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Citizens Review

Reviews 483
Citizens
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Citizens
Citizens
Poor
Reviews 483
Michael Graw
Sep. 14, 2022
3 min read
Michael Graw
Citizens Summary
Citizens is a national bank offering private student loans for undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical degree programs. International students can qualify with a US-based cosigner. You can choose your repayment plan, including whether you want to make interest-only payments or defer your payments. Citizens also offers multi-year loan approval, so you can get a new student loan each year of your program without a new application.

Pros

  • Flexible repayment plans
  • Multi-year loan approval
  • Loyalty discount for existing Citizens account holders

Cons

  • Rate not locked in for multi-year loan approval
  • Most branches are in the eastern US

Citizens at a glance

9.2
Editorial score

Online experience

Has learning resources, access to rates, mobile app
10.0

Customer services and support

Multiple ways of reaching lender, wide range of hours
8.0

Repayment flexibility

Offers multiple repayment plans- but no special repayment programs
8.0

Eligibility

Loans available to all credit types, income levels, and students
10.0

Variety of Loan Types

Offers all loan types
10.0

Citizens Citizens Visit Site

Overview

Citizens is a Rhode Island-based bank that has been in business since 1828 and has more than 1,000 branches across 11 states. The bank offers private students loans for degree-granting programs across the country, including undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical programs. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Suitable For?

Citizens is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time in school. Its student loans offer competitive interest rates, especially if you already have a Citizens account and qualify for a 0.25% rate discount. Loans are available for undergraduate and graduate students, including students in law school and medical school.

Citizens serves not only US citizens and residents but also international students with a US citizen or resident co-signer. Since the bank accepts cosigners and allows deferred payments on private student loans, it is suitable for students with little income while in school.

Loan Features

Here are a few key features of Citizens’ private student loans:

  • Multi-year approval: You can be approved for annual loans for up to 4 years, so you don’t need to reapply and undergo a hard credit check at the start of every new school year.
  • Flexible repayment plans: Citizens enables you to choose between making payments immediately, making interest-only payments, or deferring payments until after you graduate.
  • Cosigner release: You can remove a cosigner from your loan after 36 months of consecutive payments.
  • No prepayment penalty: Citizens doesn’t charge fees if you pay off your student loan early.
  • Rate discount: Existing Citizens account holders receive a 0.25% rate discount.

The Application Process

You can request a quote for a private student loan online. Getting a quote does not impact your credit score.

If you want to proceed, you can apply at Citizens online or in person at a bank branch. You will need to submit proof of residence, proof of income, and proof of your enrollment in an eligible degree program. If you have a cosigner, they will need to submit proof of residence and income. You and your cosigner will also need to undergo hard credit checks.

Eligibility Requirements

Citizens requires borrowers to be US citizens or residents. International students can also apply but must have a US citizen or resident cosigner. All applicants must be enrolled for at least half-time in a degree program and have no previous student loan defaults. 

Loan Rates

Citizens offers rates from 6.98% - 15.04% APR, and existing Citizens account holders receive a 0.25% rate discount. Your rate will depend on various factors, including your credit score, whether you have a cosigner, how much you need to borrow, and what repayment plan you select.

Repayment Terms

Borrowers have 3 options to repay student loans from Citizens. You can start making payments immediately, make only interest payments until after graduation, or defer all payments until after graduation. Citizens offers flexible repayment terms.

How Safe Is It?

Citizens has been in business for nearly 200 years and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The bank uses encryption and biometric tools to keep your online financial information secure.

Customer Service

Citizens offers customer support by phone, email, and live chat from 9am-4pm (ET), Monday-Friday. You can also visit one of the bank’s more than 1,000 branches to speak with a loan officer in person.

How Citizens Compares


CitizensCollege AveSoFi
APR6.98% - 15.04%
2.94%-12.99%2.99% to 10.66%
Minimum credit scoreN/A640None
Loan amounts$10,000-$350,000$1,000-Full cost of degree$5,000-Full cost of degree
Accepts cosigners YesYesYes
Suitable forInternational studentsStudents with good creditStudents who want flexible repayment options

 

Summary

Citizens offers private student loans with rates from 6.98% - 15.04% APR. This bank’s offering is unique in that it’s open to international students with a US citizen or resident cosigner. In addition, you can be approved for an annual loan for up to 4 years, so you don’t have to reapply at the start of every school year. Citizens offers a selection of repayment options and doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, and you can manage your loan online.

Methodology

This review was created using information from the Citizens website and the Better Business Bureau.

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Disclosures


Michael Graw
Written by
Michael Graw
Michael Graw is a Bellingham, Washington-based writer focusing on finance, tech, and science. His work has been featured in print magazines and high-impact websites. He writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎
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