Citizens Bank provides a wide selection of student and parent loans, in addition to refinancing options for both. With clear terms on application requirements and loan amount guides, the process is pretty transparent. You’ll also appreciate online resources and some pretty fantastic rate discounts that can result in significant savings on your student debt. Citizens Bank can also be a decent option for a personal loan.
Student Loan Application Requirements
To apply for a student loan through Citizens Bank, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If not, you can apply with a cosigner who meets either requirement. Additionally, you must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible education institution. You should also have a good credit score or you can apply with a cosigner who has one.
The absolute minimum loan amount is $1,000 which is a pretty low threshold if you don’t need to borrow a lot to fill in your tuition and expenses gap. The maximum amount you can borrow from Citizens Bank depends on the type of degree you’re pursuing and how much student loan debt you have from other sources.
Here’s a breakdown to understand how much you could potentially borrow for your college or graduate education.
|TOTAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT |
(PRIVATE AND FEDERAL)
|MAXIMUM STUDENT LOAN DEBT |
FROM CITIZENS BANK
|Law or MBA||$225,000||$180,000|
|Healthcare Professionals||$180,000 or $350,000 ||$150,000 or $295,000 |
For repayment terms, you have 5-year, 10-year, or 15-year options with most loans from Citizens Bank. The shorter period you choose generally comes with a lower interest rate, which results in a lower loan cost over the entire period.
The longer-term options, however, typically result in lower monthly payments since the loan is spread out over a longer period of time. The downside is that it will cost you more money over the entire life of the loan if you don’t refinance. The key to getting the best deal is to weigh both your short-term and long-term financial needs in order to strike a balance that works for you.
Types of Student Loans Available
Citizens Bank offers two types of student loans depending on who is the primary borrower, as well as options to refinance existing student loans.
Citizens Bank Student Loan
The Citizens Bank Student Loan is offered directly to students. Since most students won’t have a substantial credit history when they’re ready to apply, you’ll likely need a cosigner to apply with you. Usually, a cosigner is a parent, guardian, or other close relative or friend. The loan is in your name, but your cosigner is equally responsible for making the payments. You can use their income and credit score to qualify, but here’s the catch.
If you fall behind on your payments, your cosigner’s credit will be affected just as much as yours is. It’s important that you have a game plan in advance to determine who’s responsible for payments and what happens if you get into a financial pinch. Also figure out how you’ll handle payments while you’re still in school, whether you plan to defer them or make interest-only payments until graduation.
Citizens Bank Student Loan for Parents
For parents who would rather take on student debt directly rather than having it go to their child, Citizens Bank also offers a student loan for parents. The parent loan comes with slightly limited repayment terms, with only the 5-year and 10-year options available. You may save money compared to Federal Parent PLUS loans, so be sure to compare financial aid offers and weigh the pros and cons of all your available options.
Student Loan Refinance
After you graduate, refinancing your student loan can help you either lower your monthly payments or your interest rate. Citizens Bank states that the average refinancing savings amounts to $3,252 per year after an average 2% decrease in interest rate. To become eligible to refinance one or more student loans you must have completed your degree program and made at least 12 consecutive payments.
Student Loan Refinancing for Parents
If you have Federal Parent PLUS loans, you could save as much as 2.75% on your interest rate when you refinance through Citizens Bank. You can also refinance in order to consolidate multiple students loans, both federal and private. If you have multiple children with separate parent loans, you can consolidate those as well. You can even refinance with kids still in school before your first payment is due. The minimum refinance loan amount is $10,000.
Fees and Rates
Citizens Bank advertises an average fee savings of $643 compared to Federal Direct PLUS loans. There are no application, origination, or disbursement fees when you take out a student or parent loan.
Additionally, you could qualify for rate discounts up to 0.50%. You can receive a 0.25% loyalty discount if you or your cosigner have a qualifying account with Citizens Bank at the time you apply. There’s also a 0.25% discount when you enroll in automatic payments.
Fixed rate APRs range between 5.25% and 12.19%, while variable APRs go from 4.04% to 12.01%. You can get a better idea of what kind of rate you could qualify for using Citizens Bank’s online student loan calculator.
Citizens Bank’s Student Loan Process
The application process is quick and easy and can be completed entirely online. Here’s what you’ll need on hand in order to complete your Citizens Bank application:
- Contact Information: address, phone number, and email
- Person Information: date of birth and social security number
- Income information: recent pay stub, monthly housing payment, employer name, phone number, and length of employment
- School Information: name of school you’ll be attending, cost of attendance, school award letter indicating any other financial aid; anticipated graduation date
- Loan Request Information: loan period and loan amount needed
- Cosigner Information: name and email address
Once your application has been approved, Citizens Bank sends the loan funds directly to your school for disbursement. You’ll appreciate the streamlined process from start to finish when taking out your student loan with Citizens Bank.
You can expect several extra benefits when you take out a student loan through Citizens Bank. Here are some of our favorite highlights.
Multi-year Approval – Citizens Bank is the only lender offering multi-year approval so you don’t have to worry about how to finance each subsequent year of college. You only have to apply once, which minimizes the amount of time spent submitting documents.
Your credit impact is also limited because only your borrowed amount shows up on your credit report and subsequent years only require a soft credit check. To qualify, you must be either a full-time undergraduate or graduate student and be both credit and income qualified.
Cosigner Release – You can apply for cosigner release without refinancing once you’ve graduated and have made 36 consecutive payments on-time and in full (both principal and interest). This relieves your cosigner from being financially responsible and puts the student loan entirely in your name.
College Planning Center – This handy tool helps you figure out how to save for college and offers step-by-step plans to achieve your family’s financial needs. You can even search for colleges and scholarships based on your interests and academics.
Online Student Loan Calculator – See how your monthly payments could change based on factors like interest rate, repayment term, and loan amount. This can help you decide the best balance between short-term and long-term impacts on your financial health.
Student Checking Available – Since Citizens Bank is a traditional financial institution, you can use it to open a student checking account. If you’re under the age of 25, you can get your monthly maintenance fee waived. Plus, there’s no minimum balance to open the account.
In-person Support. – If you prefer to talk to someone in person about your student loan options, Citizens Bank operates physical branches throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Branches are located in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Citizens Bank offers a healthy balance of online convenience and personal support throughout the entire student loan process. You can take out a lot of the guesswork in student loan planning with their unique multi-year approval.
Competitive rates could also lead to attractive refinancing options. With helpful planning tools, Citizens Bank makes it easy to plan long-term for financing your college or graduate education.