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Best Overseas Student Loans & Where to Apply?

June 21, 2024

Key Takeaways

Best overseas student loans for Singaporeans include DBS (4.75% p.a., up to 10 years), OCBC (5.17% EIR, up to 20 years), Maybank (from 5.20% p.a., up to 10 years), and CIMB (5.83%-9.1% p.a., up to 10 years). Consider loan amount, tenure, interest rates, and fees. Alternatives like scholarships, bursaries, and licensed money lenders can also support your financial needs for studying abroad.

Studying abroad is a dream for many Singaporean students, offering a chance to explore new cultures, gain a global perspective, and enhance academic qualifications. However, the financial aspect of international education can be challenging.

That’s where student loans come in.

But how do you choose the best one? With so many options available, it’s important to understand what to look for and where to apply.

In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider, highlight top loan providers, and discuss alternatives to loans.

Ready to embark on your educational journey? Let’s dive in.

What to Consider Before Applying for a Student Loan

When you’re planning to study abroad, understanding the specifics of student loans is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of key factors to consider before you apply.

Eligibility Requirements

Before diving into the details of various loans, make sure you meet the basic eligibility criteria. Lenders have different requirements, which usually include age, nationality, income levels, and whether you have a guarantor.

Confirming these criteria early on ensures you don’t waste time on loans you can’t qualify for.

Loan Amount and Tenure

Think about how much money you’ll need for your entire education, which includes tuition, living expenses, travel, and books. Different lenders offer varying maximum loan amounts and repayment terms.

Choosing a loan that fits your needs and has a repayment schedule that matches your financial situation is crucial for managing your finances effectively.

Interest Rates

Interest rates are a big factor in how much you’ll end up repaying. These rates can vary greatly between lenders. Look for the most favourable rates and check if they are fixed or variable, as this will impact your monthly payments.

Fees and Charges

Be aware of the additional fees that come with your student loan, such as application fees, processing fees, and early repayment penalties.

Each lender has a different fee structure, so it’s important to read all the details and understand the full cost of your loan. This helps avoid any unexpected expenses down the road.

Understanding these elements can help you choose the best student loan to support your studies abroad without unnecessary financial stress.

Best Overseas Student Loan Providers in Singapore

Best Education Loan Rates (DBS, OCBC, Maybank, CIMB)

Choosing the right loan involves comparing interest rates, repayment terms, and additional features. Here’s a summary of the education loans offered by DBS, OCBC, Maybank, and CIMB.

BankInterest RateLoan TenureAdditional Features
DBS4.75% p.a.Up to 10 yearsFlexible repayment options, no early repayment penalty
OCBC4.5% (EIR 5.17%).Up to 20 yearsLow processing fees, fixed interest rate
MaybankFrom 5.20% (Education Loan Board Rate plus 0.45% p.a.)Up to 10 yearsQuick approval process, flexible loan amounts
CIMB5.83% – 9.1% (Varies with tenure).Up to 10 yearsCompetitive rates, personalised loan packages

DBS Education Loan

DBS offers an education loan with a competitive interest rate of 4.75% per annum. The loan tenure can extend up to 10 years, allowing for manageable monthly repayments.

A key benefit is the flexible repayment options, including no penalties for early repayment, which provides financial flexibility.

OCBC Education Loan

OCBC’s education loan comes with an interest rate of 5.20% per annum and a maximum tenure of 20 years. It features low processing fees and a fixed interest rate, making it easier to plan your finances without worrying about fluctuating interest costs.

Maybank Education Loan

Maybank provides an education loan at an interest rate of 4.78% per annum, with a repayment period of up to 10 years. One of the standout features is the quick approval process, which is beneficial for students needing immediate financial assistance.

Plus, Maybank offers flexible loan amounts to cater to different financial needs.

CIMB Education Loan

CIMB’s education loan has an interest rate of 4.88% per annum and a loan tenure of up to 10 years. CIMB offers competitive rates and personalised loan packages to suit individual financial circumstances, making it a viable option for students seeking tailored financial solutions.

Comparing these options can help you find the best education loan to support your overseas studies, ensuring you choose the one that best fits your financial needs and repayment capabilities.

Alternatives to Student Loans

While student loans are a common way to finance education abroad, several alternatives can help reduce or even eliminate the need to take on debt. Exploring these options can ease the financial burden associated with studying overseas.


Scholarships are highly sought after because they don’t require repayment. These are awarded based on various criteria such as academic excellence, sports achievements, artistic talents, or other specific qualifications set by the awarding organisation.

Merit-based scholarships are offered by educational institutions, private organisations, and public entities. They are awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding academic records or excellence in other fields. Applying for scholarships can be competitive, often requiring essays, recommendation letters, and maintaining a high GPA.

Some scholarships cover not only tuition fees but also provide stipends for living expenses, travel, and books.

Licensed Money lenders

Licensed money lenders offer a viable alternative for students who might not meet bank requirements or need quicker loan approvals. These lenders typically have shorter application processes and faster fund disbursement.

Compared to banks, licensed money lenders have more relaxed criteria and often require less stringent credit checks. Although the loan amounts might be lower, the terms are flexible, and repayment schedules can be tailored to suit the borrower’s financial situation.

Plus, interest rates are regulated to ensure they remain affordable.

Exploring these alternatives can significantly reduce the financial strain of studying abroad, allowing you to focus on your education and the opportunities that come with it.

At GS Credit, we offer flexible loan solutions tailored to your needs, especially for managing education expenses. For personalised financial assistance, apply for a loan with GS Credit and take a step towards achieving financial stability while studying abroad.

Bursaries and Grants

Bursaries and grants are forms of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. These are typically awarded based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of both. They can cover a portion or the entirety of tuition fees and sometimes contribute towards living expenses.

Government and Private Grants

Various grants are available from government bodies and private organisations aimed at supporting students in funding their education. Some grants target students pursuing specific fields of study or research crucial to the country’s development.

For those interested in research, research grants can support both the cost of education and the expenses associated with research projects.

Personal and Family Resources

Personal savings and family support can be excellent ways to fund overseas education. In Singapore, parents can use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to pay for their children’s education, which is a significant help for local and some approved overseas institutions.

Planning well in advance can help personal savings cover a substantial part of education expenses.

Top Reasons to Study Abroad

Pursuing higher education overseas offers more than just an academic degree; it provides a holistic experience in a different cultural setting. Here are the top reasons why studying abroad can be a great choice for Singaporean students:

Career Opportunities

Earning a degree from an international university can significantly boost your career prospects. Employers value the diverse experiences gained from studying abroad, including adaptability, global awareness, and cross-cultural communication skills.

Building a global network of contacts can also open doors to various career opportunities, making you a standout candidate in the job market.

Personal Development

Studying abroad is a transformative experience that encourages personal growth and independence. Adapting to a new environment pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you develop resilience.

Immersing yourself in a different culture enhances your understanding and appreciation of diverse perspectives, which is invaluable in both personal and professional contexts.

Skill Enhancement

Different educational systems worldwide offer unique strengths, allowing you to develop skills that may not be readily available at home.

Studying abroad often provides the opportunity to learn or improve a second language, a highly sought-after skill by many employers.

Plus, specific regions excel in certain fields, such as technology in Silicon Valley or fashion in Paris, offering specialised knowledge and training.

Global Perspective

Living and studying in a foreign country can significantly broaden your worldview. Exposure to global issues and various cultural approaches can enhance your understanding of how different societies operate.

This global perspective is particularly beneficial for students in fields like business and finance, as it helps them understand international markets and economies.

Life-Long Memories

The experiences gained from studying abroad create lifelong memories and friendships. From travelling to new destinations and trying different cuisines to experiencing diverse cultures, the adventures you embark on are both educational and enjoyable. These memories contribute to your personal growth and enrich your life in meaningful ways.

Exploring these benefits can make the idea of studying abroad even more appealing, encouraging you to take the leap and experience the world beyond Singapore.

Top Universities to Consider for Studying Abroad

Selecting the right university is crucial for a fulfilling study abroad experience. Here are some top universities in popular study destinations.

United Kingdom
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
United States
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australian National University
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • University of British Columbia
New Zealand
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University of Wellington

Mastering Your Student Loan Payment Strategy

Effectively managing your student loan payments is crucial for maintaining a healthy financial situation, preserving an excellent credit score, and ultimately achieving financial independence. Choosing the right loan and ensuring timely repayments are essential to avoid complications and financial strain.

Even with careful planning, there may be times when you need extra help with your finances—whether it’s covering unexpected expenses, consolidating debt, or improving your cash flow.

At GS Credit, we understand the challenges of managing finances, especially when studying abroad. If you’re looking for a flexible loan solution to help manage your education expenses or cover immediate financial needs, we’re here to assist you.

Explore our loan options and apply today for personalised financial assistance tailored to your needs. Apply for a loan with GS Credit and take a step towards financial stability and a successful academic journey.

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