Find the Best Student Loans for You
Citizens offers undergraduate, graduate and parent loans. The company also offers refinancing loans for both student and parent loans.
Citizens uses a soft credit pull to provide potential rates, payments and estimated savings, as well as multiple terms and payment options for potential borrowers. Citizens does not disclose minimum FICO credit score, minimum credit history or maximum debt-to-income ratio requirements for loan approval. Co-signers are accepted.
Citizens offers both fixed- and variable-rate student loans with terms ranging from five to 15 years.
You can apply for a loan from $1,000 to $350,000. For undergraduate and graduate degrees, the lifetime aggregate limit is $150,000, while MBA and law degrees cannot exceed $225,000. Loans for health care degrees have limits of either $180,000 or $350,000, depending on which degree you choose.
There are no application, origination or disbursement fees.
If you already have a Citizens account such as a checking account or existing student loan, you’ll get a 0.25-point loyalty discount on your interest rate. Borrowers who authorize automatic payments for their loans will get another 0.25 interest rate discount.
To qualify for a loan, you’ll need to fill out an online application. The company will determine your eligibility using information such as credit score, income, credit history and employment history.
While co-signers are not required, you may need one to qualify for a loan if you don’t have sufficient credit history.
If you’re planning to use the funds to study abroad, you’ll need to make sure the program is run through a U.S. college since Citizens will not disburse funds to schools outside of the U.S.
Citizens does not disclose a minimum credit score, as it bases its lending decision on multiple factors such as your credit score, credit history and debt-to-income ratio. The company has a minimum household income requirement of $12,000 per year for either the borrower or co-signer.
In some cases, the student loan application decision may be immediate or within three to five business days. But the average application process takes approximately two to four weeks.
Citizens student loan borrowers can decide whether to make payments while in school. Repayment options include:
- Interest-only payments while in school
- Full payments while in school
- Deferred payment, with no in-school payments required
Citizens does not disclose specific requirements or policies regarding forbearance or deferment due to financial hardship.
Borrowers can lower their student loan interest rate by 0.25 percentage point while enrolled in automatic payments and another 0.25 if they are customers of Citizens.
The company has a chat feature on its website that instantly connects you to a live representative as well as a phone hotline to speak with a live agent. Phone hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday and 8:30 to 5 on Saturday. The company also has an email question answering option where you can look up previously submitted questions and answers or ask your own question. Email questions typically receive answers in one business day.
U.S. News rated Citizens 4.3 stars out of 5 overall for its student loans. The median for lenders rated by U.S. News was 4.3.
Citizens has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is BBB-accredited.
In 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 26 student loan complaints about Citizens. The most common issues were related to:
- Dealing with the lender or servicer
- Struggling to repay the loan
Citizens provided a timely response to the CFPB for all issues.
- Four-year undergraduate or graduate students who want to go through the application process only once.
- International students with a U.S.-based co-signer.
- Students who don’t want to pay loan fees.