If you went to college, you likely walked away with student loans. In fact, according to The Institute of College Access and Success, the average graduate left school in 2017 with $28,650 in student loan debt.
Along with that hefty balance, high interest rates on student loans can cause your balance to balloon over time. You could end up owing far more than you originally borrowed.
If you’re struggling with student loans, refinancing can help you save money and pay off your debt ahead of schedule. Citizens Bank offers student loan refinancing, and can be a smart choice if you want to take charge of your loans.
When you refinance, you work with a private lender to take out a loan for the amount of your current debt. You can combine federal and private student loans together, so that you have just one loan and one easy monthly payment. With refinancing, you can qualify for a lower interest rate, helping you save thousands over the length of your loan. According to Citizens Bank, those who refinance through the company save an average of $2,544 per year.
With Citizens Bank, you can refinance federal and private student loans, including loans for graduate or professional degrees. Citizens Bank also offers student loan refinancing for parent loans, such as Parent PLUS Loans.
Citizens Bank offers both fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed interest rates stay the same for the length of your repayment period. Variable interest rates typically start off lower than fixed interest rates, but fluctuate over time. The rate you qualify for is based on your credit score, type of degree (if applicable), income, expenses, and the repayment term you choose.
In addition, you can qualify for an interest rate deduction by signing up for automatic payments. If you sign up for autopay, Citizens Bank will knock 0.25% off your interest rate. And, if you have (or sign up for) a Citizens Bank checking or savings account, you can qualify for an additional 0.25% discount.
There are no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
To qualify for a refinancing loan from Citizens Bank, you must meet the following criteria:
While a co-signer is not required, having a co-signer can increase your chances of getting approved for a loan and qualifying for a lower interest rate.
There are lots of lenders out there, so what makes Citizens Bank student loan refinancing different? There are three main points.
With most student loan refinancing lenders, you must graduate with a four-year degree to qualify. If you only have an associate’s degree — or if you dropped out of college before completing your degree — you’re not eligible for refinancing. Citizens Bank doesn’t have that requirement. You can qualify for a loan with a two-year degree, or even if you didn’t graduate at all. If you left school without a degree but with significant student loan debt, Citizens Bank can provide much-needed relief.
Not all lenders allow you to defer your student loans, but Citizens Bank does. If you decide to go back to school at least half-time, you can enter deferment — where you can postpone making payments — until six months after graduation.
For one, they offer a co-signer release, which is a big deal. If you have a co-signer, they’re responsible for making payments on the loan if you fall behind, which can hurt their finances and their credit. While a co-signer can help you refinance, after you’ve built up your career and start earning more money, you may want to remove the co-signer from responsibility for the loan.
With Citizens Bank, you can apply for a co-signer release after making 36 consecutive, on-time payments. To qualify, you must meet Citizen Bank’s lending requirements to hold the loan in your own name.
You can use Purefy’s rate comparison tool to get a quote for a refinancing loan, and compare Citizens with other lenders. The tool only performs a soft credit pull, so your credit score will not be affected.
If you decide to apply with Citizens, you’ll be asked to enter your personal information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, the amount you want to refinance, and your monthly rent or mortgage payment.
You can choose which repayment term works best for you; you can choose terms of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. In general, the shorter the repayment term, the lower the interest rate.
Once you find a quote and repayment term that you’re satisfied with, you can then complete the full application. You’ll need to provide your employment information and the names of your current lenders.
Typically, you’ll get a response within a few minutes. However, in some cases, Citizens Bank may need additional information. If that’s the case, it will reach out to you for extra documentation, such as pay stubs.
If approved, you’ll receive a loan agreement detailing the terms of the loan. If you want to accept the loan, you just need to sign it. Your refinancing loan will go through in a matter of days.
If you want to tackle your student loans head on, refinancing can be a smart strategy. By refinancing your debt, you can qualify for a lower interest rate, so more of your monthly payment goes toward the principal rather than interest. Over time, you can save thousands of dollars thanks to the lower rate.
While Citizens Bank offers many benefits, they’re not the only lender out there. Before submitting your application, make sure you compare offers from multiple student loan refinancing lenders to make sure you get the lowest rates.