Best Overseas Student Loans & Where to Apply


Best Overseas Student Loans & Where to Apply

June 6, 2024

Key Takeaways

For overseas student loans, top options in Singapore include DBS (4.38% p.a.), OCBC (5.17% p.a.), Maybank (4.45% p.a.), and CIMB (5.22% p.a.). Loan amounts vary up to S$200,000 with tenures up to 10 years. Consider eligibility criteria, interest rates, and fees. Alternatives include licensed money lenders, merit-based scholarships, and bursaries to reduce financial burden.

Embarking on the journey of overseas education is an exciting and life-changing decision. However, financing this dream can be a daunting task. Understanding the options available for overseas student loans and knowing where to apply is crucial for making informed decisions.

This guide will help you know the best overseas student loans and where to apply, ensuring you get the financial support needed for your education abroad.

Factors to Consider When Applying for a Student Loan

Below are some of the factors to consider when you want to apply for an overseas student loan:

Eligibility Criteria

Before you start applying for a student loan, it’s essential to understand the eligibility criteria. Each lender has specific requirements that applicants must meet. Common criteria include:

  • Age: Typically, applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Citizenship: Loans are available to Singaporeans and permanent residents, and some lenders also offer loans to foreign students with valid study permits.
  • Income: Some lenders require a minimum annual income for both the borrower and the guarantor.

Understanding these criteria helps you determine your eligibility and identify which loans you can apply for, saving time and effort.

Loan Amount and Tenure

The loan amount and tenure are crucial factors to consider. The amount you can borrow often depends on your income and the lender’s policies. Here’s a breakdown of typical loan amounts and tenures offered by leading banks in Singapore:

LenderMaximum Loan AmountLoan Tenure
DBS BankS$160,000Up to 10 years
OCBC BankS$150,000Up to 8 years
MaybankS$200,000Up to 10 years
CIMB BankS$200,000Up to 10 years

These figures highlight the importance of researching and comparing different lenders to find a loan that meets your financial needs and repayment capabilities.

Interest Rates

Interest rates can significantly impact the total cost of your loan. Rates vary between lenders, and comparing them to find the most favourable terms is essential. For instance:

  • DBS Bank offers an interest rate of 4.38% p.a.
  • OCBC Bank’s Frank loan has an effective interest rate (EIR) of 5.17% p.a.
  • Maybank offers a rate of 4.45% p.a.
  • CIMB Bank has an EIR of 5.22% p.a.

Comparing these rates helps you understand the cost implications and choose a loan that minimises your financial burden.


Consider the additional charges associated with the loan besides the interest rate. These may include:

  • Processing fees: Typically around 2%-2.5% of the loan amount.
  • Late payment fees: Up to $60 per month.
  • Early repayment penalties: Charges for repaying the loan before the tenure ends.

These fees can add up, so factoring them into your decision-making process is essential.

Penalties for Late Payments

Understanding the penalties for late payments is crucial to avoid unnecessary costs. Most lenders charge a late payment fee and higher interest rates on overdue amounts. For example, the late payment fee can be up to $60 per month, and the interest rate can increase by up to 4% p.a. for overdue amounts.

By carefully considering these factors, you can make informed decisions and choose a loan that best suits your needs and financial situation.

Best Education Loan Rates in Singapore

When looking for the best overseas education loan, comparing the offerings of various banks and financial institutions in Singapore is essential. Here’s a detailed look at some of the top options available:

DBS Bank

DBS Bank is one of the leading banks in Singapore, offering competitive education loans. Their Further Assist loan program provides:

  • Interest Rate: 4.38% p.a.
  • Processing Fees: 2.5% of the loan amount
  • Loan Tenure: Up to 10 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: S$160,000
  • Eligibility: Minimum annual gross income of S$18,000 for the borrower and S$24,000 for the guarantor

This loan is ideal for students seeking a flexible repayment period and a substantial loan amount.


OCBC’s Frank education loan is another excellent option for financing overseas education:

  • Interest Rate: 4.5% (EIR 5.17% p.a.)
  • Processing Fees: 2.5% of the loan amount
  • Loan Tenure: Up to 8 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: S$150,000 or ten times your monthly income, whichever is lower
  • Eligibility: Minimum annual gross income of S$24,000 for the borrower

The Frank loan allows for a manageable repayment schedule and competitive interest rates.


Maybank offers a comprehensive student loan package suitable for overseas education:

  • Interest Rate: 4.45% p.a.
  • Processing Fees: None specified
  • Loan Tenure: Up to 10 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: S$200,000 or eight times your monthly income, whichever is lower
  • Eligibility: Minimum annual gross income of S$18,000 for the borrower and S$30,000 for a guarantor

Maybank’s loan is excellent for students needing higher loan amounts with flexible repayment terms.


CIMB Bank provides competitive interest rates and loan terms for students:

  • Interest Rate: 4.78% p.a. (EIR 5.22% p.a.)
  • Processing Fees: 2% of the loan amount
  • Loan Tenure: Up to 10 years
  • Maximum Loan Amount: S$200,000 or eight times your monthly income, whichever is lower
  • Eligibility: Minimum annual gross income of S$24,000 for the borrower and guarantor

CIMB’s student loan is ideal for students looking for a balance between interest rates and loan tenure.

By comparing these options, you can select the loan that best suits your financial requirements and supports your educational goals abroad.

For a reliable and flexible loan solution to fund your overseas education, consider Credit Thirty3. We offer tailored loan options for individuals. Apply now through Credit Thirty3 to secure the financial support you need for your studies abroad.

Alternatives to Bank Overseas Study Loans

Licensed Money Lenders

If bank loans are not an option, licensed money lenders provide a viable alternative for funding overseas education. These lenders offer:

  • Loan Amount: Varies, often up to six times your monthly income
  • Interest Rate: Up to 4% p.a.
  • Loan Tenure: Typically up to 36 months, but negotiable
  • Eligibility: Singaporeans over 18 years old, no credit score requirement

Licensed money lenders offer flexible terms and can be a good option for those who do not qualify for traditional bank loans.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Another alternative is to apply for merit-based scholarships. These scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence and other achievements. Key points include:

  • Eligibility: High academic performance, involvement in extracurricular activities
  • Application Process: Varies by institution and scholarship program
  • Benefits: Covers tuition fees, sometimes includes a stipend for living expenses

Scholarships can significantly reduce the financial burden of studying abroad.

By considering these alternatives, you can find additional ways to fund your overseas education, ensuring you have the financial support needed to pursue your studies.

How to Fund Your University Education

Funding your university education can be approached through multiple avenues. Here are some of the most effective methods:


Bursaries are financial awards provided based on financial need. They are usually offered by educational institutions and various organisations. Key points include:

  • Eligibility: Demonstrated financial need, academic performance
  • Application Process: Submit financial information and academic records
  • Benefits: Covers tuition fees, sometimes includes additional living expenses

Bursaries are a valuable resource for students who need financial assistance to cover their education costs.


Scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, athletic skills, or other talents. Key points include:

  • Eligibility: High academic performance, specific talents or achievements
  • Application Process: Varies, often requires essays, recommendations, and proof of achievements
  • Benefits: Covers tuition fees, sometimes includes a stipend for living expenses

Scholarships can provide substantial financial relief and are highly sought after by students.

Education Loans / Study Loans

Education loans or study loans are another primary method of funding university education. Key points include:

  • Eligibility: Based on income, credit history, and other criteria
  • Loan Amount: Varies by lender, typically up to several times your monthly income
  • Interest Rates: Varies by lender; compare to find the best rates
  • Loan Tenure: Typically up to 10 years, depending on the lender

Education loans provide a flexible and accessible way to finance your education.


Personal savings are an essential part of funding education. Key points include:

  • Benefits: No repayment required, interest-free
  • Planning: Requires disciplined saving over time, possibly with parental support

Savings provide a secure and interest-free way to cover education costs.

Parents’ CPF (for local universities)

For local universities in Singapore, parents’ CPF can be used to fund education. Key points include:

  • Eligibility: For local universities such as NUS, NTU, SMU, SUSS, SIT, and SUTD
  • Application Process: Parents must apply to use their CPF savings for educational expenses
  • Benefits: Covers tuition fees, interest-free

Using CPF provides a convenient and interest-free option for funding local university education.

By exploring these funding options, you can effectively plan and secure the necessary finances for your university education.

Benefits of Studying at a University Overseas

Studying at a university overseas offers numerous benefits that extend beyond academics. Here are some of the key advantages:

Career Opportunities

An international degree often opens up broader career opportunities. Key points include:

  • Global Recognition: Degrees from overseas universities are recognised worldwide, enhancing employability.
  • Networking: Studying abroad allows you to build a global network of contacts.
  • Internships and Job Placements: Many universities offer internship programs and job placement services.

An international degree can provide a competitive edge in the job market.

Personal Development

Living and studying in a foreign country fosters personal growth. Key points include:

  • Independence: Managing life away from home builds independence and self-reliance.
  • Adaptability: Adapting to new cultures and environments enhances flexibility and problem-solving skills.
  • Confidence: Overcoming the challenges of living abroad boosts self-confidence.

Studying abroad can significantly contribute to your personal development.

Skill Enhancement

Studying overseas helps you develop new skills. The skills include:

  • Language Skills: Learning a new language or improving proficiency in a foreign language.
  • Cultural Competence: Understanding and appreciating different cultures.
  • Academic Skills: Exposure to different teaching methods and academic standards.

These skills are valuable in both personal and professional life.

Global Exposure

Studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to see the world. The opportunities include:

  • Travel: Exploring new countries and cities during breaks.
  • Cultural Immersion: Experiencing local customs, traditions, and lifestyles.
  • Broadened Perspectives: Gaining new perspectives on global issues.

Global exposure enriches your worldview and broadens your horizons.

Independence and Life Skills

Living abroad teaches essential life skills. These skills include:

  • Household Management: Learning to manage household chores and finances.
  • Problem-Solving: Developing problem-solving skills in a new environment.
  • Time Management: Balancing academics, social life, and personal responsibilities.

These skills are invaluable for your future endeavours.

By studying overseas, you gain experiences and skills that can shape your future and enhance your personal and professional life.

Top Universities for Overseas Study

Choosing the right university is crucial for your overseas education. Here are some of the top universities in Australia, the UK, and New Zealand that are popular among Singaporean students:


  1. University of Melbourne
    • Known for its research facilities and diverse academic programs.
  2. University of Sydney
    • Offers a vibrant campus life and extensive student support services.
  3. University of Queensland
    • Known for its strong focus on research and innovation.
  4. RMIT University
    • Offers practical, industry-focused education.
  5. Murdoch University
    • Provides flexible learning options and a supportive environment.

United Kingdom

  1. University of Birmingham
    • Offers a wide range of courses and strong academic support.
  2. University of Manchester
    • Known for its research excellence and diverse student community.
  3. University of Edinburgh
    • Provides a rich history and world-class education.
  4. University of Southampton
    • Offers strong engineering and technology programs.

New Zealand

  1. University of Auckland
    • Top-ranked university in New Zealand with comprehensive programs.

You can find the best fit for your academic and personal growth by considering these top universities.

Applying for Overseas Student Loans

Deciding on the best overseas student loan and where to apply is a critical step in your educational journey. By carefully evaluating your options and considering factors like eligibility, loan amounts, interest rates, and additional fees, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial needs and academic goals.

To secure the best loan for your overseas education, consider applying through Credit Thirty3. We offer competitive loan solutions tailored for individuals. Explore your options and apply for a loan with Credit Thirty3 today to support your educational journey.