13 Strategies to Help You Pay for College

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Going to college might be expensive, but it’s still one of the best ways to get a leg up on your financial future. College graduates earn nearly 50% higher wages than workers with only a high school diploma, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

But figuring out how to pay for college can be difficult. After all, 70% of colleges in the U.S. are unaffordable to most students.

If you want to pay for a higher education but aren’t sure how to make it work, we’ve got your back. Here are several strategies you can use to pay for college:

1. Save money ahead of time in a 529 plan

Saving up is one of the best ways to pay for college. While you can save money using a regular savings account or taxable investment account, a 529 plan can help you gain a tax benefit as you set money aside for school.

“Many families use 529s to pay for school,” said Ryan Boggs, an investment adviser representative with FourStar Wealth Advisors. “The monies in a 529 can be used tax-free if they’re for qualified education expenses.”

The longer you have to save up, the better off you’ll be. I started putting money into a 529 for my son almost 10 years ago. Today, there’s almost enough money in his account to pay for two years of college. And he won’t graduate high school for another three years.

Boggs pointed out that not everyone starts this early, so it’s important to look for multiple savings strategies. He also warned that, because 529s rely heavily on stock market returns, it’s important to have backup savings in case of a downturn before college.

There are times when withdrawals from a 529 count as part of a student’s income when filling out the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). That said, it can make sense to put off using money from a 529 account until later in the student’s college career.

Withdrawals during freshman and sophomore years can affect financial aid awards. Run the numbers to see if it makes sense to use funding from other sources during the first two years of college.

2. Apply for scholarships

“Scholarships are great ways to pay for college because they don’t require the money to be paid back,” said Boggs. “You do have to qualify for scholarships, but there are many websites, including one called Scholly, that help students find scholarships that fit their specific qualifications.”

Depending on your situation, you might be able to qualify for scholarships aimed at women, people of color, and even the LGBTQ community. Check with local companies, banks, and service organizations for scholarships as well.

No scholarship is too small. I applied for several scholarships as I prepared to attend school. Even if you get $2,500 from your local credit union or $1,000 from the rotary club, that’s money you don’t have to worry about later.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships at your choice schools. I attended a scholarship weekend for Southern Utah University and came away with a four-year full-tuition offer.

Keep applying for scholarships even while you’re in college. You can get funding to help cover books, housing, and other costs even as a sophomore or junior.

3. Concurrent enrollment

Some states allow students to earn college credit for classes taken during high school. These classes are usually taught to a higher standard and credit is issued through a public university. Depending on where you live, the credits earned in this manner can be transferred to state schools.

For example, my son is taking a high school Spanish class that qualifies for concurrent enrollment through the University of Idaho. However, he plans to attend the College of Eastern Idaho. Because of the transfer agreements among Idaho schools, my son’s Spanish credits can be transferred from the University of Idaho to the College of Eastern Idaho.

In states like Idaho, it’s possible to complete dual enrollment credits free of charge. Other states, though, charge for credits. However, you might be able to get a discount on credits — as much as 50% off or more — if you’re a high school student working on your college degree.

4. Test out of some of your classes

Consider testing out of some of your classes. I was able to reduce the number of classes I took in college by using my Advanced Placement (AP) test scores.

AP classes are taken during high school. When you pass the test associated with the class, some schools will allow you to skip some general education courses, allowing you to get through college faster.

In addition to AP tests, you can also take advantage of the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

“More than 2,900 public colleges and universities in the United States will give students credit for what they already know if they pass a CLEP test,” said Steve Klinsky, the founder of Modern States Education Alliance, a philanthropic organization dedicated to making a college degree more affordable.

Klinsky said that Modern States offers tuition-free courses that can help you pass a CLEP test. The organization’s first initiative is to help students earn a full year of college credits without the cost of tuition or books.

5. Consider a less-expensive school

Even though I was accepted into private universities, I ended up choosing a four-year state school for my undergraduate degree. My scholarship money went further at the public college than it would have at a private school.

This chart from the College Board illustrates how costs vary among different institutions:

paying for college

Image credit: The College Board

If I’d started at a community college, I might’ve saved even more money while completing my education.

“Community colleges are the Rodney Dangerfield of higher education. They don’t get any respect,” said Brian Meiggs, the founder of financial education website My Millennial Guide. “This is unfortunate because attending one of these schools is an incredible way to knock out your first two years of college for cheap — and possibly for free.”

Meiggs pointed out that community college savings on tuition and fees aren’t the only perk. “There are many other benefits you should check out, such as … living at home, flexible classes, personalized attention, and transfer agreements,” he said.

He recommended starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year school as a junior. In the end, an expensive big-name college might not help anyway.

“Most employers today aren’t as focused on which university you graduate from,” said Adrian Ridner, the CEO and co-founder of Study.com, a website aimed at helping students navigate their education choices. “Employers care more about your actual degree and ability to learn.”

Ridner recommended refining skills marketable in your future career, rather than worrying about paying for an expensive university.

6. Federal student aid

In many cases, it’s difficult to cover all of your college expenses with savings and scholarships, even if you choose a low-cost school. This is where federal student aid comes in.

When you fill out the FAFSA, your information is used to determine what types of government aid you qualify for when paying for college. You might even be able to receive a grant to help you pay for school.

Federal work-study is another program that can help you with expenses. With this program, you’re guaranteed access to a job — usually on campus — that helps you keep up with college costs.

Even if you aren’t eligible for government grants or federal work-study, you can still get help in the form of loans. With federal student loans, you don’t have to worry about a credit check or getting a cosigner. For those with greater need, the government might even pay your interest while you attend college.

Federal student loans also come with repayment options that can cap your monthly bill at a percentage of your discretionary income.

When you’re trying to decide how to pay for college, federal student aid can be a big help. Your school will send you a letter with information about what’s available to you after getting a copy of your FAFSA.

7. Private student loans

Sometimes private student loans can bridge a college funding gap left after other options have been exhausted. Not only that, but some private education loans come with lower interest rates than federal student loans. There are times it makes sense to get private funding instead of using government loans.

However, it’s important to realize that you’ll have to meet credit requirements set by the private lender. You might even need a cosigner to qualify.

Carefully consider whether private loans should be part of your plan to pay for college. These loans don’t come with the same protections as federal loans, so you could end up missing out on benefits like income-driven repayment.

8. Parent PLUS Loans

Another option is to see if your parents will borrow for your education. Parent PLUS Loans are offered by the federal government and can be a way for you to get a little extra money for your education.

With these loans, your parents are responsible for repaying the debt. Parents need to go through a credit check with the government to qualify. After you finish school, you might be able to refinance the Parent PLUS Loans in your name to take over the responsibility.

9. Income-share agreements

One of the more recent trends in paying for college is the income-share agreement (ISA).

“With an ISA, a student receives funds to pay for college and in return agrees to pay a percentage of future income for a fixed period of time,” said Kristen Moon, an independent college counselor and founder of Moon Prep, a service that helps students apply for school. “Unlike a traditional loan, there’s zero interest and zero balance.”

Some schools, such as Purdue University, help students set up ISAs as a form of student aid. However, there are also websites, such as Paytronage, that match students with investors willing to front them the money to complete a degree.

Depending on the situation, ISAs can be beneficial. Moon pointed out that ISAs eliminate the chance of default and that many agreements are capped at 10% or 15% of income, ensuring affordable payments.

The downside, though, is that students could end up paying more, especially if they start a career with a high-paying job.

For example, say you sign an ISA for eight years and 15% of your income. If you graduate and earn $50,000 a year, you’ll repay your investor $60,000.

Compare that to a situation where you might have only borrowed $30,000 in school loans. Even with 4.45% interest, repaying $30,000 over the course of 10 years results in a total repayment of $37,223, according to our student loan payment calculator.

Be sure to do the math before signing an ISA. And research your options. “Terms vary for each ISA, so it’s important to be well-informed before agreeing to sign away a portion of your income for a few years,” Moon said.

10. Get a job

A part-time job can be a great way to help pay for expenses related to attending college. I worked part time in the university cafeteria for two years. It provided me with money to pay for some of my living expenses. Plus, after my shift, I was given a free meal, which saved me about $50 a week.

Whether you work on or off campus, having that income can help you pay for your education and potentially reduce what you need to borrow.

Additionally, you can work extra hours over the summer to earn money to put toward the coming semester. Start a side hustle if you want more flexibility in your work schedule but still want to earn money to help pay for college.

11. Tuition reimbursement

Instead of paying for your education on your own, get a little help from your employer. According to CNBC, several companies, such as Chipotle, Disney, Starbucks, and Wells Fargo, are willing to help you pay for your education.

You don’t have to pay for college all on your own. You can earn money and get reimbursed for some of your tuition bills. Check with your human resources department to find out how to apply. Although you likely won’t have the entire cost covered, any help is worth having.

12. Student research positions

Neel Somani, a junior at UC Berkeley, works as an undergraduate researcher to help cover his college expenses. He’s worked on several projects and been paid for them. Not only does research pay some of the bills, but it also provides real-world experience that can help students land jobs after graduation.

“My school has an undergraduate research apprentice program, which often specifies if positions are paid,” Somani said.

He recommended looking for research positions in an area you have experience. Somani also approached one of his professors and asked about other teachers looking for undergraduate researchers.

13. Internships

Like research positions, internships can be a way to build some real-world cred while in school. Some internships are paid, helping you cover your costs. However, paid internships can be hard to get, depending on your field.

Visit your school’s career center for information about available paid internships. It’s also possible to find a paid internship by networking with family and friends.

How to pay for college using multiple strategies

Chances are, with the cost of college, you’ll need to use more than one tactic to pay for school. I funded my undergraduate education by attending a low-cost school and finding scholarships, student loans, and part-time work.

Carefully research the cost of attendance at the school of your choice and put together a plan that allows you to meet those costs as efficiently as possible.

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LenderVariable APREligibility 
1 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

  1. All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
  2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7% variable Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 96 monthly payments of $179.28 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $17,211.20. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
  3. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Information advertised as valid as of 07/1/2018. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

2 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. At least a 3.0 GPA or equivalent qualifies for a one-time cash-reward of 1% of the loan amount of each new Discover student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  2. View Terms and Conditions at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/AutoDebitReward.

3 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB) or Turnstile Capital Management, LLC (TCM), which are not affiliated entities. Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. All loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Other terms and conditions apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of TCM and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Competitive rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval. (Rates are effective as of 8/01/2018 and include a 0.25% discount applied when a borrower in repayment elects automatic debit payments via their personal checking account.)
    Ascent Tuition: Variable rate loans are based on a margin between 2.00% and 11.00% plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 2.069%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 3.82% – 12.82%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 5.54% and 14.59%.
    Ascent Independent: Variable rate loans are based on a margin between 4.00% and 12.50% plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 2.069%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 5.49% and 12.77%. Fixed rate loans have an APR range between 7.06% and 13.72%.
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
  3. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment. Click here for a Tuition repayment example.
  4. Flexible repayment plans may be offered with up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount of $2,000. Ascent borrowers who choose a fixed rate option may ONLY select a loan term of five (5) or twelve (12) years (60 or 144 months, respectively). For certain loans with low balances the minimum monthly payment amount may cause the loan amortization schedule to be less than the selected term. Click here for Ascent Tuition cosigned loan current rates and repayment examples.
  5. Interest rate reduction of 0.25% for enrollment in automatic debit applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner signs up for automatic payments and the regularly scheduled, current amount due (including full, flat, or interest only payments, as applicable) is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of In-School, Deferment, Grace or Forbearance. If you have two (2) returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the 0.25% interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments in order to receive the 0.25% interest rate reduction.
  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
  7. Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on a number of factors, including: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
  8. The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, click here for details.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.


* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

5 Important Disclosures for PNC.

PNC Disclosures

  1. Interest will continue to accrue during periods of deferment. You will receive quarterly interest statements during this deferment period. Paying the interest as it accrues each quarter will save you money over the repayment term of the loan because any accrued interest that you do not pay will be added to the principal balance at the end of the deferment period.
  2. If automatic payment is discontinued, you will no longer receive an automatic payment discount. A federal regulation limits the number of transfers that may be made from a savings or money market account. Please contact your financial institution for more information on transfer limitations on savings accounts.
  3. A request to release a co-signer requires that you have made forty-eight (48) consecutive timely payments with no periods of forbearance or deferment within the forty-eight (48) month timeframe. “Timely payment” means each payment is made no later than the 15th day after the scheduled due date of the payment. “Consecutive payment” means the minimum monthly payment must be made for forty-eight (48) months straight without any interruption. To qualify for a co-signer release, the borrower must submit a request, meet the consecutive, timely payment requirements, provide proof of income and pass a credit check.

PNC Bank is one of the nation’s largest education loan providers. For over 40 years, PNC has been committed to helping students and their families make possible the adventure of college.


6 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.

SunTrust Disclosures

Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.

Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.

SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Interest rates and APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) depend upon (a) the student’s and cosigner’s (if applicable) credit histories, (b) the repayment option and repayment term selected, (c) the requested loan amount and (4) other information provided on the online loan application. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate applicable to your loan. Rates and terms effective for applications received on or after 8/01/2018. The current variable APRs for the program range from 3.876% APR to 12.875% APR and the current fixed APRs for the program range from 5.351% APR to 14.051% APR (the low APRs within these ranges assume a 7-year $10,000 loan, with two disbursements and no deferment; the high APRs within these ranges assume a 15-year $10,000 loan with two disbursements). The variable interest rate for each calendar month is calculated by adding the current One-month LIBOR index to your margin. LIBOR stands for London Interbank Offered Rate. The One-month LIBOR is published in the Money Rates section of The Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition). The One-month LIBOR index is captured on the 25th day of the immediately preceding calendar month (or if the 25th is not a business day, the next business day thereafter), and is rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of one percent. The current One-month LIBOR index is 2.125% on 8/01/2018. The variable interest rate will increase or decrease if the One-month LIBOR index changes. The fixed rate assigned to a loan will never change except as required by law or if you request and qualify for the auto pay discount.
  2. Any applicant who applies for a loan the month of, the month prior to, or the month after the student’s graduation date, as stated on the application or certified by the school, will only be offered the Immediate Repayment option. The student must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for the partial interest, fully deferred and interest only repayment options unless the loan is being used for a past due balance and the student is out of school. With the Full Deferment option, payments may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an approved school and during the six month grace period after graduation or dropping below half-time status, but the total initial deferment period, including the grace period, may not exceed 66 months from the first disbursement date. The Partial Interest Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) is only available on loans of $5,000 or more. For payment examples, see footnote 7. With the Immediate Repayment option, the first payment of principal and interest will be due approximately 30-60 calendar days after the final disbursement date and the minimum monthly payment is $50.00. There are no prepayment penalties.
  3. The 15-year term and Partial Interest Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) are only available for loan amounts of $5,000 or more. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school deferment (including the grace period) will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. Payment examples within this footnote assume a 45-month deferment period, a six-month grace period before entering repayment and the Partial Interest Repayment option. 7 year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 7 year repayment term (84 months) and a 8.468% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $199.90. 10 year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 10-year repayment term (120 months) and an 8.938% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $162.92. 15 year term: $10,000 loan disbursed over two transactions with a 15-year repayment term (180 months) and a 9.423% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $136.90.
  4. The 2% principal reduction is based on the total dollar amount of all disbursements made, excluding any amounts that are reduced, cancelled, or returned. To receive this principal reduction, it must be requested from the servicer, the student borrower must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher and proof of such graduation (e.g. copy of diploma, final transcript or letter on school letterhead) must be provided to the servicer. This reward is available once during the life of the loan, regardless of whether the student receives more than one degree.
  5. Earn an interest rate reduction for making automatic payments of principal and interest from a bank account (“auto pay discount”). Earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from any bank account and an extra 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from a SunTrust Bank checking, savings, or money market account. The auto pay discount will continue until (1) automatic deduction of payments is stopped (including during any deferment or forbearance) or (2) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan. The extra 0.25% interest rate reduction when you auto pay from a SunTrust Bank account will be applied after the first automatic payment is successfully deducted and will be removed for the reasons stated above. In the event the auto pay discount is removed, the loan will accrue interest at the rate stated in your Credit Agreement. The auto pay discount is not available when payments are deferred or when the loan is in forbearance, even if payments are being made.
  6. A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the servicer provided that the student borrower is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, has met credit criteria and met either one of the following payment conditions: (a) the first 36 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments have been made on-time (received by the servicer within 10 calendar days after their due date) or (b) the loan has not had any late payments and has been prepaid prior to the end of the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments in an amount equal to the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments (based on the monthly payment amount in effect when you make the most recent payment). As an example, if you have made 30 months of consecutive on-time payments, and then, based on the monthly payment amount in effect on the due date of your 31st consecutive monthly payment, you pay a lump sum equal to 6 months of payments, you will have satisfied the payment condition. Cosigner release may not be available if a loan is in forbearance.
  7. If the student dies after any part of the loan has been disbursed, and the loan has not been charged off due to non-payment or bankruptcy, then the outstanding balance will be forgiven if the servicer is informed of the student’s death and receives acceptable proof of death. If the student becomes totally and permanently disabled after any part of the loan has been disbursed and the loan has not been charged off due to non-payment or bankruptcy, the loan will be forgiven upon the servicer’s receipt and approval of a completed discharge application. If the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled prior to the full disbursement of the loan, and the loan is forgiven, all future disbursements will be cancelled. Loan forgiveness for student death or disability is available at any point throughout the life of the loan.

7 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey


8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.

Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.

Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
If you are unable to pay your government loan, the government can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount. In addition, the government has special powers to collect the loan, such as taking your tax refund and applying it to your loan balance.

A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If you refinance your government loan, your new lender will use the proceeds of your new loan to pay off your government loan. Private student loan lenders do not have to honor any of the benefits that apply to government loans. Because your government loan will be gone after refinancing, you will lose any benefits that apply to that loan. If you are an active-duty service member, your new loan will not be eligible for service member benefits. Most importantly, once you refinance your government loan, you will not able to reinstate your government loan if you become dissatisfied with the terms of your private student loan.

If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you are a borrower with a secure job, emergency savings, strong credit and are unlikely to need any of the options available to distressed borrowers of government loans, a refinance of your government loans into a private student loan may be attractive to you. You should consider the costs and benefits of refinancing carefully before you refinance.

If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.

Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.


9 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Student Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 4.04%-12.01% (4.04%-11.91% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 5.25%-12.19% (5.25% – 12.09% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown requires application with a cosigner, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.
  2. Multi-year approval funds available for future use are subject to a soft credit inquiry at time of your next request to verify continued eligibility. After we make the initial Loan to you, we may refuse to allow you to take out additional loans under the multi-year approval feature, terms and conditions will be outlined in your promissory note. Please Note: International students are not eligible to receive an offer for multi-year approval. Please Note: International Students are not eligible for the multi-year approval feature.
  3. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  5. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
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