Education Refinance Loan FAQs

Find answers to your student loan refinance and consolidation questions

Use this page to get answers to our most frequently asked questions about refinancing or consolidating federal and private student loans. You’ll also find information on the application process for our Education Refinance Loan, how to use our online tools and what happens after you close on your loan. If you still have questions about student loan refinancing or the application process, give us a call! One of our Student Lending Specialists will be happy to assist you.

  • Common student loan refinance and consolidation questions

    • What is student loan refinancing?

      Student loan refinancing is the process of replacing an existing student loan with a new loan that has new terms, including a new interest rate, monthly payment amount or repayment length. Even if you have previously consolidated or refinanced student loans, you may be able to lower your interest rate and/or your monthly payment by refinancing with us.

    • What is student loan consolidation?

      For people with multiple student loans, consolidation can help simplify payments by combining these separate loans into one. When you use an Education Refinance Loan, Citizens Bank will combine these separate loans into a new, single loan. This new loan will have new terms, such as a new monthly payment amount, interest rate and repayment length. Student loan consolidation is for people carrying multiple student loans with separate due dates, payment amounts and interest rates. By combining these many loans into one, you can simplify your loan payments and make it easier to fit student loan repayment into your budget.

      Federal loan consolidation is common, but only recently have students been able to consolidate their federal and private loans together. If you need to simplify your student loan payment process, the Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan® gives you the option of consolidating your federal and private loans together and receive a new term, a new repayment length and a new interest rate. Unlike federal loan consolidation where your new interest rate is based on a weighted average of each loan’s rate, Citizens Bank will base your new interest rate on the market and your credit score.

      If you have questions about whether student loan consolidation is right for you, speak with one of our Student Lending Specialists.

    • How does student loan refinancing work?

      The application process, including credit approval, is similar to what you experienced when you applied for your existing student loans. The primary difference is that you need to submit details on the existing student loans you’re currently paying, and part of our review will be to verify the student loan information with your existing loan servicers and determine a payoff amount for those loans. If you are approved for a refinance loan, we will use the proceeds of your new loan to pay off your prior loans. For more information about student loan refinancing, visit our Refinance Resources page.

    • Can you consolidate federal and private student loans?

      When you apply for an Education Refinance Loan through Citizens Bank, you can include any student loan debt that was taken out in your name and used to finance education (for example: the Citizens Bank Student Loan™ for both undergraduate and graduate students, the Citizens Bank Student Loan™ for Parents, private student loans from other lenders or federal loans like ParentPLUS, GradPLUS or Stafford loans could be consolidated together). You cannot include any other debt (such as credit card or mortgage debt), even if it was used to pay education expenses. Additionally, loans taken out by parents cannot be consolidated with loans taken out by students. Our application process will review the debt you wish to consolidate to ensure it is eligible to be refinanced. You may even be able to refinance student loan debt you previously consolidated into a single loan.

    • How much can I borrow with the Education Refinance Loan?

      Minimum Loan Amount — $10,000

      Maximum Loan Amount

      • $90,000 (bachelor’s degrees and below)
      • $225,000 (graduate and doctoral degrees, including MBA)
      • $300,000 (professional degrees such as dental, medical and law)
    • Am I eligible to refinance?

      • The student loans you refinance must be in repayment and you cannot currently be attending school. If you are currently enrolled in school and are seeking additional financing, please consider the Citizens Bank Student Loan.
      • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number, residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
      • You must have at least $10,000 in student loans to refinance.
      • Borrowers with a verified bachelor’s degree must have made at least three (3) full on-time payments on all the loans you wish to refinance and may need to provide proof of graduation.
      • Federal loans currently on an income driven repayment plan are not eligible to refinance. Ineligible Federal repayment programs include: Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE Plan), Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE Plan), Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR Plan), and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR Plan).
      • Borrowers with a verified graduate degree do not have a minimum payment requirement and may apply while in their grace period.
      • If you have not earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a federally accredited college or university, you must have made at least twelve (12) full on-time payments on all the loans you wish to refinance.

      For more information about eligibility requirements, speak to a Student Lending Specialist.

    • How do I decide if refinancing is the right decision for me?

      While refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans is often a smart decision, it is not the right decision for everyone. Our informational guide, “Should I Refinance My Student Loans?” can help you evaluate whether the Education Refinance Loan is right for you. You can also use our refinance calculator to estimate your potential savings and see how the Education Refinance Loan can help you better manage and take control of your student loan debt.

    • Do I need to have graduated to qualify?

      No, graduation is not a requirement to apply for the Education Refinance Loan. However, you must not currently be in school and must be making payments on the student loans you wish to refinance. Additionally, if you did not graduate, you will need to have made at least 12 consecutive, on-time student loan payments before you apply.

    • How good must my credit be to be eligible?

      You’ve worked hard to achieve your success. Now it’s time to take smart steps so you can have more control over your student debt and make your hard-earned money go farther. If you meet these criteria, an Education Refinance Loan from Citizens Bank may be the right choice for you.

      • You will need to present a reasonably strong credit history, which is derived from your credit score, along with a minimum annual income (for the borrower and co-signer combined) of $24,000.
      • Although a co-signer is not required, if you have little or no credit history we strongly encourage you to apply with a qualified co-signer to increase your chances of being approved. A qualified co-signer can also help you secure a lower interest rate.
    • Will this loan application impact my credit score?

      The Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan is a credit-based loan which will be seen as an inquiry on your credit report.

    • Do you offer cosigner release for the Education Refinance Loan?

      Borrowers may apply for cosigner release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. When applying for cosigner release, a credit review will be performed to ensure the borrower meets certain credit and eligibility guidelines for holding the loan on their own. For the purpose of cosigner release, on-time payments are defined as being made within 15 days of their due date. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Those interested can request an application for release by calling our trusted servicing partner, Firstmark Services, at 866-259-3767.

    • What is the difference between a variable and a fixed rate loan?

      Initially, a variable rate loan may be lower than a fixed rate. Over time, the variable rate can change, up or down, and your monthly payment will change with it.

      A fixed rate loan remains the same for the life of your loan, and you’ll owe the same monthly payment every month.

    • Do you offer interest rate reductions?

      Yes, Citizens Bank offers our borrowers interest rate reductions1. Please see the Education Refinance Loan page for details around our current offers.

  • Application process

    • What information will I need to complete my application?

      Both the borrower and co-signer may need to submit the following:

      • Social Security Number
      • Gross monthly income
      • Employer name, phone number and length of employment (if applicable)
      • Monthly rent or mortgage payment (if applicable)
      • The current lender/servicer of your existing student loans, full account number of those loans, current loan balances, your monthly payment, the next payment due date and the interest rate and type. Your most recent monthly billing statement will have all of this information.

      For more information, review our Refinance Application Checklist.

    • What are the steps to getting an Education Refinance Loan?

      After you apply, here are the steps to getting your loan:

      1. Decision
        We will validate your income and existing student loans and run a credit check. Then, we will notify you whether you’re approved for a refinance loan.
      2. Term Selection
        If approved,* we’ll outline the loan options you qualify for, and you’ll choose a fixed or variable interest rate, as well as the length of your loan term.
      3. Closing
        You (and your co-signer, if applicable) must accept the loan terms and sign the promissory note. You’ll receive a Final Disclosure that confirms your loan terms and provides your Right to Cancel notice.
      4. Old Loans Paid Off
        Citizens Bank will pay off the federal and/or private student loans you’re consolidating and refinancing.
      5. New Loan Begins
        You begin repaying your Education Refinance Loan right away. If you decide to return to school after taking this loan, you can defer repayment.

      *Approval and rates for a student loan refinance will depend on the applicant's credit score. Please bear in mind, rates and terms available may not be better than your original loan, and lower monthly payments may cause you to pay more in interest over the extended life of the loan.

    • If I need to provide proof of residency or Social Security number, what documents can I use?

      To apply for the Education Refinance Loan, borrowers and co-signers, if applicable, must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with valid Social Security numbers. If you are a U.S. citizen, you may need to provide a copy of your Social Security card, your birth certificate or your passport. If you are a permanent resident, you may be asked to provide proof of residency in the form of your current U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-551 (Resident Alien Card). If you do not have yours available, a temporary WSCIS Form I-551, a passport stamped "Temporary 551" or Form I-90 (Application to Replace Alien Registration Card) may be used.

    • Will I need to provide additional documents after I submit my application?

      When we review your application, we try to verify both your identity and the income you report on your application through an automated process. If we are unable to verify the information you provide on our own, we will ask you for documents to help us make our decision. All applicants for the Education Refinance Loan will be asked to provide a recent billing statement for each loan they list to refinance. This will help us finalize both the amount to refinance and the address to send payments to your prior lenders.

    • What do I need to provide for income verification

      It depends on the type of income you list on your application. See the table below for the most common kinds of income and the verifying documents we’ll need.

      Employment income received through traditional paychecks Two most recent pay stubs dated within 60 days of when you submitted your application.
      Self-employment/ family business income If you are self-employed or employed by a member of your family, provide either:
      • Your two most recent federal tax returns;
        or
      • IRS Form 4506-T (This form authorizes us to obtain income tax returns on your behalf.)
      Social Security benefits, disability, retirement/pension, non-taxable interest income A copy of any of the applicable documents below:
      • Award letter including the frequency and amount of the income;
      • Policy agreements;
      • Account statements;
      • Your most recent 1099R;
      • Your most recent federal tax return;
        or
      • IRS Form 4506-T (This form authorizes us to obtain income tax returns on your behalf.)
      Investment income A current asset statement to show proof of ownership plus a copy of one of the following:
      • Your most recent federal tax return;
      • A one-year income history shown through account statements;
        or
      • IRS Form 4506-T (This form authorizes us to obtain income tax returns on your behalf.)
      Income from a new job If you have not yet started your job but want to use that income in your application, you must be scheduled to start employment before your first payment is due. Please provide:
      • An executed offer/acceptance letter or employment contract that includes your new employment and salary
      Child support, alimony or separate maintenance A copy of either:
      • A full, executed divorce decree indicating the amount and schedule of payments;
        or
      • A written legal agreement or court decree describing the payment terms

      If you don’t see the income you listed on your application in the table above or are unable to provide the requested documents, please contact us and we’ll help you determine how we can verify your income.

    • I’m trying to access my online application and am not sure which option to choose. How do I get to the right place?

      In order to access your application you will need to login to your user account. If you do not already have a user account, you can create one from our website (www.citizensstudentloans.com) by hovering your mouse over ‘Log In’ and selecting ‘Create an Account’ from the drop-down menu. Once logged in you will be able to view your loan status and complete required steps such as uploading requested documents and e-signing your promissory note.

      Cosigners who need to submit their portion of the application should click on ‘Access an Existing Application’ and select ‘Cosign an Application’ from the drop-down menu.

      Borrowers who need to complete an application a co-signer started should click on ‘Access an Existing Application’ and select ‘Add My Information to an Application the Cosigner has Started’ from the drop-down menu.

      If you are having trouble accessing your application or user account, please contact our Student Lending Specialists at 888-333-0128.

    • How do I sign my promissory note?

      You may choose to e-sign or physically sign your student loan application and promissory note.

      E-signing: This must be done through our application portal, not through the Sign and Certify function on Adobe Acrobat products. You must first review and agree to the Electronic Documents Consent. Then, under your Loan Documents Checklist, you can choose to complete your signature on the application and promissory note. You will be asked to complete four steps: 1) review your application/promissory note, 2) enter and validate the e-sign code found on the bottom of the last page of the note, 3) consent to the terms of the note and 4) consent to verify identity using the information found on your credit report.

      After you select ‘Continue,’ you will be asked to answer four questions related to your credit report. These questions are generated by Equifax, a credit reporting agency, and relate to items in your personal credit profile. These questions allow us to verify your identify and protect you from fraud.

      Physically Signing: If you choose to physically sign your note, attach or bring with you recent documentation verifying your name and physical address. Examples of such a document include a bank statement, or a utility bill along with a W2 or the first two pages of your 1040 verifying your name, address and SSN. If you do not file taxes or receive W2s but can be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return, we will accept the 1040 of the individual who claims you as a dependent.

    • Can I email my required documents?

      For fastest processing, we strongly recommend that you upload your required documents directly to your loan by logging in to your user account and reviewing the status of your loan application. Once logged in, select the link in the ‘STATUS’ column on the right side of the screen to access your ‘Loan Summary.’ On the lower half of the ‘Loan Summary’ page under ‘Required Documents’ you can click the ‘Upload Documents’ link to access the upload feature.

    • Where do I mail my documents?

      • Via Standard Mail:
        Education Finance
        P.O. Box 42124
        Mailstop RTL295
        Providence, RI 02940
      • Via Overnight Mail: Education Finance
        480 Jefferson Boulevard
        Mailstop: RJE295
        Warwick, RI 02886
    • What happens after I complete my application?

      We’ll validate your income and the existing student loans you want to refinance, then we’ll notify you of a credit decision. If you’re approved, you will choose your loan terms from the options you qualify for, including how many years you have to pay back the loan and your interest rate. If you decide to accept the loan, you will be required to:

      • Acknowledge and accept the terms of our offer.
      • You and your co-signer, if applicable, will be required to review and sign your Application and Promissory Note.

      Before we deliver your refinance loan proceeds to your prior lenders, we’ll provide you with (1) a Final Disclosure that will confirm the terms of the refinance loan and (2) a Right to Cancel notice that explains you have at least 3 business days to cancel your refinance loan without penalty along with instructions on how to do so.

    • What number do I call if I have questions?

      You can call 1-877-405-2358 for personalized assistance.

  • After your Education Refinance Loan is completed and signed

    • When do I stop making payments on the loans that I am refinancing?

      You should continue making payments on your existing loans until the entire refinancing process is complete and you have confirmed with your existing lender that the loan has been paid in full. Refinancing loans can take 1-2 billing cycles, so you will want to continue making your regularly scheduled payments at least until you receive your first billing statement from us. You should then confirm with your prior lenders that your prior student loans have been paid in full and that no further payments are required.

      Depending on when your prior lender credits our payment to your prior loans, the amount you owe could change before our payment is credited, leaving you with a small balance with your prior lenders. If you have a remaining balance with a lender after our payoff has been processed, you would need to make payments until the loan is paid-in-full to avoid late fees or other collection efforts by your prior lenders. Citizens Bank asks lenders to return overages to us so that we can apply them as a principal credit to your account; however, your prior lenders may have different policies related to overpayments so you should reach out to those lenders if you have questions.

    • When do I start making payments on my Education Refinance Loan?

      Principal and interest payments will begin within 21-50 days after your loans have been refinanced. We will notify you in advance so that you have plenty of time to make your first payment on time.

    • Is there any penalty for prepaying my Education Refinance Loan?

      No, there is no prepayment penalty or any other penalty for paying more than the minimum monthly payment or for paying off the entire loan early.

    • How do I manage my new loan?

      Our servicing partner, Firstmark Services, offers online access to manage your new Education Refinance Loan. Visit Manage Your Student Loan to sign up for automatic payment, make payments and do things like change your address, if necessary, to manage your loan.

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Call a Student Lending Specialist
1-877-405-2262

How do I apply?

Applying to refinance or consolidate your student loans is easy.
You provide:



Completed Application

Filled out by you and, if applicable, your co-signer. Use our refinance application checklist to make sure you have everything you need along the way.

Existing Student Loan Information

Billing statements for the loans you wish to refinance.

Income & Expense Information

Details on your employment and monthly housing payments, as well as two recent pay stubs or other proof of income.

 
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