Prodigy Finance is a student loan company designed for students who want to further their education abroad. Founded in 2007, the company has helped over 19,000 students get more than $1 billion for their master’s degrees without requiring cosigners or collateral. Instead of looking at credit histories, Prodigy Finance looks at borrowers’ future earning potential to create a flexible application that qualifies more international students.

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Pros

  • No cosigner

  • No collateral

  • Simple interest

Cons

  • No fixed-rate option

  • Graduate programs only

Pros Explained

  • No Cosigner Prodigy Finance has designed its loans to meet the needs of students who don’t have access to a creditworthy cosigner.
  • No Collateral Many international student loan lenders require collateral in the form of property or a cash deposit. Prodigy Finance doesn’t.
  • Simple Interest Compound interest on student loans is one of the primary reasons borrowers have trouble paying them off. Prodigy Finance uses a simple-interest calculation that could potentially save borrowers money.

Cons Explained

  • No Fixed-Rate Option The only interest rate option is variable, so the total cost of the loan will depend on how much the three-month London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) increases or decreases over the life of your loan.
  • Graduate Programs Only Undergraduates and students looking for master’s degrees in the arts aren’t eligible for Prodigy Finance student loans.

Prodigy Finance Student Loans Available

Graduate Student Loans

Prodigy Finance student loans are available to graduate students in programs studying business, science, technology, engineering, math, public policy, economics, law, and medical professions.

Variable APR minimum 6.7%
Loan Amounts $15,000 to 100% of total cost of attendance
Loan Terms 7, 10, 15, or 20 years

The minimums and maximums vary per school. For most programs, Prodigy Finance can lend up to 80% of the cost of attendance. The availability of loan terms also varies by school and application.

Loan Eligibility

Prodigy Finance has very simple requirements for eligibility:

  • You must plan to attend a school and course it supports. Prodigy Finance currently supports more than 900 schools globally, but its programs are limited to business, public policy, law, health, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professions.
  • You must plan to study abroad. You must plan to attend school in a different country than where you live. However, If you’ve been living in the country you want to study in for less than a year when you apply, you may still be eligible.
  • Youre from one of the 150 countries Prodigy Finance supports. There are some countries, regions, and U.S. and Canadian states in which the company is unable to lend.

Is Loan Prequalification Available?

Yes. You can submit an application to get a provisional offer with the total amount you can borrow, interest rate, fees, and repayment terms. You then have two weeks to accept your offer and move on to verification, otherwise, your application expires.

Student Loan Interest Rates

Prodigy Finance offers a unique variable-rate student loan option. The rate is made up of two parts:

  • A fixed margin determined by Prodigy Finance 
  • A variable base rate determined by the three-month LIBOR 

Your fixed margin is based on information provided in your application, data provided by the supported schools, and data from past borrowers. As of May 13, 2020, the minimum variable interest rate is 6.7%.

Another favorable feature of Prodigy Finance student loans is that the interest on them is calculated using simple instead of compound interest. Simple-interest calculation means you’ll never be paying interest on the interest you accrue, which could save you money or at least compensate for increases in the three-month LIBOR.

Loan Fees

Late payments are charged a fee of $25 USD. There’s also an administration fee of up to 4% of the total loan amount added to your loan when it’s issued. Depending on Prodigy Finance’s relationship with a school, the administration fee could be as low as 0% to 2.5%.

The administration fee is spread across your monthly payments and reflected in a higher annual percentage rate (APR) on the loan. Currently, the minimum possible APR you’ll be offered is 6.7%, and the current average is 8.4%

Repayment Options

There are no application or prepayment penalties on any Prodigy Finance student loan. Full-time students aren’t required to start making payments until six months after the end of their program. Part-time students will need to start making payments three months after their loan is disbursed.

There are no in-school options for complete repayment, but you can make payments while in school, as there are no penalties to making early payments. You can make bulk payments, which is a payment more than three times your contractual installment, up through your grace period, and Prodigy Finance will automatically re-amortize your loan, lowering your monthly payment once your grace period is over.

Rewards and Discounts

Unlike other student loan companies, Prodigy Finance doesn’t offer any discounts or rewards on its student loan. That means good grades, setting up auto-draft, or a history of on-time payments won’t do anything to lower your loan’s interest rate.

There is a referral program. When you refer a friend to Prodigy Finance and he or she takes out a loan, you’ll receive a $150 Amazon gift card once the funds are sent to the school. You can do this twice. Students studying in the U.S. can also get more than 30% off on the mobile phone and data plans at two major mobile providers.

Are Cosigners Required?

Cosigners are not required; that’s the differentiating feature of Prodigy Finance student loans.

Forbearance and Loan Discharge Options

If you’re having trouble paying your loan, you can apply for forbearance, which is offered in three-month increments, with your eligibility being reevaluated after each one.

Prodigy Finance is the only student loan lender we’ve reviewed that will not discharge loans in the case of death or disability. Instead, the company will claim payment from the estate of the student.

Length of Time for Loan Approval and Disbursement

Once the student gets all the required documents submitted, it takes up to two weeks to get approved for the loan. Current borrowers can get conditionally pre-approved for next year’s loans, but they should apply at least a month before the start of the next academic period to get funds on time.

Is Student Loan Refinancing Available?

Prodigy Finance refinanced more than 1,000 international student loans in 2019. It is currently making improvements to the program, and, as of May 13, 2020, it is not accepting new applications for refinances.

Customer Service

Prodigy Finance customer service is available by email or phone Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. (GMT). You can also reach it by live chat once you register and start an application. Prodigy Finance services its own loans after disbursement.

Applying for a Prodigy Finance Student Loan

First, you’ll register online and fill out an application. You can apply before you’ve been admitted, but you’ll need to provide proof of admission before your loans are distributed.

The application has eight stages and takes around 30 minutes to complete. Some of the information you’ll need to complete it include:

  • School info
  • Personal details and contact information
  • School payment plans (including scholarships, savings, gifts, loans from other lenders, and the loan you’re requesting from Prodigy Finance)
  • Income (with verifying documents)
  • Debts and assets

Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll get a provisional offer with the total amount you can borrow, interest rate, fees, and repayment terms. You’ll then upload required documents, including a copy of your credit report and proof of identity, admission, address, income, savings, and scholarship or company sponsorship (the last two only if applicable). Once you sign your loan agreement, Prodigy Finance will send the funds directly to your school.

Paying for College

Before applying for a private student loan, those who are not U.S. citizens should still check to see if they’re eligible for any federal financial aid. Eligible noncitizens who may qualify for federal student loans include:

  • U.S. nationals (including natives of American Samoa or Swains Island)
  • U.S. permanent residents with a permanent resident card, resident alien card, or alien registration receipt card, also known as a green card
  • Anyone with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing that you’re a refugee, asylum seeker, Cuban-Haitian entrant, conditional entrant (before April 1, 1980), or parolee
  • Anyone with a T nonimmigrant status (T-visa) or who has a parent with a T-visa
  • Anyone considered a “battered immigrant-qualified alien”
  • Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau (only eligible for certain types of federal aid)

International students who don’t fall into one of these categories should check with their country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. or with the appropriate government office in your country to see if any scholarship or aid opportunities are offered. 

Verdict

Prodigy Finance student loans are ideal for international graduate students who want to study abroad but don’t have access to a qualified cosigner. While the flexible repayment terms and reasonable rates are attractive, the absence of a fixed-rate option makes repayment a gamble. Still, if you need a student loan to get your graduate degree abroad, Prodigy is a good option.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of student loan lenders. We collected over 45 data points across more than 15 lenders—including interest rates, fees, loan amounts, and repayment terms—to ensure that our content helps users make the right borrowing decision for their education needs.