Founded in 2007, Prodigy Finance is an online lender that specializes in private international student loans for graduate students. Its loans, which are backed by investors and not by a traditional bank, don’t require any co-signers or collateral. This alone makes them a good option for international students, as well as for U.S. students looking to complete their master’s degree abroad.
Prodigy Finance features
If you’re looking to get your master’s abroad, or if you’re an international student attending college in the U.S., getting the money to pay for school can be challenging. However, Prodigy Finance has an unconventional business model that makes it easier for both U.S. students abroad and international students coming to the country to get the funds they need.
Instead of requiring a co-signer or collateral to be eligible for its student loans, Prodigy Finance matches you with investors that are willing to lend you money based on your earnings potential. It does this by assessing your plans for studying abroad, in addition to your educational and professional background, as part of the application process.
The company’s loans feature flexible repayment terms of up to 20 years, and you can borrow up to your school’s total cost of attendance, though your maximum amount may depend on your financial profile. Additionally, Prodigy Finance automatically defers your payments until six months after you graduate, so you can focus on your education and not worry about paying back your loans while in school.
Prodigy Finance student loan snapshot
Up to 100% of the total cost of attendance
Starting at 7.25% variable APR
7 to 20 years
Pros and cons of Prodigy Finance student loans
If you’re short on money, Prodigy Finance’s student loans can be a great option to fund your studies abroad. That being said, it’s important to understand all the pros and cons before you apply.
- Get a quote before you’re admitted. Private lenders usually require an admissions letter to give you a quote for your student loans. With Prodigy Finance, you can get a quote beforehand and provide proof of admission once it’s time to finalize your application.
- Open to international students in the U.S. without a co-signer. International students without a co-signer often have a hard time getting private student loans to study in the U.S. However, Prodigy Finance offers loans for international students who choose to attend a U.S. school for their graduate degrees.
- No co-signer or collateral needed. Prodigy Finance approves your loan based on your potential, not your credit.
- Flexible repayment terms. Repayment terms with Prodigy are flexible, ranging from seven to 20 years. If you’re having trouble making payments, the company offers a three-month forbearance period, so you can get back on your feet without damaging your credit.
- Many resources available. Prodigy Finance’s website is full of articles and information to help borrowers understand their options. There’s also a one-on-one chat feature that allows you to ask questions in real time with students who’ve taken loans with the company, in addition to Q&A webinars hosted twice a week.
- Limited to graduate students in high-demand fields. Private lenders tend to offer student loans to both undergraduate and graduate students, but Prodigy Finance limits its loan offering to graduate students pursuing a master’s in a high-demand field, like science or economics.
- Not available in every state. If your school is in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia or Wyoming, you may not qualify for a loan.
- No fixed rates. Borrowers can usually opt for either a fixed or a variable interest rate when they apply for a private student loan. However, Prodigy Finance offers only variable rates, making payments more unpredictable.
- Interest rates are on the higher side. Interest rates for private student loans tend to start around 2 percent, but the company’s loans have a starting APR of 7.25 percent, and the average APR is 9.8 percent.
- Funding may take some time. Because Prodigy Finance’s student loans aren’t backed by a traditional bank, you have to join a waiting list to get matched to an investor willing to lend you the money for school.
- No discounts available. Lenders typically offer interest rate discounts for things like setting up automatic payments or submitting proof of graduation, but Prodigy Finance doesn’t offer this.
Prodigy Finance student loan requirements
To qualify for a student loan with Prodigy Finance, you must:
- Be a graduate student.
- Be admitted into a school and program supported by the company.
- Be pursuing a degree abroad.
- Be from one of the countries or states listed on Prodigy’s website.
- Have lived less than a year in the country where you’ll be going to school, if you already moved.
Who is this loan good for?
Prodigy Finance student loans are best suited for U.S. students looking to complete a master’s degree abroad in STEM, business, nursing, law or public health. It is also a good option for international students who want to complete a master’s degree in the U.S., since Prodigy is one of the only lenders that accepts international students without a co-signer.
If you’re interested in pursuing a graduate degree in fields that don’t have as much demand, such as arts, literature and social sciences, then you’re better off looking at other lenders.
Interest rates and terms
Prodigy Finance’s student loans can charge either compound or simple interest, depending on the agreement that’s offered to you. Regardless, all of the company’s student loans have a variable interest rate, and there are no discounts available.
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Graduate student loans||Starting at 7.25% APR||N/A|
Fees and penalties
Prodigy Finance’s student loans have a 5 percent origination fee. This fee is never paid upfront and is rolled into your student loan monthly payment.
While it is unclear whether the company charges a fee for paying late or missing a payment, it does state that it will report this activity to the credit bureaus, which can impact your credit score. If you default on your loan, you’ll also be charged a $96 fee on top of your monthly bill.
Repayment terms and grace period
Borrowers can choose a repayment term between seven and 20 years. All full-time loans have a six-month grace period after classes end, though if you’re studying part time you’ll need to start repayment three months from your loan disbursement.
Prodigy Finance has a 4.2 out of 5 rating with Trustpilot, with most borrowers satisfied with their application process and repayment experience.
The customer service department can be reached over the phone at 866-533-3304 from 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. You can also send your questions via email at email@example.com or join one of the company’s Q&A webinars on Wednesdays or Fridays at noon GMT.
How to apply for a loan with Prodigy Finance
To apply for a loan, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Your contact information (full name, email and phone number).
- Your address for the past three years.
- Your plan to fund your education (whether you have scholarships, savings or other assets to pay for school).
- Details about your income (if you’re currently working on anything other than an internship).
- Details about any outstanding debts you may have (credit cards, other loans, etc.).
Once you provide this, you’ll get a quote almost instantly, which will include details such as the amount you’re preapproved for, the terms and the interest rate.
Then you’ll be asked to upload copies of documents that can verify the details you’ve entered above. You’ll also have to submit a credit report from your country of origin, as this will help the company come up with a fair interest rate based on your risk.
If everything checks out, you’ll get matched with an investor and the company will finalize your application. Your school will also certify the loan amount, which could take a few weeks.
Upon accepting the loan offer, the funds will be sent to your school within three to five business days. Then the school will give you any amount that’s left over after covering your tuition costs.
How Bankrate rates Prodigy Finance
|Repayment Options||3.4||Prodigy Finance can cover up to your total cost of attendance. However, it offers only one type of loan and is available in only 33 states.|
|Affordability||3.0||Prodigy Finance’s minimum APR is high, especially for a variable rate, though it does not require co-signers.|
|Customer Experience||4.5||While Prodigy Finance does not have weekend customer service hours, it has a robust online platform and a mobile app.|
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.