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Custom Choice Student Loans: 2023 Review

Updated on November 14, 2023

At a glance

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Check rate with Bankrate
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
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Repayment Options
Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
Rating: 4.8 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

About Bankrate Score

Custom Choice offers affordable, customizable private student loans with an assortment of repayment options, minus the pesky fees and late payment penalties.

Lender Details


Loan amount

$1,000 to $180,000


APR from

5.39%-15.57% Variable; 4.43%-14.04% Fixed (with autopay)

Clock Wait

Term lengths

7 to 15 years

Custom Choice features

Custom Choice offers student loans for both undergraduate and graduate students, and borrowers can apply with or without a co-signer. Custom Choice says that borrowers are four times more likely to be approved if they add a co-signer, but co-signers may also be released from the loan in as little as 36 months.

An addition to its core loan offerings, Custom Choice goes beyond simply lending by opening opportunities for scholarships and graduation rewards. It also provides a free guide to navigating private student loans, available to download on its website.

Custom Choice: In the details

Pros and cons of Custom Choice student loans

Custom Choice student loans can help you fund higher education, and you’ll even get some benefits for graduating. Still, its loan limits and other drawbacks could mean it’s not the best for you. 

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  • Flexible co-signer options: Co-signers are not required, but having one can improve your approval chance and afford you better rates and terms. Custom Choice also offers co-signer release after 36 consecutive on-time payments.
  • Graduation reward: Borrowers can receive a 2 percent principal reduction for their loan when they show proof of graduation, which can make starting repayment easier.
  • Zero fees: Some lenders charge an origination fee for student loans, and many more impose fees for late payments. While it’s never good to miss a loan payment, Custom Choice waives all fees, including late fees.
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  • Short forbearance program: Custom Choice limits its forbearance period to no more than two months at a time and no more than 12 months total. This may not be enough if you’re experiencing a long period of unemployment.
  • Limited loan amounts: While Custom Choice loans should be sufficient for most borrowers, it’s worth noting that they do have limits of $99,999 per year and $180,000 aggregate.

Custom Choice student loan requirements

Custom Choice does not share other requirements for loan approval, such as a minimum credit score or minimum income requirement. But there are other requirements outlined you will need to meet.

  • Undergraduate and graduate students must be enrolled at least half time in a degree-granting program at a school approved by the lender. 
  • Borrowers must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. 
  • Custom Choice also offers loans to DACA students, although you must apply with a qualified co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. 
  • Borrowers must also be the age of majority at the time of application or have a co-signer who is.

Who is this loan good for?

Student loans from Custom Choice are a solid option for those who don’t need to borrow much for school but want flexible options when it comes to paying them off. While the maximum repayment term is 15 years, borrowers have four options for making payments while in school. 

Because of Custom Choice’s low starting interest rates, it’s also ideal for borrowers with excellent credit. That said, if you have a lower credit score and no co-signer, you’ll likely want to look elsewhere for funding. 

Interest rates 

Custom Choice offers a 0.25 percent rate discount for borrowers who agree to use autopay. The rates below reflect the autopay discount.

Loan product Variable rate Fixed rate
Undergraduate student loans 5.38% to 15.21% APR 4.39% to 14.67% APR

Fees and penalties

Custom Choice student loans come with no origination fee, prepayment penalties or late fees. Keep in mind that even if you’re not charged for missing a payment, a late payment will still negatively affect your credit score.

Repayment terms and grace period

Custom Choice student loans can be repaid over seven, 10 or 15 years, and students can begin repaying their loans during school or defer them until graduation. A six-month grace period also applies.

Payments can be made in the following ways:

  • Deferred payments until six months after you graduate.
  • Flat payments of $25 during school that can help you reduce interest accrual.
  • Interest-only payments until you graduate.
  • Immediate full payments that include principal and interest.

How to apply for a loan with Custom Choice

Applying for a student loan with Custom Choice is easy, and the company even lets you check your rate online and without any impact to your credit score. The company says that you’ll need the following information to start your application.

  • Social Security number or documentation regarding current immigration status.
  • School information.
  • Loan amount.
  • Proof of income.
  • Monthly housing cost.
  • Anticipated graduation date.

If you’re applying with a co-signer, they will need a few pieces of information.

  • Social Security number.
  • Proof of income.
  • Government-issued ID.

Once you’re ready to apply, here’s how to move forward. 

  1. Get prequalified. View prospective loan offers in minutes without affecting your credit score. 
  2. Submit a formal application. You’ll also fill out the loan application online after getting prequalified for funding. 
  3. Review and sign loan documents. If your loan is approved, you’ll accept the terms and sign your loan documents virtually. 
  4. Receive the loan proceeds. After that, Custom Choice will send your loan information to your school for verification, and then your loan funds will be sent directly to the institution you plan to attend.

Customer service

Custom Choice has several avenues for customer service, including an online chat feature. If you’d like to speak with a representative, you can also call 888-513-8445 or email You may also send correspondence via mail to Cognition Financial, 200 Clarendon Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116.

Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

  • Custom Choice is a direct lender offering undergraduate and graduate student loans with competitive rates and flexible repayment options. 

  • Yes, you can get prequalified online with a soft credit check that doesn’t hurt your credit score. 

How Bankrate rates Custom Choice

Overall Score 4.0
Repayment Options 3.4 Custom Choice doesn’t have many repayment term options and has loan caps, though its minimum loan amount is low.
Affordability 4.6 Custom Choice offers borrowers low minimum and maximum APRs and no fees, even if its grace period is relatively short.
Customer Experience 4.0 While Custom Choice makes online access and payments easy, it does not specify customer service hours and has no mobile app.


The Bankrate team evaluated over a dozen 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 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.