Prodigy Finance lends to students seeking graduate level education abroad and requires no collateral, cosigners, or guarantors. While it’s not the right choice for most students, Prodigy fills a critical need for many international student loan borrowers.
- Key Takeaways
- Pros and Cons
- Company Overview
- Students must be seeking a master’s degree in a business, engineering, law, public policy, or medical program from one of the 900 schools Prodigy supports.
- Students must be studying at a school outside their country of residence.
- Prodigy lends in 150 countries but only in select states and regions within the U.S. and Canada.
- Borrowers aren’t required to have a cosigner or put down collateral to qualify for a student loan from Prodigy.
- Prodigy doesn’t offer fixed rate student loans, only variables.
No fixed-rate option
Graduate programs only
- Year Founded 2017
- Official Website www.prodigyfinance.com
- Loans Offered Graduate
- Costumer Service Email or phone M-F, 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. (GMT)
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.
- 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.
- 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 5.6%|
|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 100% of the cost of attendance. The availability of loan terms also varies by school and application.
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.
- You’re 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 September 9, 2020, the minimum variable interest rate is 5.6%.
Prodigy calculates its variable simple interest using this formula: Outstanding principal balance x (fixed margin + variable base rate) /365 x the days since your last transaction or days in the monthly cycle.
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.
Prodigy Finance bases interest rates on the three-month London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) meaning your interest rate may increase or decrease as often as every three months.
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 5.6%, and the current average is 7.3%
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.
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.
Students studying in a qualifying degree program abroad should look into Prodigy Finance for its flexible terms. But those who have access to a creditworthy cosigner will still want to explore other lenders to see if they qualify for a lower fixed-rate loan.
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.
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