. and abroad to serve the educational funding needs of this demographic.

U.S. lenders have taken great interest in lending to international students studying in the U.S. as the high costs of education provides great demand for a private funding source. Challenges lenders face with international students are similar to U.S. students in that they typically do not have any credit history. However, lenders must consider the additional flight risk involved as many of these students will not stay in the United States after graduating. Thus, new challenges may arise as lenders seek to collect on loans internationally.

How to Mitigate Flight Risk

It is challenging to know just how great the flight risk is, as it is an emerging market. Lenders have found ways to mitigate this risk through school involvement, U.S. cosigners and program consideration.

Before final approval, loan amounts are often certified with the borrower’s school to verify the borrower’s attendance and funding needed. Secondly, loans are disbursed directly to the school to ensure funds are used appropriately.

In addition to school involvement, lenders focus on top programs at top schools within the U.S. For some of these top programs, there are lenders who offer a no-cosigner loan product due to the future earning potential expected. Graduate students are the main focus for this product as there tends to be less risk. However, there has been some foray into the undergraduate no cosigner loan segment.

Further, U.S. lenders can draw insights on flight risk based on the field of study a student is pursuing.  Depending on the program of focus, the ability to stay in the U.S. due to visa dynamics can differ. International students can choose to take advantage the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program after graduating. This program allows a student to extend their stay up to 12 months after graduating if they are working in a field related to their major. However, STEM majors are able to extend the OPT program up to an additional 24 months, allowing them to stay for up to 3 years after graduating before they would need to obtain an H1B visa.

Therefore, STEM majors typically represent less flight risk. On the other hand, MBA students do tend to leave earlier than their counterparts as they do not have the extended OPT option. Demographically speaking, we see drastic differences in program of study for different ethnicities.

Finally, numerous U.S. lenders will lend to international students attending a wider range of schools if they are able to obtain a U.S. cosigner – someone who is a permanent resident or U.S. citizen – which shifts the burden and risk of repayment to the cosigner.

More Options Today for International Students

Lenders in the U.S. are not the only lenders in this space, as lenders abroad have surfaced where the country dynamics are conducive to a loan program for its students whom are studying abroad. Countries where the demand for loans and the central banking rates are attractive have seen banks and non-banking financial institutions enter this market.

One such country is India. Indian students have a great need due to the size of the population, family economics, and government involvement. Student lending in India has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, reaching $3.3B for the year 2017, with a significant portion going to Indian students studying abroad. In fact, out of the roughly 550,000 students that study abroad, an estimated 400,000 were given a loan. Many students opt for a domestic option due to familiarity. With that said, other students seek loans overseas in the hope of finding a lower interest rate.

Other countries do not see the same domestic options for international student lending. For some, central bank rates can make it difficult to offer a feasible product – such as Pakistan and Nigeria. Students from these countries that are seeking external funding would need to focus on attending a top program or finding a U.S. cosigner as their options are reduced.

Further, government and cultural dynamics can stifle the ability to lend to students studying abroad – such as China – where the demand for a loan is less as it sometimes can be important for families to pay for their child’s studies.

Lenders both in the U.S. and abroad are making strides to increase their funding to this demographic and the international student lending ecosystem should continue to grow as insights into flight risk and loan performance increase as the market matures. This is good news for international students who stand to see their loan options expand both in their respective home countries and in the United States.


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