In the 2016/17 academic year, there were over one million international students in the US—and two-thirds of these students received their funding from sources outside the country, whether from personal savings, foreign institutions, or loans from family members.
But money troubles really start after international students graduate.
Prodigy Finance, the alternative student loans company launched by a group of INSEAD MBAs in 2007, has been helping international students gain access to graduate education for over ten years.
Now, Prodigy Finance has introduced a new refinancing option for international working graduates in the US and UK.
The refinance product will allow graduates with loans from multiple banks to consolidate them into one loan with Prodigy Finance—all without the need for a social security number or local credit history.
Loans to international students from foreign banks usually bring with them with high interest rates—but by refinancing with Prodigy Finance, graduates can reduce these rates, slashing their payback time in half in some instances.
Ricardo Fernandez, head of refinance at Prodigy Finance, says: “We were approached by international working graduates who were looking to refinance student loans provided by other lenders.
“We’re excited about our refinance product as we know it can make a difference to many people who live outside their home country.”
One of these international graduates is Jaime Preusche, who financed his MBA at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business with three separate bank loans totaling $150,000.
“My refinance loan with Prodigy Finance reduced my repayment period by half,” he says, “and saves me $20,000 in payments that I would have had to make.”
Through Prodigy Finance’s refinance offering, Jaime was able to combine his three separate loans into one, making repayments easier. This also allowed him to begin a credit history in the US, which will help with any future loans he may need for a mortgage or car.
Doors were opened to opportunities that beforehand would have been impossible for him because of his previous loans.
“I’m not alone in this situation, many others face the same issues, and we all need a feasible solution,” Jaime explains. “Thankfully, Prodigy Finance is willing to take care of this underserved international market.”
Prodigy Finance has already refinanced student loans worth up to $10m in their pilot refinancing scheme, and Ricardo says the company is excited to roll the service out to more international students.
“We believe the financial services industry needs to accommodate international talent mobility and the global economy better,” he adds. “We look forward to helping international working graduates in the same way we’ve been helping international students.”
For Cameron Stevens, founder and CEO of Prodigy Finance, the new refinancing options for international graduates are the ‘next logical step’ for the company, which was created to help broaden access to graduate education, especially within business and engineering degrees.
“The opportunity to study is a life-changing experience for many; however, upon graduation, the reality is that paying off a student loan is a sizeable commitment,” he concludes.
“This is the case for any working graduate, but more so for international working graduates, who, in comparison to their domestic peers, are at a disadvantage with few fair and competitive refinancing options.”