Information on College Loans for Parents

Starting the search for your child’s college funding? We can help. Read on to learn the basics of making college happen.

Deciphering College Loans for Parents

While the student loan process can seem complicated at first, the good news is two-fold: there are plenty of sources of help for parents, and the entire process is made more manageable by the fact that it all begins with the FAFSA application. That step-by-step process begins the search for financial aid, which for most students also includes private loans from banks or credit unions.

Keep in mind, students can apply for all loans except those designed for parents of dependent undergrads such as the Citizens Bank Student Loan™ for Parents. Parents can also act as a co-signer for student loans such as our Citizens Bank Student Loan. Because private student loans are awarded on the basis of one’s credit history and few undergraduate students have any real credit history to speak of, this can be helpful. As a co-signer, a parent’s high credit score helps their child secure better student loan terms. And after a relatively brief period of on-time payments, you can be released from that responsibility.1


Establishing and maintaining a strong credit reputation is the key to landing affordable private student loans, since these loans are based not on financial need but the borrower’s credit history. While most students don’t have a sufficient credit history to qualify for student loans on their own, with the help of a co-signer (typically a parent or guardian) they can begin building their own good credit by repaying their student loans on time. Additionally, if you have a high credit score, you may be better qualified to obtain private parent loans for college such as our Citizens Bank Student Loan for Parents.

What you need to know as a student loan co-signer.

Cosigning a loan means you have a legal obligation to repay the debt in the event the primary signatory cannot or will not. Late payments will affect the credit histories of both parties on the loan. Your solid credit history as a parental co-signer means lower interest rates and better terms for your child’s student loan. That in turn means lower total borrowing over the life of the loan.

But by repaying those loans, your child helps begin establishing their own credit history. And at Citizens Bank, co-signers are eligible to be released from their obligations once a loan has been paid on time for 36 consecutive months1.

FAQs and FAFSA Tips

Why choose Citizens Bank as your student loan lender?
Citizens Bank has established a track record of deep credibility and broad expertise over more than 25 years in the student loan business. Over that time, it has developed a network of close relationships with college financial aid offices and other student financial aid professionals, which greatly benefits our borrowers.

What happens when I have more than one child in college at the same time?
Under federal financial aid formulas, you’ll qualify for additional financial aid when you have more than one child attending college at once. Just be sure to note on your FAFSA that you have multiple college students. In addition, many colleges and universities offer tuition discounts for more than one child per family.

What should I do when I’ve had changes in my financial situation?
Simply notify your school of any substantial change in your family’s financial situation since you last provided your financial information. You may be eligible for some form of additional financial assistance.

Is there a loan I can take out to help finance my child’s college education?
Parents can apply for the Citizens Bank Student Loan for Parents, the proceeds of which can be used to cover the gap between the actual cost of college and the amount available from federal student loans and family savings.

The FAFSA asks for information on parents’ income. Since we’re divorced, whose information should we use?
You should use the income of the custodial parent. In the case of joint custody, list the income of the parent with whom the student lived the most over the previous twelve months. In addition, if that parent is remarried, you must include his or her spouse's income on the FAFSA form.

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