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Citizens Bank Student Loans: 2024 Review

Updated on Jan. 1, 2024
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At a glance

4.4
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Repayment Options
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Affordability
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Customer Experience
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5

About Bankrate Score

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 true contender in the student loan space. 

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Loan amount $1,000 to $750,000
Rates
APR from 6.36% Variable; 4.48% Fixed
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Term lengths 5 to 20 years
This lender is best for borrowers with good credit who are looking for funding for multiple years of school.
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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 is 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: In the details

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Pros

  • Multiyear approval: 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.
  • Eligibility for international students: Citizens Bank allows international students to apply as long as they have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
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Cons

  • Loan amount caps: 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.
  • Co-signer requirement: The website states almost all undergrad borrowers have a co-signer, so it could be challenging to 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 several requirements depending on the type of loan you're applying for.

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 — 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 listed include both discounts:

 
Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate student loans 6.36%-14.25% APR 4.48%-13.29% APR
Graduate student loans 6.82%-13.30% APR 4.99%-12.24% APR
Parent student loans 7.20%-9.55% APR 6.49%-9.55% APR
Law school loans 6.82%-12.31% APR 4.99%-11.25% APR
MBA loans 6.82%-13.30% APR 4.99%-12.24% APR
Medical school loans 6.82%-10.74% APR 4.99%-9.58% APR
Student loan refinancing 7.62%-10.07% APR 7.61%-10.06% APR
Medical residency refinancing 7.02%-11.52% APR 6.49%-10.09% APR
Parent loan refinancing 8.08%-11.60% APR 7.78%-10.15% 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 late or returned payment fees.

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.

Customer service

Citizens Bank gets a B 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. 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.
  • Any co-signer information (if applicable).

The application process with Citizens Bank looks similar to other student lenders.

  1. Complete the online loan application process via your computer or mobile device. Add co-signer information and wait to see if you’re approved.
  2. If approved, select a fixed or variable rate, the term of your loan and your repayment preference.
  3. 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

Overall Score 4.4
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 and no origination or prepayment fees, but 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.

Methodology

The Bankrate team evaluated over 20 lenders to select our top picks for the best student loans. To do this, Bankrate considers 14 factors, including loan amounts, fees, repayment terms and options, as well as fixed and variable APR ranges. Then, lenders are rated using our vetting system known as the Bankrate Score, which focuses on three main categories.

  • Availability: We looked at minimum and maximum loan amounts, as well as the lender’s eligibility requirements, co-signer option, degrees covered and state availability. Lenders that offered the most flexibility as well as nationwide servicing and that offered financing for a variety of programs ranked higher in this section.
  • Affordability: Fixed and variable interest rates, fees, penalties and discounts were measured in this category. Lenders with the lowest rates, fewer fees and multiple discounts got the higher scores.
  • Customer experience: Our team looked at the ease of the application process, as well as online account management tools, customer support hours, app availability, repayment options and grace periods offered by the lenders. This allowed us to determine the lenders’ ability to satisfactorily serve customers.

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.