Save Money on Student Loans with Citizens Bank
May 8, 2019
Whether you're a student or have left school already, Citizens Bank could potentially help with a private student loan or student loan refinancing.
If you've looked at Citizens already and have a rate quote, you can even compare their rates with the best lenders out there using Purefy's quick and easy rate comparison tool (with no credit check required).
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. Comparing rates from the best lenders is the number one way to get the best deal. Citizens offers student loan refinancing, and can be a smart choice if you want to take charge of your loans. Learn more in our Citizens Bank student loan refinancing review.
Citizens Bank student loan refinancing review
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.
Types of refinancing available
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.
Interest rates and fees
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:
- You must be out of school and making payments on your loans
- If you didn’t graduate from school, you must have made at least 12 consecutive on-time payments
- You must have a minimum household income of $24,000
- You must have at least $10,000 in student loans
- You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien with a valid Social Security number
- You must not be on an income-driven repayment plan
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.
What sets Citizens Bank apart
There are lots of lenders out there, so what makes Citizens Bank student loan refinancing different? There are three main points.
1. You can qualify for refinancing if you didn’t graduate
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.
2. You may be able to defer your student loans
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.
3. You may be eligible for a co-signer release
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.
How to apply for Citizens Bank student loan refinancing
You can use Purefy’s rate comparison tool to get a quote for a refinancing loan from multiple top lenders, in just seconds. If you want to compare these rates with Citizens, who is not a Purefy lender, you'll need to apply with Citizens Bank to see how they stack up. If you do 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. The application should take you less than 15 minutes to fill out.
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.
Refinancing your student loans
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.
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.
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.