Citizens Bank Student Loans Review
Through Citizens Bank, undergraduate and graduate students and their parents have options for borrowing to help finance education needs. The lender also offers refinancing options for qualified borrowers and perks like a loyalty discount for bank account holders.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc., is the 13th largest retail bank in the United States, managing more than $130 billion in net assets. The bank operates more than 1,200 branches throughout the country as well as a large network of ATMs. Citizens Bank provides access to a slew of financial products and services, including deposit accounts and checking accounts, personal and business lending, and student loan options.
The financial institution was founded in 1828, making it one of the oldest banks still in operation today. Headquartered in Rhode Island, Citizens Bank serves customers predominately in East Coast states, but the financial institution has a presence around the country.
Similar to other leading student loan lenders, Citizens Bank recently began offering private loan options for students and their parents with a variety of loan terms, interest rates, and repayment plans. In this review, we will break down the options they offer for private undergraduate, graduate, parent, and refinanced student loans for qualified borrowers.
On this page:
- Citizens Bank Student Loans
- Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing
- Alternatives to Citizens Bank Student Loans
Citizens Bank Student Loans Overview
What we like:
Up to 8 Years of deferment while in school
|Fixed APR||5.25% – 12.09%|
|Variable APR||4.45% – 12.32%|
|Loan Terms||5, 10, or 15 years|
|Loan Amounts||Up to $90,000 for undergraduate student loans and up to $295,000 for graduate student loans|
One of the reasons Citizens Bank is a leading student loan lender is because it offers loan solutions for nearly all types of students. The bank provides undergraduate private loans, graduate private loans, parent student loans, and student loan refinancing. Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply, and they must be at least 18 years old. For students currently in school, Citizens Bank also requires that borrowers be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution.
The financial institution also has credit requirements and credit score minimums borrowers must meet, or a qualified co-signer must be included as part of the loan application process. International students may also apply so long as they have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident apply as a co-signer.
Citizens Bank can approve a borrower for a private student loan in as few as two business days, provided all the information submitted with an application is verifiable. The application process is simple through the bank’s online platform and funding can be sent directly to the school where the student is earning his or her degree.
Below are in-depth details about each of the private student loan offerings from Citizens Bank, as well as information about customer service, loan payments, and how to refinance a loan.
Private Student Loans for Undergraduates
Undergraduate students can apply for a private student loan with Citizens Bank so long as they are enrolled at an eligible institution. Borrowers must have a strong credit history or a qualified co-signer to receive approval from the bank, and they must provide information about their income, employer, the name of the school they attend, and total cost of attendance based on the school’s award letter.
Each borrower listed on an application must also provide their name, address, and contact information. All applications are submitted online. Private loans vary from federal loans because of the need for good credit and a credit check. A credit check isn’t required for most federal student loans.
Interest Rates & Term Lengths
The terms of a private student loan for an undergraduate student vary depending on the amount of money borrowed and the repayment term selected.
Citizens Bank offers five-, 10-, and 15-year terms, and interest rates are either variable or fixed. Variable rates range from 4.45% up to 12.32% APR, and fixed rates range from 5.25% to 12.09% APR.
Borrowers can opt for immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, or a deferred monthly payment option. Citizens Bank also offers anywhere from a 0.25 up to a 0.50% interest rate discount, a single application for multi-year disbursements, and a total loan amount of $100,000 for undergraduate students. In regard to the interest rate discounts, there is an automatic payment discount of 0.25% and another 0.25% discount for those who already have a Citizens Bank account. To learn more about these discounts, check out Citizens Bank’s student loans page.
Private Student Loan for Graduate Students
Similar to undergraduate student loans from Citizens Bank, graduate-level students may also qualify for private loans with the financial institution. Graduate students must be enrolled at an eligible institution to qualify, and they may need to provide proof of income, a strong credit history, and score, and verify the total cost of attendance with the school.
Like undergraduate loans, graduate private student loans from Citizens Bank require borrowers to be U.S. citizens, and if they cannot qualify based on credit and income, a co-signer may be added to an application.
Interest Rates & Term Lengths
For graduate loans from the bank, borrowers can elect immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, or deferred repayment while in school. Loans have either fixed or variable interest rates, with fixed rates ranging from 5.74% to 11.65% APR and variable rates from 4.45% up to 11.82% APR.
Citizens Bank offers the same discounts, up to 0.50%, on interest rates for eligible borrowers. The maximum loan amount from the bank depends on the type of graduate degree program a student is enrolled in but could be up to $350,000 for healthcare students or $225,000 for law or MBA students. Citizens Bank also offers multi-year approval for graduate student loans.
Private Student Loan for Parents
Citizens Bank also offers private student loans for parents. Individuals applying for a parent student loan with the bank must be US citizens or permanent residents and have a student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution. Borrowers must have strong credit to qualify, as well as verifiable income.
Parents applying for a student loan must also provide the student’s total cost of attendance based on the school’s award letter, his or her anticipated graduation date, and the loan period and amount requested. Applications for parent student loans are also submitted online.
Parent borrowers may take out up to $350,000 with Citizens Bank based on the credit history and income of the primary borrower. This is far higher than many other parent student loans offered by private institutions. Repayment options are limited to 5 or 10 year terms, and parents can choose between immediate monthly repayment or interest-only repayment while the student is in school.
Variable interest rates range from 5.74% to 8.56% APR, while fixed interest rates range from the lowest rates of 5.43% to 8.75% APR. A 0.50% interest rate discount is available to qualified borrowers, and a multi-year approval is also an option for parent private student loans.
Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance
What we like:
No degree required to refinance
|Fixed APR||3.89% – 9.99%|
|Variable APR||2.98% – 9.72%|
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, 20 years|
|Loan Amounts||$10,000 to $350,000|
Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing
Citizens Bank provides private student loan refinancing to undergraduate and graduate students once they have left school. With a refinanced loan through Citizens Bank, borrowers must have graduated from an eligible institution and not be in default on their current student loans.
Undergraduate and graduate students must have strong credit to qualify, as well as verifiable income. If this is not the case, a co-signer may be added to a loan application to strengthen the chance for approval.
Co-signer release is available after 36 consecutive, on-time payments are made to a refinanced loan through Citizens Bank.
Interest Rates & Term Lengths
Borrowers who refinance their federal or private student loans with Citizens Bank can select a repayment term of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years and repayment begins immediately.
Variable interest rates for a refinanced loan range from 2.98% up to 9.72% APR, while fixed interest rates range from 3.89% up to 9.99% APR.
A minimum of $10,000 in student debt is required to refinance with Citizens Bank and the maximum depends on the type of degree earned and total outstanding student loan debt to be refinanced under the new loan. Citizens Bank extends is 0.50% interest rate discount to refinanced loans as well, and applications can be submitted quickly and easily online.
Student Loan Refinancing for Parents
Parents who took out a student loan, either federal or private, have an option to refinance with Citizens Bank as well. A parent refinance student loan is available to U.S. citizens who have a student either currently enrolled in or graduated from an eligible institution. Parents may qualify if they have a strong credit history and verifiable income.
Parents who refinance a parent student loan with Citizens Bank have a single repayment option that requires immediate payments. However, parent borrowers may select a repayment term of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years with either a variable or fixed interest rate. Variable rates range from 2.98% to 7.45% APR and fixed rates range from 3.89% to 7.71% APR. An interest rate discount of up to 0.50% is also available on parent refinanced student loans with Citizens Bank. Parent borrowers can submit a fast application online to see if they qualify.
Alternatives to Citizens Bank
Although Citizens Bank offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, parent, and refinanced student loans, it is important for borrowers to shop around before making a final decision. There are other lenders, both traditional banks and non-conventional online lenders, that offer private student loans with comparable or, in some cases, lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms.
Students who are currently enrolled in school may also want to look for scholarship opportunities, grants, and federal student loans before applying for a private student loan with Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank has one of the most comprehensive private student loan programs available to nearly all types of students and their parents. Interest rates and repayment terms, and rate reduction options are competitive, and borrowers have options to add a co-signer if their credit history or income is not high enough to qualify on their own.
Citizens Bank is a smart place to begin the search for private student loans as an undergrad, graduate, or graduated student or parent of a student, but it is crucial to get multiple quotes from other lenders to ensure your loan is affordable.
*see important Citizens Bank Private Student Loan Disclosures
*see important Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Disclosures
Author: Melissa Horton
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