Student loan ratings
Student loan refinancing
Private student loan
The bottom line:
Citizens Bank is a traditional bank whose Rhode Island roots go back to 1828. Citizens Bank offers student loans and student loan refinancing. Its refinancing loan is best for financially stable borrowers who didn't graduate or who aren't U.S. citizens. Its private loan is best for international students and existing Citizens Bank customers.
Student loan refinancing review
Citizens Student Loan Refinance
Min. Credit Score
Does not disclose
- You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
- You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.
- Loyalty discount: Borrowers with a Citizens Bank account when they apply get an additional 0.25% interest rate discount.
- Estate is still responsible for loans refinanced by parents if the borrower dies.
Best for existing Citizens Bank customers or borrowers who didn't graduate or aren't U.S. citizens.
Citizens Bank offers two refinancing options: one for loans in the student's name, and one for loans in the parent's name. Both are good for existing Citizens customers, as the lender offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for borrowers who have a qualifying account with the bank.
Beyond that, refinancing through Citizens Bank is a solid option for students who are financially stable but didn't graduate, as well as non-U.S. citizens with a qualifying co-signer. It's less ideal if you want to take over your parents' loans. Citizens' process is more complex than with other lenders: Your parent needs to refinance first with you as a co-signer, then you can apply to refinance on your own.
Citizens bank STUDENT LOAN REFINANCING AT A GLANCE
Borrowers without a degree can refinance.
Offers personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
Loan qualifies for co-signer release after 36 months of on-time payments.
HOW Citizens bank COULD IMPROVE
Citizens Bank could improve its student loan refinance product by:
Disclosing minimum credit score and income requirements.
Allowing biweekly payments via autopay.
Citizens Bank student loan refinancing details
Before refinancing with Citizens Bank
Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer borrowers who are struggling to make payments.
If you aren’t eligible to refinance with Citizens Bank
If Citizens Bank denies your refinance application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or need a co-signer.
NerdWallet recommends prequalifying with multiple refinance lenders before you apply. This will let you know which lenders you may be eligible with, without affecting your credit.
Private student loan review
Citizens Private Student Loan
Min. Credit Score
Does not disclose
- Six-month grace period extension is available.
- Loyalty discount for existing Citizens Bank customers.
- Multiyear loan approval is available.
- You must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Best for existing Citizens Bank customers.
Citizens Bank private student loans are best for international students with a qualifying co-signer and those with an existing relationship with the bank. Citizens Bank offers a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount for applicants with a qualifying Citizens Bank account.
Citizens Bank is not a good option if you're attending a community college or taking a certificate course at a four-year school. Students must be pursuing a bachelor's degree or higher to qualify.
Citizens Bank offers multiyear approval for student loans. After freshman year, you can request loans for subsequent school years without you or your co-signer undergoing a hard credit check, which affects your credit. International students cannot receive multiyear approval.
Citizens Bank private student loan at a glance
No personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
International students can qualify with a co-signer.
Loan qualifies for co-signer release after 36 on-time payments.
How Citizens Bank could improve
Citizens Bank could improve its private student loans by offering:
Minimum credit score and income requirements.
Personalized rate estimates via a soft credit check.
Citizens Bank private student loan details
Before applying for a Citizens Bank student loan
Before taking out a Citizens Bank student loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal student loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s FAFSA Guide
Compare your private student loan options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, look at lenders’ repayment alternatives and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who struggle to make payments.
If you aren’t eligible for a Citizens Bank student loan
If Citizens Bank denies your student loan application, the lender will let you know why. Depending on the reason, you may want to consider other lenders or, if you haven’t already, try applying with a co-signer.
STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY
NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That's why NerdWallet’s student loan ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
Frequently asked questions
NerdWallet rates Citizens Bank as a four-star lender for private student loans based on more than 50 data points. Citizens is a good option if you have an existing relationship with the bank.
Citizens Bank says it takes an average of two to four weeks to get approved for a student loan. Citizens also offers multi-year loan approval to borrowers who qualify.
You can consolidate student loans with Citizens Bank. When you consolidate, or refinance, Citizens Bank pays off your old loans and issues you a new private student loan with new terms.