Citizens Bank offers private student loans and refinancing options to undergraduate and graduate students and their parents. Competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms and rate-reduction opportunities make it a big contender in the student loan space. It’s a particularly great option for students who would like to take some of the legwork out of applying for funds for multiple years of college.
Citizens Bank features
Citizens Bank offers undergraduate, graduate, law school, health professions, MBA, bar study, medical residency, parent and refinancing loans. International students can also apply via the bank’s online platform, though they must have a creditworthy co-signer who’s a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Citizens Bank’s multiyear approval program is what sets it apart from other lenders. Borrowers can apply once, with a single application, and be approved for additional student loans for all academic years without the need to formally reapply. If you need more funds, you’ll simply request the loan funds and go through a soft credit check.
Citizens Bank student loan snapshot
Undergraduate, graduate, law, health professions, MBA, bar study, medical residency, parent, refinancing
Private loans: $1,000 to $350,000 ($150,000 for undergraduate and graduate, $225,000 for MBA and law, $180,000 for some health care)
Refinancing loans: $10,000 to $750,000 ($300,000 for bachelor’s degree, $500,000 for graduate degree)
Private loans: 1.86% to 8.72% variable APR, 3.47% to 9.35% fixed APR
Refinancing loans: 2.24% to 8.99% variable APR, 4.29% to 9.49% fixed APR
Private loans: 5 to 15 years
Refinancing loans: 5 to 20 years
Yes for non-U.S. citizens and for applicants who have not reached the age of majority in their home state
Pros and cons of Citizens Bank student loans
Citizens Bank has a number of loan options that can give you the financial tools to help you earn your degree. However, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons before applying.
- Multiyear approval: If you know that you’ll need funds for multiple years of college, Citizens Bank could be a good choice; if you receive multiyear approval on your initial loan, you don’t have to go through a full application for future funds.
- Loyalty discounts: If you or your co-signer has a Citizens Bank checking, savings, money market or CD account, or any outstanding Citizens Bank loan, you may be eligible for a 0.25 percent discount on your student loan.
- Eligibility for international students: Most student loan lenders require borrowers to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Citizens Bank allows international students to apply as long as they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Loan amount caps: Students attending costly private schools or extending their education beyond four years may need to look elsewhere. While loan caps are higher for graduate programs, Citizens Bank imposes a lifetime aggregate limit (including federal loan debt) of $150,000 for undergraduate students.
- Limited eligibility information: Citizens Bank doesn’t list a required minimum credit score and income on its website, making it harder to know if you will qualify for a loan on your own.
Citizens Bank student loan requirements
In order to qualify for a Citizens Bank student loan, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be enrolled in a degree-granting program at an approved school or institution for at least half time.
- Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (international students can apply with the assistance of a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident co-signer).
- Have an established credit history, a good credit score or a creditworthy co-signer.
- Have no prior student loan defaults.
- Be the age of majority in your state, or have a co-signer who is.
If you’re looking to refinance your student loans, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number.
- Have made 12 qualifying payments after leaving school if you have an associate degree or no degree.
Who is this loan good for?
Citizens Bank is a great option for borrowers with good credit who are looking for funding for multiple years of school, since its multiyear approval allows borrowers to get money each year without the need to reapply annually.
Interest rates and terms
Citizens Bank offers two discounts: a 0.25 percent discount for signing up for automatic payments and a 0.25 percent discount for having a qualifying Citizens Bank account.
The interest rates for Citizens Bank’s student loan products below include both discounts:
|Loan product||Variable rate||Fixed rate|
|Undergraduate student loans||1.86% to 8.72% APR||3.47% to 9.35% APR|
|Graduate student loans||2.48% to 8.72% APR||4.47% to 9.29% APR|
|Parent student loans||1.86% to 8.50% APR||3.71% to 9.50% APR|
|Law school loans||2.57% to 8.33% APR||4.45% to 9.29% APR|
|MBA loans||2.47% to 8.72% APR||4.43% to 9.29% APR|
|Medical school loans||2.47% to 7.58% APR||4.43% to 8.47% APR|
|Dental school loans||2.47% to 7.58% APR||4.43% to 8.47% APR|
|Bar exam loans||4.97% to 10.04% APR||7.40% to 12.83% APR|
|Medical residency loans||4.06% to 7.24% APR||6.98% to 10.09% APR|
|Student loan refinancing||2.24% to 8.99% APR||4.29% to 8.96% APR|
|Medical residency refinancing||2.24% to 8.46% APR||4.29% to 8.96% APR|
|Parent loan refinancing||2.24% to 8.16% APR||4.29% to 8.66% APR|
Fees and penalties
Citizens Bank doesn’t charge any origination, application or disbursement fees for its student loans or parent loans. However, your loan may be subject to a 5 percent late fee if your payment is more than 15 days late, and you’ll be charged a $15 fee for each returned payment.
Repayment terms and grace period
Citizens Bank’s repayment terms vary by loan type. All student loans, however, come with a grace period of six months.
Undergraduate, graduate, law, MBA and health profession loans offer repayment terms of five, 10 or 15 years. Parent loans, medical residency loans and bar study loans come with terms of five and 10 years.
Borrowers refinancing their loans get repayment options of five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years.
Repayment options for student loans include:
- Deferred: Make no principal or interest payments while in school and during the six-month grace period.
- Interest-only: Make only interest payments while you’re in school.
- Immediate: Start making principal and interest payments as soon as you receive loan funds.
Citizens Bank gets an “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. The score considers complaint history and the institution’s response to those complaints.
You can reach the customer service department by calling 888-411-0266. Current customers can log into their account and send a secure message through the Citizens Bank website, and those near a branch may visit during regular business hours.
How to apply for a loan with Citizens Bank
You may apply for a student loan, parent loan or refinance loan through Citizens Bank entirely online. You can apply from a computer or mobile device in 15 minutes.
In order to apply, you’ll need your Social Security number, a recent pay stub, your employer information, the school you plan to attend, the cost of attendance and any financial aid received, your anticipated graduation date and any co-signer information (if applicable).
Here’s what the process looks like when applying for a loan through Citizens Bank:
- Complete the online loan application process via your computer or mobile device. Add co-signer information and wait to see if you’re approved.
- If approved, select a fixed or variable rate, the term of your loan and your repayment preference.
- Sign and accept documents electronically through the Citizens Bank platform. If you have a co-signer, they can sign electronically as well.
How Bankrate rates Citizens Bank
|Repayment Options||4.2||While Citizens Bank has low minimum loan amounts, it has only three repayment options for its private loans.|
|Affordability||4.4||Citizens Bank has fairly low rates but charges a few fees and has a relatively short grace period.|
|Customer Experience||4.5||Citizens Bank earns points for its online platform and mobile app. However, it does not disclose customer service hours for its student loan specialists.|
Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.