This Citizens Bank student loans review will present to you very important information that will help you decide whether this one’s worthwhile or not. This is ideal for people who, particularly, are eyeing to get a student loan at this bank.
In a report published by Forbes online, it says that as of the moment, there are “45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the United States.” Because of the increase in number, student loan debt is now ranked as second highest in the consumer debt category — right behind mortgage debt and surpassed both credit cards and car loans.
Furthermore, in the same report, it says that the “average student loan debt for members of the Class of 2018 is $29,200, a 2% increase from the prior year.” The data was from the Institute for College Access and Success.
So, if you are planning to take a student loan, hopefully, this information helps you come up with informed decisions.
One of the most crucial thing though that a student loan borrower has to decide upon is where to get the money from — where to borrow funds.
There are quite a number of financial institutions out there that offer student loans, and one of them is the Citizens Bank.
Having said that, today, we are going to particularly scrutinize the bank through this Citizens Bank Student Loans review.
In particular, we are going to look into the following to help us decipher whether or not the bank’s student loan is worth it:
- Who is Citizens Bank?
- What are Citizens Bank student loan options?
- Who qualifies for a Citizens Bank student loan?
- How to apply for a Citizens Bank student loan?
- What are the loan rates, terms, fees, and discounts?
- What are the repayment options available?
- What are the pros and cons of a Citizens Bank student loan?
AT A GLANCE: CITIZENS ONE
Before we head on talking about the more definite details of Citizens Bank student loans, here’s a quick view first of what you can expect from getting a student loan at Citizens One:
|Lender||Allowed Loan Amount||APY Range||Terms||Key Benefit|
|Citizens Bank||$1,000 – 350,000||4.68% – 11.04% fixed; 1.29% – 10.60% variable||5 – 15 years||Multi-year approval program|
Now, it’s time for a more detailed review. Let’s begin with knowing who Citizens Bank first.
WHO IS CITIZENS BANK AND WHAT IT CITIZENS ONE?
To start off this Citizens Bank student loans review, we are going to share with you first a few information about the bank. As a potential borrower, it is important to know the history of the bank that you are eyeing to deal with. This way, you get an assurance of its credibility and trustworthiness. Both are important especially since we are talking about money here.
Citizens Bank is a traditional bank. It started off in 1828 in Rhode Island.
Citizen Bank has a lending arm, which is Citizens One. The division offers student loans as well as student loan refinancing options to qualified borrowers.
Specifically though, Citizens One offers loans for international students. It also offers a good deal for the bank’s existing customers who may be interested or are eyeing to get a student loan.
The bank’s refinancing loan option meanwhile is ideal for financially stable borrowers who did not graduate or are not citizens of the United States.
Compared to other financial institutions offering student loans, Citizens One definitely has competitive rates. Needless to say, they are very transparent, too.
We particularly like the fact though that the bank’s student loan is open nor just for undergraduates, but for graduates and even parents, too.
To know more about Citizens Bank’s student loan program, check below video by TheRhodeShow:
WHAT ARE CITIZENS ONE STUDENT LOAN OPTIONS?
Now that you already know who Citizens Bank is, and its lending arm, Citizens One, let’s proceed to talk about the real deal – the Citizens Bank student loans review.
Citizens One offers different types of student loans. These are as follows:
- Undergraduate Student Loans
- Graduate Student Loans
- MBA Loans
- Parent Loans
- Health Profession Loans
- Medical Residency Loans
- Law School Loans
- Bar Study Loans
Let’s take a look at each of these —
Undergraduate Student Loans
With Citizens One’s Undergraduate Student Loans, students are allowed to borrow for as low as $1,000 up to $150,000 aggregate, or as much as the entire amount of their undergraduate education, whichever between the two is lower. Students are also given the option to defer payments for up to eight years or as long as they are enrolled in an accredited school program.
For this specific type of loan, variable rates vary between 1.54% and 9.65%, while fixed rates are between 4.72% and 12.04%. Meanwhile, loan term options are 5, 10, or 15 years.
Graduate Student Loans
For this particular type of student loan, students who are enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program at an accredited school can avail of the loan. Just the same, the least loan amount allowed in $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance in school.
Meanwhile, Graduate Student Loans variable rates vary between 1.47% and 8.81%, and the fixed rates run from 4.40% to 11.35%. Loan terms available are 5, 10, or 15 years as well.
To qualify for Citizen One’s MBA Loans, a student has to be enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying MBA program. Unlike the previous ones, the allowable loan amount is at least $1,000 up to $225,000 or up to the total cost of attendance, whichever is applicable.
For this type of loan, variable rates range from 1.47% to 8.20%, while fixed rates vary between 4.45% and 10.59%. Loan term options are also 5, 10, or 15 years.
Citizens One also offers Parents Loans. This means parents can loan money intended for their child’s education. With this kind of loan, parents are given the option to make full payments or interest-only payments while their kid is still in school. Loan amounts also range between $1,000 and the total cost of attendance.
When it comes to interest rates, for variable rates, it’s 3.09% to 6.23%, while fixed rates range from 5.48% up to 8.52%. Available loan term options are only 5 and 10 years.
Health Profession Loans
Another student loan option offered by Citizens Bank – Citizen One is Health Profession Loans. For students who are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying MD, DMD/DDS, OD, DO, DPM, PharmD, or DVM degree, they are eligible for loan amounts ranging from $1,000 up to $350,000 or up to the total cost of attendance.
Meanwhile, students who are taking cardiac perfusion, chiropractic, cytotechnology, nurse practitioner, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant degrees, are eligible for up to $180,000 loan amount.
Variable rates range from 1.47% up to 7.10% for this particular student loan type, while fixed rates vary between 4.40% and 9.49%. You may opt to repay the loan either in 5, 10, or 15 years.
Medical Residency Loans
For medical students who graduated in the last 12 months or are at least in their second year of medical studies may avail Medical Residency Loans. They can borrow at least $1,000 up to $20,000 from the bank. Furthermore, payments can be deferred for up to 48 months during residency or you may opt to make full or interest-only payments.
Variable interest rates range from 3.88% up to 7.08%, while fixed rates are between 6.97% and 10.08%. For this type of student loan, repayments can be done either in 5 or 10 years.
Law School Loans
Law School Loans are also available for students who are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying law degree program. Qualified students can take out up to an aggregate of $225,000 in financing or up to the cost of attendance, whichever between the two is lower.
For this student loan type, variable rates vary between 1.47% and 8.20%. As for fixed rates, it ranges from 4.45% up to 10.59%. The loan is payable either in 5, 10, or 15 years.
Bar Study Loans
Last, but definitely not the least is Citizens One’s Bar Study Loans. This student loan type is applicable to law students who graduated in the last six months or are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible law school and are within six months of graduation. You may borrow up to a $16,000 loan amount from the bank.
With this loan type, you can opt to defer repayment of the loan while in school or for up to six months after graduation. Repayments can be done through either in 5 or 10 years.
When it comes to interest rates, variable rates range from 4.79% up to 9.86%, while fixed rates vary between 7.39% and 12.82%. Repayment options are either 5 or 10 years.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A CITIZENS ONE STUDENT LOAN?
Although we have already mentioned some of the important qualifications per type of student loan, Citizens One has laid out eligibility criteria when it comes to who can avail such loans.
So, for your reference, below are the major qualifications for you to be able to avail any of the student loan offered by Citizens One:
- Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident card holder
- Enrolled at least half time in a degree program at an eligible school
- Have a good credit score or have a qualified co-signer
- Have attained the age of majority in the state you reside or have a co-signer
- No prior student loan defaults
- For international students without a U. S. Social Security number must have a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer
Unfortunately, Citizens One did not specify what they mean with “good credit”. However, the bank asks for income information to determine the eligibility of the borrower.
In addition, Citizens One states that the bank’s lowest advertised rates are available only to students with a co-signer.
Good thing though is that Citizens One student loans are available across all states in the country.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A CITIZENS ONE STUDENT LOAN?
So, now you already know what Citizens Bank and Citizens One are all about, as well as the different student loan types they offer. More so, we have already talked about who’s eligible to get the student loans the bank offers.
This time around, in this part of our Citizens Bank student loans review, we are going to share with you the process of application for a student loan at Citizens Bank.
First off, you have to gather all the information as well as documents required by the bank. As mentioned, the requirements vary depending on the specific loan type that you will be applying for. However, some of the most common information that you are going to provide are as follows:
- Social Security Number
- Proof of Income
- Information About Your School
- Immigration Status Documentation (For International and DACA borrowers)
Second, go to Citizens One website, and complete the online application. Make sure to add a co-signer if deemed necessary.
Third, choose the type of student loan you will be applying for, select the rates, as well as the loan terms.
Lastly, make sure to sign and accept your loan documents once the loan is approved by the bank.
WHAT ARE THE LOAN RATES, TERMS, FEES, AND DISCOUNTS?
A few important things that you need to look into when looking for a financial institution to get a student loan from are the interest rates, fees, or penalties, as well as loan terms.
Loan Rates and Terms
Earlier, we already shared with you the different interest rates as well as the loan terms for each type of student loan that Citizens One offers. Hopefully, you still remember them. If not, please feel free to go back to what we have discussed earlier.
Now, with regards to fees and penalties, if you are planning to apply for a student loan at Citizens One, be aware that once a student loan payment is 15 days past due, it automatically is subject to a fee that is equivalent to 5% of the late payment.
Apart from this, Citizens One does not charge fees like application, origination, disbursement, or prepayment fees on any of the student loans they offer.
Meanwhile, Citizen One offers a 0.25% interest rate reduction if the borrower’s or their co-signer has an existing qualifying account with Citizens Bank at the time their application is submitted.
Qualifying accounts include any savings, checking, and money market accounts, as well as credit cards, certificates of deposit, and any loans that are owned by Citizens Bank.
In addition, a 0.25% interest rate reduction is also given if you enroll in auto-pay.
Please note that both discounts are included in the advertised rates of Citizens One.
WHAT ARE THE REPAYMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
Just like most financial institutions offering student loans, Citizens One also provides repayment options. In particular, the lending company offers three in-school payment options, which include:
- Full Deferent (No In-School Payments Required)
- Interest-Only Payments
- Full Payments (Both Interest and Principal)
Unfortunately, parent loans are not eligible for deferment while the student is in school. Meanwhile, a six-month grace period is provided for all private student loan borrowers.
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF A CITIZENS BANK STUDENT LOAN?
At this point in our Citizens Bank student loans review, we are going to share with you the benefits as well as the drawbacks we find with the Citizens One student loan program.
- Offers multi-year approval. Usually, student loan lenders require borrowers to fill out a new application every year for financial aid. With Citizens One though, after your freshman year, you may apply for several subsequent years in advance, which is really beneficial. Needless to say, it helps you save a lot of time, and also avoid hard credit inquiries. Citizens, however, conduct soft credit inquiry annually before they release any additional funds to make sure that you continue to meet their qualification.
- Co-signer release is available. Unlike other banks or financial institutions, Citizens offer co-signer release, which means after 36 consecutive on-time payments, a borrower can apply to free his or her co-signer of his or her obligations.
- Offers loyalty discount. For the bank’s loyalty discount, they provide a 0.25% interest rate decrease on the loan of customers who are eligible for it.
- Offers bar study and residency student loans. Not all lending companies provide these kinds of student loan types. That is why it is good knowing that Citizens One gas it. What’s even good about it is that Citizens One offers loans at rates lower than many personal loans out there.
- Allows international students to apply for a student loan. Not all bank or financial institutions in the country provides student loan program/s to international students. Fortunately, Citizens One does for as long as the borrowers do have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with good credit.
- Does not provide a flat in-school repayment option. Unfortunately, unlike many lenders out there, Citizens One does not offer a flat in-school repayment option. This usually applies to borrowers who cannot afford to pay interest-only payments, at the same time, do not want to defer repayment totally — instead of paying a small amount monthly (usually as low as $25 a month).
- Does not offer a pre-qualification process. For you to find out whether you qualify for a Citizens One student loan or not, you have to submit a full application, which means you will go through hard credit score. So, if you are in doubt, or if your credit score is not that good, you better look for other options instead.
- Not as techie as other lenders. Unfortunately, we find Citizens One overall website user experience a so-so. It’s old-fashioned, and unlike most lenders who use SMS, email, and chatbots, Citizens only offer via phone or in-person customer service.
- Only offers student loans for four-year, Title IV-eligible public and private institutions. To put it simply, if you are attending a two-year institution, including community colleges, or a for-profit school, you do not qualify for any student loan program the bank offers.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CITIZENS BANK STUDENT LOANS REVIEW
It’s nice knowing that Citizens Bank’s Citizens One is providing a number of student loan options – which include undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as allows parents to get a student loan for their kids’ education.
While it has its drawbacks, we have to say that overall, Citizens One student loans are worth a try. The benefits definitely overpower the downsides.
Have you decided yet?