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Student Loans

Citizens Bank Student Loans: A Complete Review & Analysis

Updated Feb 03, 2024   |   31-min read

  • Competitive rates for applicants with good to excellent credit.
  • Refinancing options open even to those who didn’t graduate or non-U.S. citizens.
  • Multiyear approval options for borrowers planning long-term

Citizens Bank provides private student loans for undergraduates, graduate students, and parents. Applicants for these loans must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, have a good credit score, and be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution.

Citizens Bank also offers student loan refinancing options. Refinancing allows you to seek new loan terms and consolidate your loans into one. This can be a strategic way to manage and even decrease your overall student loan debt. Refinancing with Citizens Bank is available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who attended an eligible U.S. institution’s undergraduate or graduate program.

How does Citizens Bank work?

For students and their family members seeking a Citizens Bank student loan, the process is straightforward. Prospective borrowers can apply online, providing relevant information about their education, income, and credit history. 

The cost of your education and your creditworthiness determine the amount you can borrow. If you’re approved, Citizens disburses funds to your school. You can secure your financing for several years thanks to its multiyear approval.

For refinancing, you must have at least $10,000 in student loans. Citizens is a suitable option for financially stable borrowers—even those who didn’t graduate and non-U.S. citizens (with a qualifying cosigner). Citizens doesn’t limit the number of loans you can consolidate into the new one.

Citizens Bank’s undergraduate student loan

Rates, terms, and fees

Compared to others in the industry, Citizens Bank’s undergraduate student loan offers competitive fixed and variable interest rates and repayment terms as well as other beneficial features, such as the multiyear approval option. The absence of fees adds to its appeal.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)4.43% – 11.94%
Variable rates (APR)6.03% – 13.25%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25% (if borrower or cosigner has a Citizens Bank account* at the time of application)

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$1,000 – $150,000 (lifetime aggregate limit including federal and private loan debt)
In-school repayment plansImmediate, interest-only, or deferred
Repayment terms5 – 20 years
Grace period6 months
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination, disbursement, or early repayment fees
Unique featuresMultiyear approval: Secure funding for additional years in school without a hard credit inquiry for subsequent applications. (Note: International students are not eligible.)

Citizens gives students the opportunity to apply for the Citizens Scholarship, a no-essay application that could result in up to $15,000 toward tuition.

Has brick-and-mortar locations in 8 states (listed below**) for borrowers who prefer face-to-face contact with their lender.

*States where Citizens checking accounts are available:

Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Vermont

**States where Citizens has brick-and-mortar locations:


Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania

What are the eligibility requirements?

Citizens Bank student loan applicants must meet citizenship, residency, and schooling requirements. 

Cosigners are not obligatory, but the lender encourages them for students with limited credit history. Citizens advises that 99% of its undergrad borrowers have a cosigner or co-applicant.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Minimum ageBorrower or cosigner must be the age of majority in their state of residence (18 in most states)
Enrolled school4-year Title IV public or private institutions 

(2-year schools, community colleges, and for-profit schools are not eligible)
Enrollment statusMust be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)

How does repayment work?

Citizens Bank offers a variety of repayment terms between five and 20 years, which you’ll choose after you submit the application and Citizens presents your rates. This range of options lets borrowers select the term that will best balance their monthly payments and total loan cost. 

These are what your options might look like for a $10,000 loan at 6% APR:

Repayment term (years)Monthly payment (USD)Total interest paid (USD)
5$193.33$1,599.80
7$149.90$2,593.60
10$111.02$3,322.40
15$84.07$5,132.60
20$71.62$7,188.80

As you can see, a shorter term will mean higher monthly payments but less interest paid over the life of the loan, while a longer term will lower your monthly payments but increase the total interest you pay.

The bank also offers a six-month grace period after leaving school before you must start making payments. This lets you settle into post-college life and find a job. 

Citizens Bank offers three in-school repayment options. You can choose to:

  • Start making immediate full principal and interest (P + I) payments.
  • Pay only the interest while in school.
  • Defer all payments until after the six-month grace period postgraduation. 

In the table below, you can see how the choice might affect the total cost of a $10,000 loan at 6% APR over a 10-year term:

OptionIn-school pmt.Post-grad pmt.Total paid
Immed. (P + I)$111$111$13,322
Interest-only$50$105$15,625
Deferred$0$115$16,798

With immediate and interest-only payments, you start repaying the loan while in school, which can save you money in the long run. The deferred option provides financial relief while you’re in school, but it increases the total cost of your loan because interest accrues during the deferment period.

Cosigner release is another notable feature of Citizens Bank’s repayment policies. After making 36 consecutive on-time payments, you can release your cosigner from the loan, reducing their financial burden and improving your credit responsibility.

Citizens Bank doesn’t disclose specific repayment assistance programs for struggling borrowers.

Citizens Bank’s graduate student loan

Rates, terms, and fees

Citizens Bank’s graduate student loan rates, terms, and fees remain competitive. With specific loan offerings tailored to different graduate programs and a unique multiyear approval feature, Citizens Bank provides solutions for future professionals pursuing higher education.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)4.99% – 10.74%
Variable rates (APR)6.53% – 12.19%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25%

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$1,000 – $150,000 (lifetime aggregate limit including federal and private loan debt)
In-school repayment plansImmediate, interest-only, or deferred
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Grace period6 months
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination, or disbursement fees
Unique featuresSpecific loans for certain graduate programs

Multiyear approval: Secure funding for additional years in school without a hard credit inquiry for subsequent applications (Note: International students are not eligible)

Citizens gives students the opportunity to apply for the Citizens Scholarship, a no-essay application that could result in up to $15,000 toward tuition

Has brick-and-mortar locations in 8 states for borrowers who prefer face-to-face contact with their lender

Aside from general graduate student loans, Citizens Bank also offers specific loan programs for MBA, law, medical, and dental students:

Degree programFixed rates (APR)Variable rates (APR)Max loan amt.
MBA4.99%9.74%6.53%11.46%$225K
Law4.99%9.74%6.53%11.46% $225K
Medical and dental school4.99%9.40%6.53%11.06%$180K or $350K (based on degree)

Note: The lifetime aggregate limit includes federal and private loan debt.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You could be eligible for a Citizens Bank student loan if you’re a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number. 

You or your cosigner must meet the age of majority in your state of residence. Citizens recommends cosigners, especially for borrowers who may not meet all eligibility requirements on their own.

Here’s a breakdown of the eligibility requirements:

Eligibility requirementsDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Minimum ageBorrower or cosigner must be the age of majority in their state of residence (18 in most states)
Enrolled school4-year Title IV public or private institutions

(2-year schools, community colleges, and for-profit schools are not eligible)
Enrollment statusMust be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)

Remember, meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee approval. If you’re unsure about your eligibility, contact Citizens Bank for more information.

How does repayment work?

Citizens Bank graduate student loan borrowers can choose in-school repayment options such as immediate, interest-only, or deferred. This flexibility allows you to choose a repayment plan that aligns with your financial situation.

The repayment terms are also varied, with Citizens Bank offering terms of five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years. This allows you to find a repayment timeline that fits your long-term financial goals, but you’ll choose your repayment terms when you accept the loan terms from Citizens. 

The term you choose will affect the overall cost of the loan. Longer terms mean more interest paid over time, as you can see in these example repayment terms for a $20,000 graduate school loan at 7% APR:

Repayment term (years)Monthly payment (USD)Total interest paid (USD)
5$396.36$3,781.54
7$300.54$5,636.97
10$232.39$8,886.94
15$179.69$13,342.20
20$154.95$17,188.91

Citizens Bank does not disclose any specific repayment assistance programs. This may be a drawback for borrowers who want the added security of having such programs as a safety net.

Citizens Bank’s parent student loan

Rates, terms, and fees

Citizens’ fixed and variable APR ranges offer competitive rates, especially for parents with strong credit histories. 

Citizens Bank provides the chance to score a rate discount of 0.50%, and unique features such as multiyear approval might make it an attractive choice.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)6.50% – 11.01%
Variable rates (APR)7.16% – 12.67%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25%

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$1,000 – $350,000 depending on the degree (lifetime aggregate limit including federal and private loan debt)
In-school repayment plansImmediate or interest-only
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Grace periodNone
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination, or disbursement fees
Unique featuresMultiyear approval: Secure funding for additional years in school without a hard credit inquiry for subsequent applications

Has brick-and-mortar locations in 8 states for borrowers who prefer face-to-face contact with their lender

What are the eligibility requirements?

U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or resident aliens with a valid U.S. Social Security number can apply for a Citizens Bank parent loan. The requirement of the student’s enrollment in a degree-granting program at a four-year Title IV institution narrows the field but remains in line with common industry practice.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipStudent whose education expenses will be paid for with the loan proceeds must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Minimum ageBorrower or cosigner must be the age of majority in their state of residence (18 in most states)
Enrolled schoolStudent must be enrolled in a 4-year Title IV public or private institution 

(2-year schools, community colleges, and for-profit schools are not eligible)
Enrollment statusStudent must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)

How does repayment work?

Citizens Bank’s parent student loans offer two in-school repayment plan options: immediate or interest-only. Repayment terms range from five to 20 years, allowing borrowers to tailor their repayment to their financial situation. 

Parents choose their preferred repayment term when they accept Citizens’ student loan offer. Terms can’t be changed without refinancing.

As with its other loan offerings, Citizens Bank does not disclose any repayment assistance programs for its parent student loans. This could limit its appeal to borrowers seeking additional security in case of financial hardship. 

The cost of the loan overall will depend on the repayment term, with longer terms resulting in more interest paid over time. The table below shows possible repayment options for a $5,000 parent loan at 8% APR if the parent begins making immediate full principal and interest payments:

Repayment term (years)Monthly paymentTotal interest paid
5$101.28$608.80
7$77.82$1,046.96
10$60.66$2,279.20
15$47.74$3,594.20
20$41.66$5,000.00

Longer terms can keep monthly payments lower and more manageable, but your overall loan cost will be higher.

How can Citizens Bank improve its private student loans?

Citizens Bank could improve in several ways to better meet the needs of a wider range of students and their families.

Areas for improvementLenders to consider instead
Borrowers (or cosigners) need excellent credit to qualify for competitive ratesBad-credit student loans

No-cosigner student loans
No specific information about repayment assistance programs on the websiteSallie Mae (offers private student loan forbearance if borrowers are experiencing financial hardship)

SoFi (offers unemployment protection if borrowers lose their job through no fault of their own)
Loans not available to students attending community collegesSallie Mae 
Loans not available to students attending less than half-timeSallie Mae, College Ave, Earnest
Cosigner release of 36 months is longer than several competitorsSallie Mae (12 months)

Ascent (12 months)

SoFi (24 months)

Citizens Bank offers competitive rates and terms for borrowers with excellent credit, but those with less-than-perfect credit and no cosigner may struggle to get approved. 

It offers several repayment options, but the lack of explicit information about repayment assistance programs may be concerning for some borrowers. 

Citizens Bank also restricts its loans to students attending four-year Title IV institutions, limiting the options for community college students or those attending less than half-time. 

If you and a cosigner are pursuing a loan, you might be interested in a lender that allows you to release your cosigner in less than 36 months.

How have Citizens Bank private student loans evolved over the years?

Over the years, Citizens Bank has made several changes and improvements to its loan offerings to better serve its customers’ evolving needs.

Key changes include:

These changes have helped Citizens Bank keep in step with the dynamic landscape of student loans.

How do Citizens Bank’s private student loans compare to other lenders?

When choosing a private student loan, comparing your options is crucial. Every student loan company offers a unique mix of rates, terms, and benefits. Our comparison table below can help you make an informed decision.

Citizens BankCollege AveEarnest
Our rating (of 5)4.0 4.84.7
Best forNoneOverallNo fees
Fixed rates (APR)4.43% – 11.94%
4.44% – 15.32%4.45%16.20%
Variable rates (APR)6.03% – 13.25%5.09% – 15.32%5.32%16.20%
Terms5 – 20 years5 – 15 years5 – 15 years
Grace period6 mos.6 mos.9 mos.
View ratesView ratesView rates

Comparison of undergraduate student loans.

Citizens Bank’s rates fall in line with those offered by its competitors. Its range of repayment terms allows you to select a repayment schedule that fits your financial situation. 

Meanwhile, College Ave, our top-rated lender, offers higher loan amounts. Earnest stands out for its no-fee policy, longer grace period, and unique repayment options.

Citizens Bank’s refinance student loan

Rates, terms, and fees

Citizens Bank holds its own in the student loan refinancing market. Its interest rates, while not the lowest, are in line with industry averages. 

No application, origination, or disbursement fees, and the range of repayment terms from five to 20 years, make it a solid option. The opportunity to snag a 0.25% loyalty discount and a 0.25% autopay discount sweetens the deal.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)5.40% – 10.65%
Variable rates (APR)6.67% – 12.02%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25%

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$10,000 – $300,000 (Bachelor’s degree or below)

$10,000 – $500,000 (Graduate degree)
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination, or disbursement fees
Unique featuresNo degree requirement for refinancing

Offers refinancing options for loans in the student’s name and loans in the parent’s name

What are the eligibility requirements?

A student loan refinance with Citizens Bank is open to a broad range of borrowers, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens with a valid U.S. Social Security number. 

Citizens accepts cosigners and recommends them for applicants with less-than-stellar credit or lower income to increase the likelihood of approval and secure lower interest rates. 

To qualify, applicants must have made at least 12 payments since leaving school, regardless of whether they graduated with an associate’s degree or above, or left without a degree.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Graduation statusIf no bachelor’s degree, must have at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school (e.g., with an associate’s degree or no degree)
Minimum credit scoreNot disclosed
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)
OtherMust have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance

How does repayment work?

With a Citizens Bank refinance student loan, borrowers can choose from terms of five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years. This flexibility can make it easier to tailor your repayments to your personal financial circumstances and goals. 

Citizens Bank offers the chance to release your cosigner after 36 consecutive on-time payments, which not all lenders provide.

If you wanted to refinance $50,000 in student loans at a 6% APR, here’s what your payments and loan costs might look like with each repayment term:

Repayment termMonthly paymentTotal cost of loan
5 years$966.64$57,998.40
7 years$710.26$59,541.76
10 years$555.10$66,612.00
15 years$421.13$75,803.40
20 years$358.22$85,970.40

You can see how the repayment term affects the overall cost of the loan. A shorter term means higher monthly payments but less interest paid over the life of the loan. A longer term means lower monthly payments but more interest paid in the long run. 

Citizens doesn’t publicize any specific assistance programs, but its customer service representatives can provide guidance if you’re having trouble making payments.

Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for medical residents

Citizens Bank offers a specialized product to benefit medical professionals grappling with student debt: the student loan refinance for medical residents. 

This unique solution is geared toward doctors in residency or fellowship, periods often marked by large student loan balances and relatively low income. Tailored to alleviate some financial stress, this refinance option aims to decrease monthly payments during residency.

This refinancing option stands apart from Citizens Bank’s standard refinance loan in two distinct  ways:

  1. Unlike the standard refinance loan that mandates regular payments toward principal and interest, the medical resident refinance loan lets borrowers make minimal $100 monthly payments throughout their residency. This relief can extend for up to 84 months, inclusive of fellowship time. For medical residents keen on mitigating financial pressure while focusing on their professional growth, this could be a game-changer.
  2. It bases the rate on the borrower’s higher expected future earnings, not your income when you refinance. Basing your loan on a higher salary could help you get a better rate than other lenders may offer.

Rates, terms, and fees

Citizens Bank holds a strong position in the industry regarding refinance options tailored to medical residents. Its rates, terms, and fees are competitive, and the unique features of this loan make it appealing. 

The combination of fixed and variable rates, an autopay discount, and no origination or application fees make it an affordable option. Borrowers might appreciate the opportunity to make $100 monthly payments while they complete their medical residency or fellowship.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)5.40%10.65%
Variable rates (APR)6.67%12.02%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25%

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$10,000 – $750,000
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Repayment assistanceFixed $100 monthly payments throughout medical residency or fellowship
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination, or disbursement fees
Unique featuresOffers refinancing options for loans in the student’s name and loans in the parent’s name

The loan’s interest rate is based on the borrower’s future expected earnings

Borrowers can enjoy an affordable fixed payment of $100 per month throughout their medical residency or fellowship

What are the eligibility requirements?

Citizens Bank has specific eligibility criteria for its student loan refinancing for medical residents. Applicants must be graduates matched to a qualifying medical residency or fellowship program. 

Citizens accepts cosigners and mentions they may boost your chances of approval, especially if the cosigner has a strong credit history.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Graduation statusGraduated from medical school and matched to an MD, DO, DDS, DMD, DPM, VMD, PharmD, or OD residency or fellowship program at the time of application
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)
DebtMust have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance

How does repayment work?

Citizens Bank offers appealing terms for medical residents looking to refinance their student loans. Unlike many lenders, it allows borrowers to make minimal fixed payments of $100 per month throughout your medical residency or fellowship.

You’ll also have a six-month grace period after your residency or fellowship ends before you must start full repayment. When you accept the loan terms, you can select from repayment terms of five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years to choose a repayment plan that best fits your financial situation.

Remember, the length of your repayment term can influence the total cost of your loan. Longer terms will have lower monthly payments but result in higher overall interest paid, while shorter terms result in higher monthly payments but less interest over the life of the loan.

Here are sample repayments for a borrower who refinances $250,000 in student loan debt at a 6% APR after making payments of $100 per month in their five-year residency:

Repayment term (years)Monthly payment after residencyTotal repayment amount
5$4,875.86$292,551.60
7$3,561.82$298,071.44
10$2,776.49$333,178.80
15$2,098.47$377,724.60
20$1,787.16$428,919.20

Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for parents

Parents can face significant student loan debt managing the financial aspect of their child’s education. This is where Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for parents steps in. 

Citizens designed this unique financial product for parents who have taken on loans to finance their child’s education. Whether these are federal Parent Plus loans or private student loans, Citizens Bank allows parents to refinance these debts under potentially more favorable terms.

This refinance option differs from standard student loan refinance in a key way: It’s tailored to meet the needs of parents rather than students or graduates. It considers factors such as the parents’ credit history and income, not those of the student. 

It could offer a lower interest rate or more manageable monthly payments for parents depending on their financial circumstances.This option might appeal to parents shouldering the burden of their child’s student loans and are looking for a more manageable way to pay down this debt.

Rates, terms, and fees

Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for parents holds up well against its competitors when considering rates, terms, and fees. 

It offers competitive fixed and variable APRs, extensive loan amounts, your choice of repayment terms, and valuable rate discounts. It doesn’t charge application, origination, or disbursement fees. It also has no degree requirement for refinancing, which is rare in the industry.

FeatureDetails
Fixed rates (APR)5.40% – 10.65%
Variable rates (APR)6.67% – 12.02%
Rate discountsLoyalty discount of 0.25%

0.25% autopay discount
Loan amounts$10,000 – $500,000
Repayment terms5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Repayment assistanceNone disclosed
Cosigner releaseYes, after 36 consecutive on-time payments
FeesNo application, origination or disbursement fees
Unique featuresCitizens Bank is one of the only lenders that allows borrowers to refinance if they left school before earning a degree 

Offers refinancing options for loans in the student’s name and loans in the parent’s name

What are the eligibility requirements?

Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for parents offers a wide scope of eligibility requirements, making it an accessible option for many parents. It accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens who have a valid U.S. Social Security number. 

Coverage includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Citizens accepts cosigners on its refinance loan for parents and states they may help applicants meet income and credit requirements.

RequirementDetails
CitizenshipU.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number
State of residenceAll 50 states and the District of Columbia
Graduation statusIf student has no bachelor’s degree, must have at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school (e.g., with an associate’s degree or no degree)
Minimum incomeGross annual income of $12,000 (borrower and cosigner combined)
Debt requirementMust have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance
OtherPrimary applicant must be the primary borrower or cosigner on the loan to be refinanced.

How does repayment work?

Citizens Bank’s student loan refinance for parents offers borrowers an array of term lengths, from five to 20 years, so parents can choose a repayment schedule that suits their financial situation.

The bank’s refinancing options allow parents to potentially lower their monthly payments, reduce the loan term, or both. 

 For example, imagine a parent is considering refinancing two loans together: 

  1. A federal Parent PLUS loan with a $40,000 balance at 7.54% fixed APR, with six years of a 10-year repayment term remaining
  2. A private parent student loan with a $10,000 balance at 8% fixed APR, also with six years of a 10-year repayment term remaining 

Here’s how repayment might look at a new refinanced APR of 6%:

Loan typeMonthly paymentTotal payment over remaining term
Current federal loan (7.54% APR, 6 years remaining)$692.38$49,851.33
Current private loan (8% APR, 6 years remaining)$175.33$12,623.93
Total current loans$867.71$62,475.26
New refinanced loan (6% APR, 10 years)$555.10$66,612.30

You can see how refinancing at the lower rate and choosing a longer term than what remains on the loans results in a lower payment but higher amount paid. 

What if the above-described parent considered Citizens’ other loan terms? The numbers below assume the same 6% APR to refinance $50,000 in parent loans.

Refinanced loan termMonthly paymentTotal payment over term
5 years$966.64$57,998.40
7 years$730.43$61,355.93
10 years$555.10$66,612.30
15 years$421.93$75,947.11
20 years$358.22$85,971.73

Citizens doesn’t advertise specific assistance programs for repayment. It offers cosigner release after 36 consecutive on-time payments, a feature that might appeal to cosigners.

The table above illustrates how a parent’s choice of repayment plan can affect the overall cost of the loan. A longer term can lower monthly payments but result in more interest paid over the life of the loan, and a shorter term can save on interest but come with higher monthly payments.

How can Citizens Bank improve its refinance student loans?

Citizens Bank provides a valuable refinancing service but leaves several areas to improve. Below, we list these areas and suggest alternative lenders:

Areas for improvementLenders to consider instead
Citizens has no clear, transparent repayment assistance programsEarnest offers options such as forbearance in times of hardship, the ability to skip 1 payment annually, and automatic biweekly payments
Citizens could consider a lower minimum refinance amount than $10,000Earnest’s minimum loan amount is $5,000
Citizens could offer higher refinance limits than $300,000 for a bachelor’s degree or lessELFI has no maximum limit on loan amounts
Citizens could consider a shorter cosigner release period than 36 monthsLendKey can match up borrowers with lenders that offer cosigner release after 24 months of on-time payments

Comparing lenders can ensure you find a loan provider that aligns with your needs and circumstances.

How has Citizen Bank’s student loan refinance evolved over the years?

Citizens Bank has expanded its options since January 2014, when it announced its student loan refinance program.  

Later that year, it began refinancing federal student loans. Opening up refinancing to those with federal loans allowed more borrowers to benefit from potential interest rate savings and lowered monthly payments.

Citizens Bank has also increased the maximum loan amount you can refinance to:

  • $300,000 for bachelor’s degrees and below, as opposed to $90,000 in 2016
  • $500,000 for graduate degrees—versus $225,000 in 2016
  • $750,0000 for professional degrees (e.g., medical and dental), while the limit was $300,000 in 2016

This higher limit allows those with graduate or professional degrees to refinance larger loan balances. 

Is Citizens Bank a reputable lender?

When choosing a lender, customer reviews provide valuable insights into a company’s service quality, transparency, and customer support. 

We recommend checking a business’s reviews on several platforms, such as Trustpilot—a customer review website that gathers feedback on businesses worldwide—and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization that evaluates businesses’ credibility and handles customer complaints. 

Below is a table summarizing Citizens Bank’s customer ratings from different platforms:

Review sourceCustomer rating (of 5)Number of reviews
Better Business Bureau1.07250
Trustpilot1.2434
Google1.560

Ratings collected on February 3, 2024.

Citizens Bank is BBB-accredited, demonstrating its commitment to resolving customer complaints. However, an alert is listed on the BBB site regarding a May 23, 2023, settlement between Citizens Bank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over alleged violations of consumer financial protection laws. 

In response, Citizens Bank stated it had already identified and addressed the issues, despite disagreeing with the CFPB’s position.

Over the past three years, the BBB has closed 1,668 complaints about Citizens Bank, with 737 complaints closed in the last 12 months. Most of these complaints pertain to other services provided by Citizens Bank, a full-service bank, rather than just student loans. 

Common complaints include issues with:

  • Customer service
  • Handling of fraud claims
  • Nonsufficient funds fees on checking accounts

Despite these issues, remember that the ratings reflect the experiences of a subset of Citizens Bank’s customers. As with all financial decisions, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research and consider multiple sources of information. 

Does Citizens Bank have a customer service team?

Citizens Bank maintains an in-house customer service team to assist with a range of inquiries, including those related to student loan refinancing. 

The team can help customers understand the loan application process, repayment plans, and any issues that might arise during the life of the loan. 

Citizens Bank calls Firstmark Services its “trusted loan servicer.” If you secure a student loan or refinance through Citizens, you’ll make payments to Firstmark.

Here are the ways you can reach Citizens Bank’s customer service:

  • Email: Send student loan refinance-related inquiries to [email protected]
  • Phone: Contact the Student Lending Department at 1-800-708-6684. It operates from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
  • Mailing address: Citizens Bank Firstmark Services, P.O. Box 2977, Omaha, NE 68103-2977
  • Chat: Use the chat box available on the bank’s website to talk to a customer service representative during business hours.
  • In person: If you live near a branch, you can visit one for face-to-face contact. They are available in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. You can use the online branch locator to find one near you.

How to apply for a Citizens Bank student loan

Citizens Bank has a straightforward, efficient application process for student loans. Getting a prequalification rate quote in about two minutes makes it easier to compare loan options without affecting your credit score.

Here are the steps to apply for a Citizens Bank Student Loan:

1. Prepare your information

Gather all necessary details, such as your:

  • School name
  • Driver’s license number
  • Social Security number
  • Monthly income
  • Most recent pay stub

2. Get a rate quote

Visit the Citizens Bank website and use its online tool to get a prequalification rate quote. This won’t affect your credit score.

Source: Citizens Bank

3. Complete the application

If you’re satisfied with the quoted rate, complete the full application. 

You’ll also need to provide your employer’s name, phone number, and length of employment (if applicable), your monthly rent or mortgage payment, anticipated graduation date, the loan amount you’re requesting, and the loan period for which funds are needed.

4. Add a cosigner 

If you’re adding a cosigner to your loan, provide their name and email address. A cosigner can often help you qualify for a lower interest rate.

5. Submit application

Once you’ve entered all the necessary information, submit your application. You should get a decision from Citizens Bank in a timely manner. The application process might take several days, especially if Citizens needs to verify any information or documents.

What if I’m denied a student loan from Citizens Bank?

If you’re denied a student loan from Citizens Bank, don’t be discouraged—you still have options. Citizens Bank should provide a reason for your loan denial within a few days of your application submission. Understanding why you were denied can help you address the issue for future applications.

You can consider reapplying with a cosigner if you didn’t the first time. A cosigner with a strong credit history agrees to repay your loan if you can’t. A cosigner can increase your chances of loan approval and even get you a better interest rate.

If reapplying isn’t an option or you’re denied again, you might explore other lenders. Follow the links below for our guides:

How we rated Citizens Bank student loans

We compared Citizens Bank to 17 student loan lenders offering undergraduate, graduate, parent, and refinancing student loans. Its editorial rating for each student loan reflects how it compares to similar products.

We considered more than 26 factors, including rates, repayment terms, fees, unique benefits, and more. In the end, these were our picks for Citizens:

  • Undergraduate student loan: No best-for designation
  • Graduate student loan: No best-for designation
  • Refinance student loan: No best-for designation

Citizens Bank FAQ

Does Citizens Bank offer private or federal student loans?

Citizens Bank offers private student loans. The U.S. government provides federal student loans, and private student loans like those from Citizens Bank are offered by nonfederal entities such as banks or credit unions.

Does applying with Citizens Bank hurt my credit?

When you apply for a student loan with Citizens Bank, it conducts a hard credit inquiry, which can lower your credit score by a few points. However, Citizens Bank also offers a rate quote, which only involves a soft inquiry and won’t affect your credit score.

Does Citizens Bank require a cosigner?

Citizens Bank doesn’t require a cosigner for all loans, but having one may increase the chances of loan approval and result in a lower interest rate. This is especially beneficial if you’re a student with little to no credit history or income.

Does Citizens Bank allow cosigners to be released?

Yes, Citizens Bank allows for cosigner release. After making 36 consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments, a borrower can apply to release their cosigner from the loan.

What can Citizens Bank student loans be used for?

You can use Citizens Bank student loans for school-related expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, and other educational costs. It’s important, however, to only borrow what you need for your education.

How long does it take to receive funds from Citizens Bank?

After loan approval, it usually takes about two weeks for your school to receive funds from Citizens Bank. However, the timing may vary depending on your school’s financial aid disbursement process.

Is Citizens Bank responsible for paying off my current student loans?

Citizens Bank is not responsible for paying off your student loans when you refinance. Instead, it provides a new loan with new terms you use to pay off your loans. You must ensure your loans are paid off with the new loan.

Can Citizens Bank student loans be forgiven?

Citizens Bank student loans are private loans, and private student loans do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs. However, in case of a borrower’s death or permanent disability, Citizens Bank may offer loan forgiveness.

Recap of our Citizens Bank student loans review

Student loanBest forRating (of 5)
Undergrad student loanNone4.0View rates
Graduate student loanNone3.8View rates
Parent student loanNone3.7View rates
Student loan refinanceNone4.1View rates
Refinance for med. residentsNone4.1View rates
Refinance for parentsNone4.1View rates