International students attending universities in the U.S. are at a disadvantage when it comes to student loans. Coming from a different country, international students typically will not have a credit score or credit history as is required by many loan applications. And, in many cases, they also have no collateral, jobs, or cosigners either.
Of course, it makes sense that these students would not have a U.S. credit history. But fixing that issue isn't easy or quick. And, for most international students, trying to find a creditworthy U.S. cosigner would be an exercise in futility.
But MPower Financing wants to bridge the student loan gap for international students and DACA recipients. Keep reading our full review to learn how they are able to offer private student loans to students in the U.S. and Canada without requiring cosigners, collateral or credit history.
- Student loan financing for international students
- No credit history or cosigner required
- Interest rates and fees may be higher than some alternatives
MPower Financing Details
MPower Student Loans
Min Loan Amount
Max Loan Amount
$50,000 per academic period ($100,000 lifetime limit)
Who Is MPower Financing?
MPower Financing is a private student loan provider for international students. It was formed in 2014 and is based in Washington, DC. It’s CEO, co-founder, and board chairman is Emmanual (Manu) Smadja. The company has raised $275 million in funding with its last round raising $5 million on March 10, 2021.
What Do They Offer?
Instead of using traditional loan qualifications, MPower Financing focuses on the student’s academic success and career path for determining creditworthiness. Here's how their loans work.
School And Student Eligibility
There are currently more than 350 schools in the U.S and Canada that are eligible for MPower Financing student loans. It's worth nothing that's far less than traditional student loans, which are typically offered to students at all ~6,000 Title IV schools. You must already be admitted to one of these schools before applying for an MPower student loan.
No cosigner is needed (or even accepted). Currently, they will lend to students from over 190 countries. And while their loan program is geared towards international students, it should be noted that it's open to domestic students as well.
Loan Terms And Fees
Loans are disbursed directly to schools instead of the student. Students must start paying loan interest 45 days after the loan has been disbursed.
After the student graduates, they’ll get a 6-month grace period. However, interest-only payments must still be made during the grace period. Once the grace period ends, full payments must be made.
Loans must be paid back within 10 years. Students can borrow from $2,001 up to $50,000 per academic period (semester, trimester, quarter, or year). There's also a lifetime borrowing limit of $100,000.
Interest Rates And Available Discounts
The interest rate on MPower Financing student loans is fixed. As of June 24, 2020, APR rates range from 8.89% and 14.97%. By enrolling in autopay (U.S. bank accounts), you’ll receive a 0.5% discount. Meaning, if your rate is 8.89%, it will reduce to 8.39%.
There are additional discounts that can be obtained. Once you’ve made 6 consecutive auto payments, you’ll receive another 0.50% discount. Finally, another 0.5% discount can be had by showing proof of graduation and employment. That’s a total of 1.50% off your interest rate. That would reduce a 8.89% rate to 7.39%.
Students can explore three different scholarship opportunities with MPower Financing. The first is its monthly scholarships, which typically have grand prizes of $1,000. Second, there is a Women In Stem Scholarship which has a grand prize of $3,000. And, third, MPower offers a Global Citizen Scholarship which has the highest grand prize of $5,000.
What Borrower Protections Are Available?
Private loans are notorious for being less flexible than federal loans. Perhaps, most notably, private lenders aren't able to offer income-driven repayment plans. Nor are private loans eligible for federal forbearance, deferment, or forgiveness plans.
MPower Financing does offer its own hardship forbearance policy, however. Borrowers can receive up to 24 months of forbearance, applies in 6-month increments. That's one of the most generous forbearance plans that we've seen.
Unfortunately, MPower doesn't do quite as well in other areas. There's no option to defer payments during post-graduate training such as a medical residency or fellowship. It also doesn't publish any details about death or disability discharge policies.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes, there is a 5% loan origination fee which is rather high. On a $10,000 loan, the origination fee would be $500. There are also late fees of 4% of the payment amount or $5.00 (whichever is less) and a returned payment fee of $5.00. There are no fees, however, for paying the loan off early.
How Does MPower Financing Compare?
MPower isn't the only student loan company that will lend to international students and DACA recipients. There are a few other companies in that space that may offer more flexible terms or lower fees. Here's a quick look at how MPower compares:
U.S. Cosigner Required
Up to 5%
Variable and Fixed
7 to 20 Years
5 to 15 Years
How Do I Open An Account?
One of the best places to start with MPower Financing is to complete their eligibility check. If it looks you meet their basic requirements, you can begin the full application process and provide the necessary documents.
Is It Safe And Secure?
Yes, since you're receiving a loan, there is no money to deposit. MPower Financing uses encryption on its website and any payments are made through ACH transfers using bank-grade encryption.
How Do I Contact MPower Financing?
U.S. students can reach out to MPower Financing by phone at 202-417-3800 and students in Canada can call 647-503-4607. If you live in any other country, you can use this form to request a callback.
Note that MPower uses two third-party companies (Launch and Firstmark) to service its loans. If your loan is serviced by Launch, you can contact them at 877-354-2629, Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (CT). For loans serviced by Firstmark, call 888-538-7378, from 7 AM – 8 PM (CT) Monday through Friday.
Is It Worth It?
For international students and DACA recipients that have few alternatives for financing an American education, MPower Financing provides reasonable loan terms. Borrowers also get 2 years of interest-only payments plus another 6 months after graduation before full payments kick in.
However, you might find MPower Financing interest rates and/or fees to be higher than other private student loan options. To make sure you're getting the best deal, be sure to get quotes from two or three more lenders that specialize in international student lending. These are our top international student loan lenders of 2020.
MPower Financing FAQs
Here are a few of the most questions that we receive about MPower Financing student loans:
Is MPower Financing legit?
Yes, MPower Financing is a real student loan company that has a lot of venture capital backing and could be one of the few student loan options for international students. However, MPower does charge a 5% origination fee and students who have U.S.-based cosigners will likely be able to find lower interest rates elsewhere.
Can MPower students loans be paid back in multiple currencies?
Yes, MPower has partnered with NorthStar to make it easy for Canadian students to pay in CAD. And it has partnered with Flywire to help students in other countries make payments in most currencies other than USD.
Does MPOWER provide help with Visa processing?
Yes, MPOWER provides students with free visa support letters at no cost and offers career strategy services as well.
What documentation do I need to verify my DACA status with MPower?
You'll need to either provide your I-797 Notice of Action approval on an I-821D Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals case OR your I-766, with the category listed as “C33.”
MPower Financing Features
Min Loan Amount
Max Loan Amount
Lifetime Maximum Borrowing Limit
Pre-Qualified Rates (Soft Credit Check)
Up to 24 months
Up to 24 months
More than 350 schools in the U.S. and Canada
Launch and Firstmark
Custom Service Phone Number
Address For Sending Payments
Loans serviced by Launch:
Launch Servicing LLC
Loans serviced by Firstmark:
P.O. Box 2977
Omaha, NE 68103-2977
MPower Student Loans Review
Rewards and Perks
Rates and Fees
Ease of Use
MPower Financing offers student loans in the U.S. and Canada to international students without cosigners, collateral or credit history.
- No cosigner or credit history required
- Interest-only payments during school
- Up to 1.50% of available rate discounts
- High origination fee
- Can’t fully defer payments during school
- Only one loan term option (10 years)
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.