Review: Pay for College with Citizens Bank Student Loans

Kat Tretina Published on May 31, 2019

citizens bank student loans review

It should come as no surprise that college is expensive. According to The College Board, a single year at a private university costs $32,410, on average. Since few people have that kind of money in the bank, chances are that you’ll need to turn to student loans to finance your education.

Private student loans can play an important role in your education. If you need additional funding for school, Citizens can help you complete your degree. Learn how Citizens can help, and how to compare their interest rates with other lenders, in our in-depth Citizens Bank student loans review.

Citizens Bank student loans review

When you’re accepted into college, you’ll be offered a financial aid package. Your aid typically includes scholarships, grants, and federal student loans. However, there are times when your financial aid package isn’t enough to cover the total cost of attendance. That’s when turning to a private loan lender like Citizens Bank makes sense. 

As one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, Citizens Bank offers a wide range of financial products like student loans.

Types of loans available

Whether you’re an undergraduate student or you’re a parent paying for your child’s education, Citizens Bank offers student loan options for you. The minimum amount you can borrow is $1,000, and the maximum amount is determined by your degree program:

  • Undergraduate: $100,000
  • Graduate: $110,000
  • Law/MBA: $180,000
  • Healthcare Professionals: $150,000 or $295,000, depending on degree
  • Parent loans: $350,000

Regardless of the type of loan you choose, Citizens Bank will disburse the money directly to your selected school. Most student loans allow you to choose a repayment term of 5, 10, or 15 years, while parent loans have repayment terms of either 5 or 10 years.

Interest rates and fees

Citizens Bank student loans offers both fixed and variable interest rate loans. Fixed rates stay the same for the length of your repayment, so your minimum monthly payment never changes. With variable interest rate loans, the interest rate tends to start out lower than fixed interest rate loans, but the rate will fluctuate over time.

The rate you receive is dependent on a number of factors, such as your creditworthiness and the repayment term you choose. In general, the longer the repayment term, the higher the interest rate.

You can get a lower interest rate through incentive programs. You can qualify for an additional 0.25 percentage point discount by signing up for automatic payments.  And, Citizens Bank offers another 0.25 percentage point discount if you have already have a checking, savings, money market account, auto loan, or home loan with the company. Please note that you’ll have to have this account set up before you apply for a student loan, to get the discount. . With these two initiatives, you can lower your interest rate by 0.50 percentage points, allowing you to save money.

Citizens Bank student loans have no origination, application, or disbursement fees.

Eligibility criteria

When it comes to private student loans, each lender has their own eligibility criteria. To qualify for a Citizens Bank student loan, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program at an eligible institution
  • You must have good credit or have a qualified co-signer
  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Minimum household income of $12,000 for either the borrower or co-signer

While a co-signer isn’t required, having one can increase your chances of getting approved for a loan. And, a co-signer can help you qualify for a lower interest rate.

International students can qualify for a loan if they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

What sets Citizens Bank student loans apart

There are dozens of private student loan lenders out there, so it can be difficult to choose one. If you’re trying to decide between lenders, it’s important to keep three points about Citizens Bank in mind.

1. It offers multi-year approval

Citizens Bank is the only lender to offer multi-year approval. With multi-year approval, you submit a loan application just once and you can secure funding for additional years in school until you graduate. Multi-year approval gives you easy access to funding with less of an impact on your credit score.

2. Citizens Bank allows co-signer releases

While a co-signer can help you get a loan and qualify for a lower interest rate, it’s a tremendous responsibility. After you graduate and start working, you might want to release your co-signer from their obligation on the loan. Not all private loan lenders allow co-signer releases; Citizens Bank is one that does. Borrowers can apply for a co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments.

3. It has loan deferment

Citizens Bank offers in-school deferment, allowing you to postpone making payments until six months after you graduate. That option gives you time to find a job and get on your feet before you have to deal with the responsibility of paying back your loans.

If you enroll in graduate or professional degree programs, you can defer your payments for up to eight years.

How to apply for a Citizens Bank student loan

Using Purefy’s rate comparison tool, you can compare rates from the top student lenders in seconds. We recommend this as a first step any time you are shopping for a student loan, so that you can see what kind of deal you can get from the best lenders out there.

Citizens is not a Purefy lender, so if you do decide to apply with Citizens to see how they compare, you will need to visit their website and fill out their online application, which takes about 15 minutes. Then, you can see how their rates stack up. You’ll need the following information to complete the application:

  • Pay stub or other proof of income
  • Monthly housing cost (rent or mortgage payment)
  • Expected school graduation date
  • Loan amount
  • Academic period for loan

If approved for a loan, you’ll have to accept the loan and sign a promissory note. Going forward, you can view your loan information online and start managing your loan.

Paying for college

Private student loans can play an important role in your education. As you’ve learned in this Citizen Bank student loan review, choosing the right lender can help you save money and enjoy more flexible repayment terms after graduation. By shopping around and comparing offers from multiple lenders with Purefy’s free online tools, you can ensure you get the right loan for you.