Discover Studying Abroad

3-Minute Mentor: How to convince a bank to give you a study loan

A US-based admissions expert answers BrainGain Magazine readers’ queries.
BY Ritu Shah-Asher |   27-10-2016

We selected some of our readers’ questions and got tailor-made advice from MyIvyAlly, a team of unbiased experts based in New York City, who mentor students aspiring to study abroad.

Image source: UNE Photos, used under CC BY 2.0 license

1. We students depend on loans for our education, but bank officials think we will use the money to have fun. How can I convince my bank that I need a loan to study abroad?
- Muhammed Alshif

Hi Muhammed, it is a common dilemma for banks whether or not to offer loans to students with no prior credit history, and a lot depends on the type of course you select and the college you apply to. However, this can be tackled if you communicate with the bank and show them proof of documents of your enrollment at the institution, the courses you wish to pursue, and have a guarantor or co-signor for the loan. Lenders want to feel confident that you would be able to repay the loan after you finish your education. If they feel that you will find it difficult to get a job after your course, they may ask for collateral (house, FDs, apartment, etc) before approving your application. Not to discourage you from your pursuits but the hard reality is they usually view courses such as an MBA or Engineering as more favorable than courses in Liberal Arts or Social Sciences. Your past outstanding academic records or work experience with a good salary will also help your application. To summarize, note that a loan sanction will depend on multiple parameters:

  • Type of course and institution selected
  • Personal academic background
  • Prior work experience of salary slips
  • Prior personal credit history
  • Type and value of collateral offered
  • Guarantor or Co-signor

2. I want to do a Ph.D in biotech and bioinformatics. Where do I start?
- Deepali Chavan

Hi Deepali, great question! I would recommend researching top US universities resources such as the US News and World Report or the QS report. Your subject area seems very focused and specialized, so not all universities offer this program, the ones that do, offer it in some capacity at their undergrad or masters level but not in the same combination. Some of the universities that do offer the program in the Masters domain are listed for your reference. I recommend reaching out to the universities and communicating with a professor to discuss your research project. Once you secure an approval from a professor, it will be easier for you to apply to the program and will have a higher chance of acceptance. 

  • Columbia University
  • Yale University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • Arizona State University
  • Northwestern University
  • University of California Davis
  • Oregon State University
  • Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Washington State University
  • Iowa State University

3. I am from India. I have completed my B.Tech, and I want to go to Canada or the US for a master’s in structural engineering. How can I get a scholarship? Are there scholarships for Indian students in the universities there?
- Sanghsheel

Hi Sanghsheel – yes, there are plenty of scholarship options available for international students looking to pursue their Masters in the US. You can either look at the colleges’ scholarship options (in your case specific to structural engineering such as Stanford University, University of California, University of Texas – Austin, etc) that you are applying to, or browse for options on sites such as these:

  • Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship program

The scholarship processes differ for each program. I highly recommend reaching out to the program director for more information and asking specifically about their acceptance requirements to tailor your application towards it. Do look out for the contacts of admissions officers on the school sites that you wish to apply and get in touch with them directly to enquire more about scholarship options from the schools. Alternatively, do not miss out on any local scholarship opportunities offered by companies in India such as the Tata, Mahindra, Infosys, TCS and other scholarships.


Ritu Shah-Asher is Founder and Chief Ally at, a New York-based team of mentors who help aspiring students get into their dream college



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