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What we like:
Support programs in the event of a job loss or natural disaster
|Rates (APR)||1.31% – 10.86%|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 – $99,999|
|Term lengths||7, 10, or 15 years|
Cognition Financial offers a student loan program that is funded by Citizens Bank. The Custom Choice Loan offers a 0.25% rate discount if you enroll in automatic payments, no fees, a 2% principal reduction with proof of graduation1, and competitive interest rates.
To learn more about the Custom Choice Loan, powered by Cognition Financial, including loan details, pros and cons, as well as how to apply, continue below.
In this review:
- Loan details
- Pros and cons
- How to apply
- Repayment options
- Should I include a cosigner on my loan application?
Custom Choice Loan details
Below, you will find all the details of the Custom Choice Loan:
|Custom Choice Loan|
|Who is eligible?||Undergraduate and graduate students|
|Variable rates (APR)||1.31% – 9.75%|
|Fixed rates (APR)||4.56% – 10.86%|
|Rate discounts||0.25% autopay reduction2|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 – $99,999 (aggregate of $180,000)|
|Term lengths||7, 10, or 15 years|
|In-school repayment||Deferred, flat $25, interest-only, or immediate4|
|Grace period||6 months|
|Cosigner release?||Yes; after 36 consecutive on-time payments|
|Graduation reward||2% principal reduction with proof of graduation1|
|Visit website||View rates|
Pros and cons of the Custom Choice Loan
- A 0.25% autopay rate reduction2
- Support programs that won’t charge any fees in the event of a job loss or natural disaster
- Four in-school repayment options that give you more control over how you handle your repayment4
- A 2% principal reduction when you show proof of graduation1
- There are no origination, application, late payment, or prepayment fees
How to apply for the Custom Choice Loan
Applying for the Custom Choice Loan is easy and can be completed in minutes. Here are the steps you need to take to apply through Cognition Financial:
- Visit Cognition Financial’s website, here.
- Click the Prequalify in Minutes button. This initial application will have no impact on your credit and will allow you to receive a decision in minutes.
- In the prequalification application, you’ll need to enter some school, loan, and borrower information. Some of the information you’ll be asked to fill in includes the degree you’re pursuing, the school you are attending, and the requested loan amount.
- If you prequalify, you can complete your online application to move forward towards customizing your loan.
- Once approved, choose the repayment plan that works with your budget and complete the application.
- After you finish your part, Cognition Financial will send the application to your school of choice for certification. This step can take several days to a few weeks.
- Once certification is received, Cognition Financial will schedule the disbursement of your loan funds according to the school’s timeline.
What information do you need to complete your application?
To complete your Custom Choice Loan application, you’ll need your Social Security number, school information, loan amount, and proof of income (if applicable).
For cosigners, you’ll need your Social Security number, proof of income, and a government-issued ID.
Repayment options for the Custom Choice Loan
The repayment of a student loan is arguably the most important phase of borrowing. To ensure you fully understand what your repayment options are, check out the detailed explanations below:
- Deferred: This option lets you focus on your education and make no payment in school. Payments will begin at the end of your 6-month grace period after graduation. This option will lead to the highest overall costs.
- Flat payment: You’ll make a flat $25 payment each month while you’re in school to reduce your interest. This is a way to make small, manageable, payments while you’re in school. This option will help you reduce some of your overall costs.
- Interest-only: You’ll pay the accrued interest each month while in school. You’ll be making meaningful payments, so make sure you can afford and budget for this plan. This option will significantly reduce your overall costs.
- Immediate: Make payments on both principal and interest immediately. This will be the highest payment you can make while in school and can include large payments. Be sure you can afford these payments before selecting this plan. This option leads to the lowest overall costs.
Should I include a cosigner on my loan application?
Adding a creditworthy cosigner to your application can improve your chances of approval. So much so that Cognition Financial actually states that “adding a parent or another adult with good financial standing makes approval 4X more likely.” A cosigner may even help you receive a lower rate than if you applied on your own.
A nice thing about adding a cosigner to a loan through Cognition Financial is that your cosigner may be released from the loan after you make 36 consecutive on-time monthly payments. This releases them from any repayment responsibilities and leaves you as the only borrower.
Alternatives to Cognition Financial’s Custom Choice Loan
While the Custom Choice Loan, powered by Cognition Financial, is a solid option for student loan borrowers, it may not be the right fit for everyone.
To compare additional options, you can check out the following guides:
For a more direct comparison of Cognition Financial, check out the table below:
|Cognition Financial||College Ave||Earnest|
|Rates (APR)||1.31% – 10.86%||1.24% – 12.99%||1.24% – 12.78%|
|Loan size||$1,000 – $99,999||$1,000+||$1,000+|
|Term lengths||7, 10, or 15 years||5, 8, 10, or 15 years||5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years|
|Grace period||6 months||6 months||9 months|
|Soft credit pull||Yes||No||Yes|
|Visit website||View rates||View rates||View rates|
The information above is for the undergraduate student loan from each lender.4.6 Cognition Financial Custom Choice Student Loan
1The principal reduction is based on the total dollar amount of all disbursements made, excluding any amounts that are reduced, cancelled, or returned. To receive this principal reduction, it must be requested from the Servicer, the student borrower must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher and proof of such graduation must be provided to the Servicer. This reward is available once during the life of the loan, regardless of whether the student receives more than one degree.
2Earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction for making automatic payments of principal and interest from a bank account (“auto pay discount”) by completing the direct debit form provided by the Servicer. The auto pay discount will be applied after the Servicer validates your bank account information and will continue until (1) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan (after which the discount cannot be reinstated) or (2) automatic deduction of payments is canceled. The auto pay discount is not available when reduced payments are being made or when the loan is in a deferment or forbearance, even if payments are being made.
3In order to provide you with a range of rates you prequalify for, Citizens will perform a soft credit inquiry, as authorized by you. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit score. If you prequalify, the rates and loan options offered to you are estimates only. Once you choose your loan options and submit your application, Citizens will perform a hard credit inquiry. Loan approval, options, and final rates depend on the verification of information provided on your application, and information obtained from the hard credit inquiry (and any cosigner’s hard credit inquiry).
4Any applicant who applies for a loan the month of, the month prior to, or the month after the student’s graduation date, as stated on the application or certified by the school, will only be offered the Immediate Repayment option. The 15-year term and the Flat Payment Repayment option are only available on loans of $5,000 or more.
Author: Jeff Gitlen