8 Things You Should Know About the Citizens Bank Student Loan Refinance Option

Written by: Matt Kuncaitis
Updated: 4/08/21

Are you looking to refinance your student loans? If you’re considering Citizens Bank’s student loan refinancing, read on as we explore everything you need to know about this option. 

Citizens Bank is part of the Citizens Financial Group, one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions. The company was founded in 1828 and is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. The institution offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, and companies in almost every industry.

Citizens Bank’s reliability and trust status earned from almost 200 years of service is one of its most attractive features. The bank has approximately 1,000 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking.

Is Citizens Bank Good for Refinancing Student Loans?

Citizens Bank may be the right lender for you, depending on your needs and financial situation. The bank offers refinancing for student loans and parent PLUS loans. Most private lenders offer refinancing to U.S. citizens or permanent residents with at least a bachelor’s degree, but Citizens Bank is more flexible on both fronts.

Citizens Bank extends its refinancing program to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens with a Social Security number. There’s one caveat, though: Resident aliens need a resident co-signer to complete the application. Citizens Bank is also one of a few lenders that refinances loans for students who didn’t graduate.

Follow along as we discuss what the bank offers, the eligibility requirements, the current interest rates, and borrower benefits. 

Eligibility

Citizens Bank has the following criteria for refinancing education loans:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or a resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security number and a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. 
  • If you are not at the age of majority in your state of residence, you need a co-signer. 
  • If you have an associate degree or no degree, you must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school.
  • Your student loans must be in repayment and you can’t be attending school.
  • You must have attended a school eligible to receive federal aid.
  • You must have a minimum gross annual income of $24,000. The amount can be a combined borrower’s and co-signer’s income. 
  • You must have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance.

When you refinance your student loans or parent loans with Citizens Bank, you will also be subject to a credit check and must disclose your monthly income. Citizens does not publish the minimum credit score and other factors needed for loan approval. Other than that, they have more flexible eligibility requirements compared to other lenders on the market.

Refinancing Minimums and Maximums

Citizens Bank requires a minimum of $10,000 in student loans to qualify for refinancing. They’ll refinance up to $300,000 for bachelor’s degree holders or below. For borrowers with graduate degrees, you can borrow up to $500,000 to pay off old loans and set up a new one with Citizens.

If you have an amount lower than $10,000 to refinance, you’ll have to find another lender with no minimum amount. Check out other private refinance lenders through CollegeFinance.com

Repayment Plans

When you refinance with Citizens Bank, you can choose to repay your loans within five, seven, 10, 15, or 20 years. You can check examples of repayment terms and the corresponding rates here

You may be interested to know that Citizens Bank offers repayment protections for borrowers experiencing financial hardship. Forbearance and deferment, where you can request to postpone your monthly payments, are allowed on a case-by-case basis.

Here are some of the cases where you may request to postpone your monthly payments:

  • Academic deferment: Postpone payments if you return to school at least half-time or return to school to obtain a graduate degree 
  • Military deferment: Postpone payments if you’re called on for active military duty

Citizens Bank does not provide additional information on what constitutes approval for forbearance or deferment. Instead, they would like borrowers to contact their loan servicer, Firstmark Services, when they need to postpone payments. Firstmark will then decide if forbearance or deferment can be granted depending on the borrower’s circumstances. 

Interest Rates

Fixed Interest Rate: 2.97%–9.15% APR

Variable Interest Rate: 1.99%–8.90% APR

Citizens Bank has competitive rates compared to other student loan lenders. The fixed rate ranges are calculated based on applicable terms, level of degree, and whether you have a co-signer. The variable rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) published in The Wall Street Journal every month. 

If you sign on with a variable rate loan, the rate you get will be based on the repayment terms, your academic degree, and whether you have a co-signer. Your interest rate, and consequently your monthly payments, will fluctuate throughout your repayment period with changes in the LIBOR rate.

If you’re looking to lower interest rates on your student loans, Citizens Bank accepts refinancing for loans previously consolidated into a single loan. Find out more about student loan consolidation here

Interest Rate Discounts

Citizens Bank offers incentives with their student refinance loans where you can potentially take a 0.50% interest rate reduction. You get a 0.25% loyalty discount if you or your co-signer have a Citizens Bank account — like savings, mortgage, or auto loans — at the time of application. You get another 0.25% discount if you sign up for automatic payments.

Note that Citizens Bank’s checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Co-Signer Policies

For student loan refinancing, Citizens Bank requires a co-signer if you are in the following situations:

  • You are a resident alien borrower with a valid U.S. Social Security number — you will need to apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer.
  • You are a student in the process of taking over a parent PLUS loan — to process parent PLUS refinancing, Citizens Bank requires that parent borrowers apply in their name first with the student as a co-signer. Then, the student can refinance on their own. 
  • You have not reached the age of majority in your state of residence when your loan was disbursed.

If you’re in a circumstance like the ones described above, you may not be eligible for the co-signer release. For all other borrowers, Citizens Bank allows applications for co-signer release after 36 consecutive on-time payments of the principal and interest. On-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. 

Here are Citizens Bank’s eligibility guidelines for co-signer release requests:

  • You must complete an application for release and show proof of income as part of the review. 
  • If you used deferment or forbearance, you need to make 36 consecutive payments after you start repayment to qualify for release. 
  • If your application for co-signer release is denied, you may not reapply for co-signer release again until at least one year from your last request. 

It’s also worth noting that Citizens Bank does not discharge a loan if a co-signer dies or becomes disabled. They do terminate a loan if the borrower dies or becomes disabled. However, for their Education Refinance Loan for Parents, the estate is held responsible for the debt.

Application Process

Check your personalized rate and savings quote by clicking the “Calculate My Rate” button and filling in your information. This doesn’t affect your credit since it’s only a soft credit pull. You won’t know your actual rate or if you qualify until you fill out an application and the bank does a hard credit check. 

If you decide to work with them, Citizens Bank promises that the loan application process is fast and easy. You only need to do these three steps:

  1. Apply from your computer or mobile device — adding a co-signer increases your chance of approval and getting the most favorable rate.
  2. Choose a fixed or variable rate, the loan term, and how and when you want to repay the debt.
  3. You and your co-signer (if applicable) will sign and accept your loan documents electronically.


Like most private student loan refinance lenders, Citizens Bank does not have any application or origination fees. They do not impose prepayment penalties or any other penalties for paying more than the minimum monthly payment or paying off the entire loan early. However, they do assess a 5% late fee for payments not made within 15 days of the due date.

Additional Borrower Benefits

Citizens Bank has a well-built mobile banking app that you can download through Google Play or the App Store. If you have the app, you can use the “Get My Rate” tool to check your interest rate estimates. Your co-signer, if you have one, can also use the tool separately to weigh your refinancing options. 

If you refinance with Citizens Bank, the app is a great place to check your loan account statements, send customer service requests via secured emails, and manage your loan payments, including setting up autopay. 

If you’re applying online, depending on where you live, you may be directed to the website for Citizens One. It’s the national lending division for Citizens Bank.

Explore the Best Student Loan Refinancing Options Today

Student loan refinancing with Citizens Bank or another lender gives you the ability to refinance one or more federal and private student loans into a single loan. You’ll get a new repayment term, potentially lowering your interest rate or monthly payment amount. You also combine your student loan debts into one monthly bill, which makes managing your payments an easier task. 

The status of reliability and trust that Citizens Bank has earned over its long years of operations is one of its best features. And if you’re an eligible resident alien borrower or you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, Citizens Bank is one of your best options for refinancing. 

Before you decide on a lender, compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best rate. Besides interest rates, you should consider each lender’s repayment options and whether they offer flexible borrower protections. 

If you decide to work with Citizens Bank, look for a creditworthy co-signer if you don’t have strong credit or don’t meet the income threshold to increase your chance of getting approved and qualifying for lower interest rates. 

At CollegeFinance.com, we can help you find the best refinancing options for your specific needs and financial situation. We offer comprehensive resources to help you understand the different loans available to you, learn more about online lenders, explore options on how you can pay for your education, and more.

Citizens Bank: Refinancing Student Loans FAQ

Can I Refinance My Student Loans With Citizens Bank?

Yes, Citizens Bank offers refinancing for any student loan debt you have. This includes Citizens Bank student loans, student loans from other private lenders, and federal loans like Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, graduate PLUS Loans, and Parent PLUS Loans. 

What Credit Score Do I Need for a Citizens Bank Student Loan?

Unfortunately, this information is not available because Citizens Bank does not publicize the minimum income and credit score required to be approved for refinancing. You can get an estimate of your personalized rate by clicking the “Calculate My Rate” button and filling in your information. Don’t worry. Checking won’t affect your credit since it’s only a soft credit pull.

Which Credit Bureau Does Citizens Bank Use?

Citizens Bank primarily pulls information from Equifax. If there is unverifiable information in a person’s Equifax credit file, they may request information from one of the other two major credit bureaus (Experian and TransUnion).