Survey: See the 20 Most Affordable Small Colleges in the US

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For many college applicants, schools with smaller student bodies are ideal. Small colleges can provide students with more opportunities to lead, learn, and get involved than they’d get on a much larger campus.

While the experience at a small college has a lot of offer, it can come at a price. With fewer students paying tuition, small colleges often have higher prices per student.

That doesn’t have to be the case. Our new rankings reveal the 20 most affordable small colleges in the U.S.

Key findings: Ranking small colleges in the U.S.


  • Smaller colleges cost $5,470 more in tuition and fees per year. Smaller colleges’ tuition and fees averaged $27,796 for 2016, compared with the average tuition and fees of $22,326 across all colleges, based on Peterson’s data.

  • The 20 most affordable small colleges have tuition and fees that are all $7,000 or less. This means the most affordable colleges offer savings of $20,750 in tuition and fees compared to average small colleges. Three of the top colleges even have tuition-free initiatives that effectively put these costs at $0.

  • Public colleges are the best option for affordable tuition. Of these 20 most affordable colleges, 17 are state and local public colleges. Interestingly, seven of the cheapest small colleges are in Oklahoma.

The 20 cheapest small colleges


With smaller student populations, each student can have their own place and role on campus. But first, they have to figure out how to pay for college.

As mentioned, a preference for a small college could carry an average premium of $5,470 a year, adding $21,880 to the total cost of a four-year degree. But if that’s the average, which small colleges are the outliers still offering affordable tuition and fees?

To find out, we surveyed tuition, fees, and average student debt at 626 colleges with graduating classes of 500 students or less. Here are the top 20 cheapest small colleges in the U.S.

1. College of the Ozarks in Missouri

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,512

  • Annual tuition and fees: $430

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $0

A private religious university, the College of the Ozarks doesn’t charge tuition. Instead, students work on campus to help cover the costs of education. The college also offers need-based scholarships.

The college discourages students from taking out student loans, and just 7% of its students graduated with educational debt in 2015-16. As of 2017-18, the Colloeg of the Ozarks reports that its graduates had zero student loan debt.

2. Berea College in Kentucky

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,665

  • Annual tuition and fees: $570

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $7,062

Berea College is another private college that helps students pay no tuition. The Tuition Promise Scholarship covers all remaining tuition costs that a student faces after other aid and scholarships are applied. The college’s site estimates the scholarship’s value at more than $155,000 over four years.

While about two-thirds of the college’s students rely on loans to help cover room, board, or other educational costs, the low average balance reflects a great deal this college offers.

3. Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 599

  • Annual tuition and fees: $2,050

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $10,714

At No. 3 is another Kentucky private college, Alice Lloyd, that’s tuition-free. It offers a tuition guarantee that students will pay nothing out of pocket for their tuition costs for up to 10 semesters.

There is a catch. Students only get the guarantee if they are from the school’s “service area,” which includes 108 neighboring counties in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

4. York College in New York

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 8,258

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,747

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $4,614

The first public college on this list, York College is part of the City University of New York, or CUNY, network. In-state residents pay low tuition of just $6,330 a year.

Because of this, just 6% of the college’s graduates have student loans. Those that do borrow boast the lowest average student loan balances on this list.

5. Dixie State University in Utah

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 8,993

  • Annual tuition and fees: $5,022

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $15,882

Another small public college to make the list, Dixie State University comes in at No. 5. These low costs and affordable living expenses in St. George, Utah, mean students can keep costs low and limit borrowing. Plus, just 38% of 2016 graduates left Dixie State with student debt.

6. New Mexico Highlands University

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,181

  • Annual tuition and fees: $5,550

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $17,312

For students looking for more one-on-one attention, New Mexico Highlands University delivers. Located in Las Vegas, New Mexico, this college’s class sizes are as small as 15 to 35 student for first-year courses. This can help students get big value out of these already-low costs of attending college.

7. New College of Florida

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 861

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,916

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $15,173

Located in Sarasota, Florida, this small school has fewer than 1,000 students and is called the “Honors College of Florida.” It has more rigorous courses that will challenge students, with opportunities for unique, real-world research.

8. Southern Utah University

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 8,407

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,530

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $16,892

Located in Cedar City, Utah, Southern Utah University is a midsized school that brings together the individual focus of a small college with the lively campus life of a large one. Thanks to its affordable tuition, the university helps half its students graduate without loans, and those who do borrow have balances far below the average.

9. College of Coastal Georgia

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,529

  • Annual tuition and fees: $4,434

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $25,455

The College of Coastal Georgia has the lowest tuition and fees of any college on this list that actually charges out-of-pocket tuition.

Students here do borrow higher student loan balances, with the average over $25,000. But savvy students can take advantage of the college’s 40-plus scholarships, federal student aid, and other funding to limit student debt.

10. Cameron University in Oklahoma

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 4,444

  • Annual tuition and fees: $5,970

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $20,019

Cameron University is a small public college that focuses on both academic and career success.

It even offers “The Cameron University Guarantee” that students will be prepared for their careers. If a future employer finds gaps in a graduate’s education, the college will provide additional education at no cost.

11. Rogers State University in Oklahoma

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,889

  • Annual tuition and fees: $7,000

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $16,164

While Rogers State University has a recognized online college program for distance students, it has its flagship campus in Claremore, Oklahoma, as well as campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor.

To help students further afford its already-low costs, the university also provides a range of merit- and need-based scholarships.

12. East Central University in Oklahoma

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 4,428

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,279

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $19,170

Another Oklahoma college, East Central University’s staff and instructors advise students and help them get the exact college experience they want. This college also costs $3,000 less per year than the national average for public four-year schools, according to College Board.

13. Emporia State University in Kansas

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,702

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,178

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $20,433

A small school in Kansas, this public college’s liberal arts and teaching programs are among its most popular. Emporia State University also offers a variety of certificate and licensure programs to help students and professionals build their resumes.

14. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 4,478

  • Annual tuition and fees: $7,060

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $17,578

For college applicants interested in a degree that will get them hired, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin delivers. This college is often among the top five in Texas for both employment and graduate school placements, according to the school’s site.

15. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,132

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,450

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $20,983

On top of its already-low tuition costs, Southeastern Oklahoma State University provides primarily merit-based scholarships to help students pay for school. Along with the usual perks of small colleges, this makes the university a worthy destination for standout students.

16. Dickinson State University in North Dakota

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,381

  • Annual tuition and fees: $5,339

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $25,936

Next is Dickinson State University, which boasts a student-faculty ratio of 10-to-1. This small college provides students with personalized support, as well as the opportunity to earn anything from a nursing degree to a bachelor’s degree in accounting or music.

17. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 850

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,270

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $22,760

With fewer than 1,000 students and a trimester-based schedule, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma provides a unique educational environment.

The college also offers direct assistance to students. Incoming freshmen are automatically evaluated for institutional scholarships. In 2016, 76% of the college’s freshmen received such a scholarship.

18. Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 4,510

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,690

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $21,282

With over 100 fields of study, Southwestern Oklahoma State University is a small college that offers the choices and opportunities of a bigger campus. Its low costs also make it a standout for value, with a net price that beats comparable schools by $1,000 a year, according to the school’s site.

19. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 5,514

  • Annual tuition and fees: $5,816

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $25,263

This North Carolina university is a smart choice for studying liberal arts at an affordable cost. The college offers low tuition, and graduates leave with student loan balances that they can manage as they pursue the careers they want.

20. Northeastern State University in Oklahoma

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,923

  • Annual tuition and fees: $6,207

  • Average student loan balance among graduates with debt: $23,840

Founded as a Cherokee Nation school and later purchased by Oklahoma, Northeastern State University is a state college rich in local history with a traditional college atmosphere.

Students can receive more individualized instruction since 84% of undergrad courses have fewer than 30 students. Popular majors at this college include education, biology, psychology, accounting, and business.

How to choose an affordable small college


Smaller schools have a lot to offer students, from intimate classrooms to charming campuses. Fortunately, you don’t have to face sky-high costs or take on federal or private student loans to get the small-college experience. Follow these tips to find a small college that fits your budget.

  • Look stateside first. If you want to attend a smaller school, you should first check out public colleges in your state. All the tuition and fees estimates in these rankings assume the student is a resident paying in-state tuition. That’s a big reason why 17 of the 20 most affordable colleges are public, regional colleges, as this tuition is subsidized for residents.

  • Attend a community college and transfer. Many community colleges have the same small class sizes as smaller four-year colleges and are often comparable in quality of education and academic rigor. Completing your first 60 credits at a city or community college and transferring saves an average of $11,377 over attending just a four-year college.

  • Apply to your top picks and compare aid packages. Don’t let sticker shock or high tuition keep you from applying to smaller colleges. These colleges often have fewer students vying for resources, and might be more likely to offer scholarships or other aid to attract top students. Apply to several colleges of interest so that you can compare offers in your financial aid award letters. You can then decide on a college knowing exactly what you’d pay out of pocket (or borrow) to attend each one.

Keeping cost top of mind when choosing a school can have a huge impact on what your education costs, and how much student debt you owe. Prioritize affordable colleges now, and you’ll benefit greatly when you’re repaying student loans.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2018!
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 10/01/2018. The current variable APRs for the program range from 4.001% APR to 13.001% 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 2.250% on 10/01/2018. 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 Disclosure: Variable 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 October 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.22%. Variable interest rates range from 4.19%-12.16% (4.19%-12.06% 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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