Citizens Bank Review: Student Loans and Refinancing

Citizens Bank is a major lender for students. In this Citizens Bank student loan review, learn about its education loans and refinancing options.

Citizens Bank is one of the largest lenders in the private student loan and student loan refinancing market. It offers student loans for different levels of education and is one of the only lenders to offer refinancing to borrowers who didn’t graduate. 

In this Citizens Bank student loan review, learn about the company’s student loans, student loan refinancing program and eligibility requirements. 


Citizen Bank Student Loans Review: Pros and Cons


Pros

Cons

Loyalty and autopay discounts available

Caps on borrowing

You can refinance if you didn’t graduate

No prequalification option

Multiple repayment options for most loans

Parent loans have limited repayment options

Multiyear approvals


Co-signer releases available



Pros 

  • Loyalty and autopay discounts available: Most student loan lenders offer autopay discounts, but Citizens Bank goes one step further. In addition to a 0.25% discount, existing Citizens Bank customers can qualify for a 0.25% loyalty discount. Combined, you could reduce your interest rate by 0.50% with these discounts. 
  • You can refinance if you didn’t graduate: Most refinancing lenders require applicants to graduate before they can get approved. Citizens Bank is one of the only lenders that will allow borrowers who left school before earning a degree to refinance their loans. 
  • Multiple repayment options for most loans: With undergraduate and graduate loans, you can have up to 15 years to repay your loans. And you can choose to make payments while you’re in school, pay only the interest that accrues or defer payments until after you graduate. 
  • Multiyear approvals: Instead of having to apply for a loan every semester or year, Citizens Bank offers multiyear approvals. If you’re approved for this feature, you can accept the loans every year without submitting another application or undergoing another credit check. 
  • Co-signer releases available: If you apply for a loan with a co-signer, you can apply for a co-signer release after making 36 consecutive monthly payments on time. 

Cons

  • Caps on borrowing: While many private lenders allow you to borrow up to the total cost of attendance, Citizens Bank has strict borrowing limits. The lifetime maximum for undergraduate students is $150,000, and that number includes any federal loans or other private loans you take out. 
  • No prequalification option: Most lenders allow you to use a prequalification tool to check your loan eligibility and get an estimate of what interest rates to expect. Citizens Bank doesn’t have that feature. The only way to find out if you’ll qualify for a loan and what rates you’ll get is to apply and undergo a hard credit inquiry, which can impact your credit score. 
  • Limited payment options for parents: Parent student loans have fewer repayment options than Citizen Bank’s other loans. Parent borrowers have to choose a term of five or 10 years; longer repayment terms aren’t available. Parents also can’t defer payments until after the child graduates. Instead, they’ll have to choose between making full payments or interest-only payments while their child is in school. 


Citizens Bank Private Student Loans

Citizens Bank offers multiple loan products: 

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • Parent
  • Bar Study
  • Medical Residency

Undergraduate Loans

Citizens Bank’s undergraduate loans can have fixed or variable interest rates. When you take out a loan, you can choose a loan term of five, 10 or 15 years, and you can select a repayment option that works for you: 

  • Full Payments: Full principal and interest while in school
  • Interest-Only Repayment: Pay only the accrued interest while you’re in school
  • Deferred Repayment: Defer payments until after you graduate

The minimum amount you can borrow is $1,000. The lifetime aggregate borrowing limit, which includes all federal and private student loans, is $150,000 for undergraduate students. 

Graduate Loans

Citizens Bank also has student loans for graduate school. Graduate student loans can be used to pay for a master’s program, a master’s of business administration (MBA), law school, medical school or dental school. The loans can have fixed or variable interest rates. 

Citizens Bank’s graduate loans have repayment terms of five, 10 or 15 years. You can choose between full payments, interest-only repayment or deferred repayment plans. 

The aggregate limit is dependent on the type of degree you’re pursuing and is inclusive of all federal and private student loans: 

  • Graduate: $150,000
  • MBA and Law: $225,000
  • Health care: 
    • $180,000 for cardiac perfusion, chiropractic, cytotechnology, nurse practitioner, occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant degrees
    • $350,000 for MD, DMD/DDS, OD, DO, DPM, PharmD, and DVM degrees

Parent Loans

Parents of college students can use a Citizens Bank private parent student loan to pay for their child’s education. Parent loans can have fixed or variable interest rates, and repayment terms are either five or 10 years. 

Parents can’t defer payments until after their child graduates, but they can decide to pay only interest while the student is still in school. 

Parent student loans have the same aggregate limits as the other loan types. 

Bar Study

Bar study loans are for law school graduates preparing for the bar exam. They can have fixed or variable interest rates and have a repayment term of five or 10 years. The maximum you can take out with a bar study loan is $16,000, but the aggregate student loan limit that applies to law school students — $225,000 — still is in effect. 

Medical Residency

If you need money to cover your expenses during your medical residency, a Citizens Bank medical residency loan can help. You can borrow up to $20,000, though the $350,000 aggregate limit for medical school loans still applies. The repayment term is five or 10 years, and you can defer payments until after your residency ends. 

Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinancing

If you want to pay off your student loans aggressively or save money on interest charges, student loan refinancing could be an effective tool for you. Citizens Bank offers refinancing for both student and parent borrowers. 

You can choose a term between five and 20 years and select either a fixed or variable interest rate. 

The minimum you can refinance is $10,000, and the maximum is dependent on your degree level: 

  • Undergraduate: $300,000 
  • Graduate: $500,000
  • Professional: $750,000
  • Parent: $500,000

Choosing a Lender

Citizens Bank offers several student loan and refinancing options. You can find the loan that works for you based on your education goals and repayment preferences. 

However, it’s a good idea to compare rates and loan offers from several lenders before making a decision. With Juno, you can be confident that you’re getting the lowest rates since Juno uses its group bargaining power to negotiate with top lenders. 


Kat Tretina
Written By
Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, FL. She specializes in helping people finance their education and manage debt. Her work has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, MarketWatch, and many other publications.

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