Custom Choice Powered by Cognition Financial Review: Private Student Loans
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The bottom line:
Custom Choice student loans are best for upperclassmen who are confident they can take advantage of the 2% Grad Reward.
Pros & Cons
You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
No late fees.
Principal reduction of 2% if you graduate.
Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.
Doesn't apply extra payments to the principal balance by default.
Forbearance program is less generous than others.
Compare to Other Lenders
Min. credit score
Min. credit score
Min. credit score
Custom Choice Loans were previously offered through a partnership between SunTrust Bank and Cognition Financial. When SunTrust ended its student loan program, Cognition Financial partnered with Citizens Bank to offer new loans as of July 2020.
Custom Choice Loans are best for students at four-year universities who are confident they can take advantage of the Grad Reward. Borrowers receive a 2% principal reduction with proof of graduation.
Custom Choice Loans may also be a good fit for borrowers with for borrowers with strong credit, low income and low debt.
CUSTOM CHOICE PRIVATE STUDENT LOANS AT A GLANCE
No late payment fees.
Borrowers have the option of making interest-only, fixed $25 or full payments during school or deferring payment until graduation.
Grace period can be extended up to six months.
HOW CUSTOM CHOICE COULD IMPROVE
Offer forbearance longer than 12 months.
Offer loans to students enrolled at community colleges.
Custom Choice private student loan details
Before applying for a Custom Choice student loan
Before taking out a Custom Choice Loan or any other private student loan, exhaust your federal loan options first. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, to apply.
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 Custom Choice student loan
If Custom Choice 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.
If you don’t have access to a co-signer or still aren’t eligible with one, consider lenders that don’t require co-signers or specialize in bad or no credit student loans.
STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY
Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.
We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.
The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.
Read more about our ratings methodologies for student loans and our editorial guidelines.