A new student loan program announced yesterday aims to change the strict regulations and high rates that are characteristic of the money lending process for over 1,000 Yale graduate and professional students currently relying on alternative loans to finance their educations.

For the new Y-Loan program, as the option has been christened, the University has partnered with outside lending institutions to offer lower rates and easier loan access for international students. The Y-Loan program can pay for up to the full cost of a student’s education and will be available to all Yale graduate and professional students in the fall of 2005, a press release said.

The Y-Loan program is unique, though Harvard introduced a similar program last year, Yale Presdient Richard Levin said.

“No other school that I know of has a comparable program, and the terms of our program are more attractive than Harvard’s,” he said in an e-mail yesterday.

Under the new program, a co-signer will no longer be required for international student loans, Graduate School Dean Jon Butler said. As a result, international students will no longer have to seek out the services of a U.S. citizen as a co-signer.

“It just makes the Graduate School and Yale much more attractive to graduate students, and it’s part of a larger effort to make Yale a more global university,” Butler said

Due to the elimination of a co-signer for international students, the University expects to see an increase in applicants to Yale when the new loan program becomes available next fall.

“We anticipate that it will widen the pool of students willing to apply to Yale because they now know that they will be able to come,” Assistant Director of Public Affairs Gila Reinstein said.

Haris Mylonas GRD ’08, a political science graduate student from Greece, said the prospect of attending a prestigious university like Yale attracts many international students who may not have the necessary funding but who have no other local options in their chosen field of study.

“Many graduate students do not come to Yale because they are rich, but because they do not have the graduate schools in their countries,” he said.

But Mylonas said for these students, finding a loan co-signer was a daunting task.

“If there are many classmates of yours who have naturalized and become American citizens, you might be able to make ethnic contacts to find co-signers, or the other way would be the professors at the University,” Mylonas said, noting that these options are particularly difficult for students who do not know the faculty well or do not have a web of contacts in the United States.

Yale is able to offer the Y-Loan program because the student body has earned a favorable reputation for paying back loans, Reinstein said. With the new program, deserving students will find it easier to fund their education, she said.

“Yale wants to attract the best and the brightest from all over the world, without depending on their ability to come up with the right amount of money,” Reinstein said.

The new Y-Loan offers a variable interest rate of 4.64 percent, a six-month grace period, a 20-year repayment stream and a web-based application process designed to be easily accessible for students. Full details about the new program will be available to students in the near future, officials said.