U of C partners with Chase to offer loans to international students

International students requiring financial assistance will be able to obtain loans without a co-signer from JP Morgan Chase.

By Alison Sider

International students requiring financial assistance will be able to obtain loans without a co-signer from JP Morgan Chase, according to an agreement reached between the University and the bank last week.

There are between 250 and 300 international students at the University who could benefit from the loans to pay for educational expenses, most of whom are at Chicago Booth. While U.S. students have access to a wide variety of loan and federal assistance programs, many international students lost their educational loans as a result of deterioration in the credit markets last summer.

University Vice President and Dean of Students Kim Goff-Crews said that while it’s not yet clear whether need has increased among international students, the University is aware of the difficulties posed by the international economic crisis.

“It is too soon to assess the scope of the effects the global economic downturn will have on our student body in the coming year. But we are mindful of the fact that families all over the world, including our students’ families, are feeling new financial pressures,” she said in an e-mail interview.

The partnership with Chase will allow qualified international students to obtain loans up to the total cost of attendance, minus any financial aid they receive from the University. The terms of the loans have not yet been determined.

Goff-Crews said that in the past, international students had been able to obtain loans from the University through the “school as lender” program—a partnership with the Illinois Designated Account Purchase Program (IDAPP), which allowed the University to sell these loans at a profit. The partnership dissolved in July when IDAPP was not able to renew its line of credit.

The loan agreement with Chase replaces a similar loan program for Chicago Booth students administered by Citibank. The loan program was formed earlier this year, but ended abruptly in October, when Citibank canceled its CitiAssist program with many universities as the result of its ongoing financial problems.

Goff-Crews said that the University will take steps to ensure that the Chase loan program is stable.

“Any time the University works with a commercial institution to provide loans, the future of the program could be subject to extraordinary events in the marketplace. However, the University has done everything in its power to make the new partnership with Chase a stable one, now and into the future,” she said.

Loans obtained through IDAPP or through the Citibank program remain secure for this year, and the new Chase partnership will allow students to obtain new loans for the coming academic year.

Rose Martinelli, associate dean for student recruitment and admission at Chicago Booth said in her admissions blog, The Rose Report, that the business school is in the process of finalizing additional loan opportunities for its students, in addition to the Chase program.

The University has no plans to offer a similar program to U.S. students, Goff-Crews said, as there are additional resources available to them that international students do not have access to.