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I am an international applying for graduate studies to some US universities. As part of the application process I need to show evidence that I, or a sponsor, have enough money to cover the cost of living and tuition fees.

However, I need to provide the university with this evidence before they even consider my application.

My question is, is there any way I can apply for a loan and access the money only if I get an offer?

I want to avoid taking out a loan then not getting into any University and having to pay that loan back.

Any other solution is welcome. Thank you.

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    Maybe a letter from you financial institution that says that you allowed for a loan of X amount? This would confirm that you are able to get the loan in case you are accepted. A bit like you can get a mortgage pre-approval before actually submitting an offer to buy a condo or a house. That might be country dependent though. – BlaB Apr 10 '18 at 14:43
  • I know some people that borrowed the money from their families for two days: put it on a bank account, sent the university the bank statement, and returned the money. – user68958 Apr 10 '18 at 14:50
  • What level of graduate studies will you apply for? Admission to most PhD programs in the US in general includes a tuition waiver and stipend. Some masters programs have financial support as well. I am surprised that they are asking for this information with the application. I would suggest contacting the departments in question to ask whether submitting such information is really necessary, – Aru Ray Apr 10 '18 at 14:53
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From my experience, during the application process, you only need to sign the form that you are responsible and have the necessary funds to cover the tuition and living fees. You will need to have this evidence (scholarships, own funds, RA/TA assistantships) only after the admission and mostly for the F-1 visa application.

I would definitely contact the department you are applying to for additional information. If they actually require the firm evidence, you are limited to the following options (as far as I know):

  1. Applying for a loan in your home country. – In this case, the letter stating that you are approved for XX,XXX USD will be enough. Depending on the regulations within the financial institution, you might only have to cover some fees in case you don't need the loan.
  2. Applying for an education loan in the US financial institution (tricky, but possible).
  3. Borrowing money from friends and family for a short period. Can be the cheapest option; however, it is not a firm evidence of sufficient funds. One might actually require the statements for the three-five months period and it will become obvious that this amount of money is not really natural and probably an instantaneous pump.
  4. In some cases, you might state that you own some property (house) in your country that you will sell in case of admission. It might satisfy the admission committee (though again, asking for financial documents before considering an application is IMHO too much).
  5. Finding a guarantor (preferably in the USA, but maybe in your home country) that states he is responsible for your tuition and living costs. You will have to submit the documents for his financial situation then.

To sum it up, I would definitely confirm with the department the requirements as they seem to be a little harsh. They might also offer some other options, I doubt it's their first case.

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