Posted by: Alison Damast on January 30, 2009
I wrote a story last week about the crisis facing international applicants looking for no cosigner loans for B-School. At the time, the situation was looking grim for international students who were accepted to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. However, there seems to be some movement afoot at the school regarding the loan situation. I spoke yesterday to Blair Sheppard, dean of Fuqua, and he told me that the school was close to securing a solution to the loan problem for international students.
The B-school is looking into several possible ways of helping international students find no cosigner loans, Sheppard said. Here’s what he mentioned:
1) The school is working with banks in China and other countries to see if they can work out a deal that will allow students to borrow money from banks in their home country, Sheppard said. The school has developed relationships with banks in countries where they have set up their new global MBA program, giving them more negotiating power, Sheppard said.
2) Fuqua would self-fund loans for international students. The main obstacle to doing this has been figuring out how to service the loans, but “we are pretty satisfied we know the answer to that,” Sheppard said, though he did not disclose any more specifics.
3) The school is reaching out to regional U.S banks that have not traditionally been in the international loan business and asking them to consider making loans to students.
4) The school is pursuing traditional loan carriers that have made loans to international students in the past.
Sheppard said the school plans to make an announcement on international loans shortly. Most likely, the school will offer students “a combination or permutation” of the four options above, he said. The terms of any of these loans will be comparable to those that the school used to offer under the former Sallie Mae no co-signer loan program, Sheppard said. “The reason it is taking so long for us to get an answer is because we’ve been trying a number of really creative things,” he said. “We’re maybe about two weeks from an answer.”
International applicants, are you heartened by this news? What would you like to see schools like Fuqua do to help international students?