Best Student Loans for Overseas Studies (2022)

Guest Contributor
Last updated Jul 14, 2022

With the costly expense of international education, tapping into your savings may not be the wisest when you can pay monthly instalments with an education loan. We list down the best student loans for international studies. 

With more than 20,000 Singaporeans currently studying abroad, there is definitely a demand for overseas education loans. For most Singaporeans, this cost can be pretty onerous on the pocket, but as they say, ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. 

Whether you carve your path overseas, or shape your future with industry-leading specialisations in Singapore, here are some of the best student loans you can find in Singapore. Read on to find out which prospect best suits your financial needs. 

Planning an overseas education: how to sponsor your studies

Are financial constraints holding you back from choosing your ideal university? Sometimes, pursuing your dreams can take a toll on your finances, but not when you know various financing options offered by universities.

If you’re planning to study abroad, there are several ways to fund your education without exhausting your savings. Here’s what you can opt for instead.

Student loans

A student loan spreads the cost of your education across fixed monthly instalments. Both government-run and private banks offer students loans. Government-run banks may be a more economical option as they offer a lower interest on student loans. 

Student loans are meant to alleviate your financial burden so that you can bring your dreams to fruition. 

Merit-based scholarships

A merit-based scholarship is the most sought-after financing option amongst students. Universities, governments, or global organisations grant these scholarships to meritorious students. 

Scholarships can easily subsidise the cost of education by about 25 – 50%. In order to get a scholarship, you must have an exceptional academic record and significant extracurricular accomplishments including community work. 

Grants and bursaries

Where scholarships are often merit-based, grants and bursaries are needs-based financial aids. Universities award grants based on an applicant’s socio-economic standing and special considerations for the differently-abled. 

Grants are available to help students overcome financial obstacles. They enable financially disadvantaged students to gain a new perspective in life and gain a foothold in society.  

Sports scholarships

Sports scholarships are reserved for high-performing athletes competing on a national or international level. Students that perform exceptionally well in a specific sport can also apply for this scholarship. Universities also benefit from this as high-performing students can add to their diversity. 

What are the best student loans for overseas studies? 

Now that you know your way surrounding financing your education, let’s take a look at some of the best overseas education loans offered in Singapore. 

OCBC FRANK education loan

The OCBC FRANK education loan is a feasible and financially viable option. Affordable monthly instalments will enable you to truly focus on attaining your education rather than worrying about a potential financial strain. 

  • Features:
    • A competitive interest rate of 4.5% per annum
    • Education loans are capped at S$150,000
    • You can choose a maximum tenure of eight years to repay the loan
    • Ideal for local studies 
  • Eligibility:
    • Singaporean Citizens or PR holders
    • 21 years old or above 
    • Salaried employee, variable income, commission-based earner, or self-employed
    • Annual income SG$4,000 and above
    • Applicants without a job or whose monthly income cannot support the loan amount will need a guarantor
    • Guarantor must be 21 – 60 years old

Maybank education loan

The Maybank education loan could ease your budget constraints for overseas studies despite having a lower principal limit compared to other student loans. Regarded as one of Singapore’s most budget-friendly overseas education loans, the Maybank education loan comes with a competitive interest rate and affordable monthly instalments. 

  • Features
    • Competitive interest rate of 4.45% per annum 
    • Borrow up to six times your monthly income
    • A favourable loan tenure of up to eight years
    • Processing fee: a nominal 1.5% of the loan approved
    • An affordable overseas study loan in Singapore
  • Eligibility:
    • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • 18 – 65 years old
    • A salaried employee a commission-based earner, self-employed, or have a variable income
    • For full-time studies
    • Required guarantor (or a maximum of two) to co-sign the loan
    • Guarantor/s must be aged between 21 – 65 years old, and should be financially stable upon loan maturity
    • Guarantor must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident with a minimum income of S$30,000 per annum.
    • Guarantor must be closely related to the student (spouse, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, legal guardian)

DBS student loan

A DBS student loan can usually be used as an extension to your existing education loan or grant, such as a scholarship or a tuition fee loan. With a DBS student loan, you can get up to 20% of the subsidised tuition fee paid at your university, or up to S$3,600 for annual living allowance. 

With this student loan, you can enjoy an interest-free period of up to five years. If applicable, the bank starts charging interest after your graduation, at average prime rates of OCBC or UOB, with a minimum repayment obligation of S$100. 

  • Features
    • Get up to 20% of your subsidised tuition fee, or up to S$3,600 for annual living allowance
    • Pay 0% interest during the course of your study
    • A favourable repayment period of up to 20 years, with interest payments starting after your graduation
    • Repayments begin no later than six months after your graduation 
    • Affordable minimum monthly payments of S$100
    • Option of a a lump sum or monthly instalments
  • Eligibility:
    • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • 18 – 65 years old
    • If applicable, your guarantor must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident with the age of 21 – 60 years old
    • International applicants may present an international guarantor
    • You must be an undergraduate who received educational funding for tuition fees from at least one or a mix of the following: 
      • Tuition fee loan
      • CPF education loan
      • MENDAKI tertiary tuition fee subsidy
      • Scholarship, grant, or bursary
      • A tuition fee loan or subsidy from a registered government agency 

CIMB monthly rest education loan

With a CIMB monthly rest education loan, you can borrow up to S$200,000 to finance the tuition fee of your overseas education. The higher maximum principal makes this loan popular among students with high international fees. Besides the favourable loan terms, this loan offers affordable monthly instalments for middle-income Singaporeas. 

  • Features
    • A feasible 5.39% annual interest rate
    • A higher loan limit of S$200,000.
    • Favourable tenure of up to 10 years 
    • Processing fee: a nominal 2% of the approved amount 
    • Alleviates the financial burden of Singaporeans planning to pursue an overseas education
  • Eligibility:
    • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • 16-50 years old
    • Salaried employee, variable income, commission-based earner, or self-employed
    • Applicant must earn an annual income of S$24,000
    • Guarantor must be a close family member with an annual income of S$24,000. 

POSB Further Assist 

POSB Further Assist can be the perfect launchpad for your overseas study plans, albeit at a slightly high interest rate of 5.88%. Luckily, if your university is on POSB’S list of preferred institutions you may be able to avail of the special interest rate of 4.38. The loan amount is capped at S$160,000. 

  • Features
    • Annual interest rate of 5.88% or 4.38% if your university is on POSB’s preferred list
    • You can borrow up to 10 times your monthly income or S$160,000 
    • A flexible loan tenure of 10 years 
    • A nominal processing fee from 2-3% of the approved amount 
    • Low charge on late repayment (S$30)
    • 2.5% processing fee is deducted upon disbursement
  • Eligibility:
    • Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • 17-65 years old when applying and during maturity. 
    • An annual income of S$18,000. 
    • Guarantor must be 21-65 years old with a minimum income requirement of S$24,000 
    • Guarantor must be an immediate family member
    • Only one guarantor allowed

Overseas study loans in Singapore

ItemOCBCMaybank DBS RHBCIMB
School locationSingapore / overseasOverseasSingapore / overseasOverseasOverseas
Covers Tuition feeYesYesNoYesYes
Covers Living expensesNoYesYes (up to $3,600 annually)YesYes
Processing fee2%1.5%2.5%2%2%
Interest 4.5%4.45% Interest-free for up to 5 years. Prime rates of OCBC applicable after graduation.4.88%5.39%
Loan tenureUp to 8 yearsUp to 8 yearsUp to 20 yearsUp to 10 yearsUp to 10 years
Maximum loanS$150,000Up to 6 times your monthly income20% of the subsidised fee + S$3,600 as annual allowanceS$100,000S$200,000
Number of guarantors12133
Guarantor’s income requirementS$24,000 per annumS$30,000 per annumS$24,000 per annumS$30,000 per annumS$24,000 per annum

Conclusion

When choosing a loan to sponsor your tertiary education, it is important to holistically review your options. Weighing the interest, repayment terms, and pros and cons of each option will help you narrow down your prospects.   

Additionally, keep in mind that a longer term means more interest accrued on your loan. The shorter the term, the less interest you will incur. Compare your options carefully and find your ideal education loan with SingSaver. 


Read these next:

Best Education Loans in Singapore 2022
CPF Education Loan: How Much CPF Funds Can You Use?
Maybank Education Loan Review (2022): Borrow Up to S$200,000 for Your Studies

Guest Contributor July 14, 2022 92975