Imagine a loan that’s customizable to your exact needs—now and into the future. That’s the freedom of Custom Choice. Students and cosigners both benefit from absolutely no fees, including no late or prepayment fees. Now, you can prequalify1—check your rate in minutes, with no impact to your credit, and easily compare your options before you choose.
We know your time is valuable, so we added a new feature that performs automatic income and employment verification. This means some applicants will get to skip a step in the process, resulting in a faster turnaround. Less time, less hassle, less paperwork. Another reason to choose Custom Choice.
See how our rates stack up!*
Our fixed rates are currently lower than our major competitors. So if you need more money for school, it’s a great time to prequalify1 for a Custom Choice Loan®! Don’t delay – PREQUALIFY and lock in your rate today!
3.65% - 12.46% APR9, 11, 12
4.49% - 13.80% APR
4.49% - 15.32% APR
4.50% - 14.83% APR
4.79% - 13.95% APR
5.49% - 14.99% APR
*comparisons based on competitors’ websites as of 2/1/23, and are subject to change at any time.
Returning Borrower2 Advantage
Returning undergraduate student borrowers can rest easier knowing they're more likely to be approved - they had a 94% approval rate when applying the following year for a subsequent Custom Choice Loan with a cosigner.3
Plus, we've made applying easier by creating a timesaving application process, just for returning borrowers. Prequalify for a Custom Choice Loan today. Then come back next year and enjoy the benefits of the Returning Borrower Advantage.
What You Need to Apply
- Pay stub or other proof of income (less than 30 days old)
- Monthly housing cost
- Anticipated graduation date
- Loan amount
- Academic period for loan
- Permanent resident aliens and Eligible Non-Citizens4 will be required to provide documentation regarding current immigration status in the United States. The document(s) must be valid through the academic period.
- Additional information may be required after your application is submitted for review.
Flexible Loan Terms
The choice is entirely yours whether to pay your loan over 7, 10 or 15 years.5 You know which repayment timeline works best for your budget. A shorter time period will result in higher monthly payments, but lower interest overall. Learn More »
For All Your Needs
Your loan will cover up to 100% of the certified cost of attendance,6 including books, lab fees, computers, and room and board. This frees your mind to focus on your education, not the costs of it.
Sometimes the going gets rough, but we’ll be there for you. In the event of a job loss7 or natural disaster, you’ll pay no fees for late or missed payments as you might with other loans. Isn’t that reassuring?
Cosigning That’s Easy
Adding a parent or another adult with good financial standing makes approval 4X more likely. Plus, you may get a lower rate than you would if you applied on your own. Releasing a cosigner is easy when you no longer need their help.8 Learn More »
Check Out Our Competitive Rates
Make automatic payments from a bank account and receive a .25% discount9 for even more savings. Plus, all loans include a 2% principal reduction with proof of graduation.10
5.46% - 14.00%
3.65% - 12.46%
Lowest APRs include a 0.25% discount when auto pay is elected.11,12
It's So Easy to Apply and Compare
Once you’ve prequalified, complete your online application in minutes. You won’t pay a single fee to make it happen. Seriously.
Customize Loan Options
Am I Eligible?
A Custom Choice Loan® covers up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance, which typically includes things like tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and personal expenses.6
Eligibility Requirements for the Student
- Be enrolled at an eligible institution in a degree-granting program.14
- Be the legal age of majority, or at least 17 years of age at the time of application if applying with a cosigner who meets the age of majority requirements in the cosigner’s state of residence.15
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien or Eligible Non-Citizen (DACA resident) applying with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.
With the Paying for College Scholarship Sweepstakes, Custom Choice is sponsoring a $1,500 scholarship every month until March 31, 2023.16 It’s just one more way we’re working to ease the costs of higher education.
With the Paying for College Scholarship Sweepstakes, Custom Choice is sponsoring a $1,500 scholarship every month until September.15 It’s just one more way we’re working to ease the costs of higher education.
Have some questions for us?
We have answers.
Everything you need to know about private student loans.
Before applying for a private student loan, Citizens and Cognition Financial recommend comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans.
The Custom Choice Loan® is made by Citizens (“Lender”). All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to Lender’s underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions and other terms and conditions apply. LENDER AND COGNITION FINANCIAL CORPORATION EACH RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. TERMS, CONDITIONS AND RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
1. In order to estimate the rates and loan options you prequalify for, Citizens will perform a soft credit inquiry, as authorized by you. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit score. If you prequalify, the rates and loan options offered to you are estimates only. Once you choose your loan options and submit your application, Citizens will perform a hard credit inquiry. Loan approval, options, and final rate depend on the verification of information provided on your application, and information obtained from the hard credit inquiry (and any cosigner’s hard credit inquiry).
2. A Returning Borrower is a student applicant or a student applicant and cosigner combination with either (a) a prior application that is awaiting school certification, or (b) a prior loan that has a disbursement scheduled or completed, and the hard credit pull date on such a prior application or loan is within eighteen (18) month of the initial save date of the new application.
3. You must submit a new application for a Custom Choice Loan each year. This approval percentage is based on undergraduate borrowers with a Custom Choice Loan from 2020 who were approved again in 2021. Future approval rates can change.
4. The Custom Choice Loan is available to applicants who are U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or Eligible Non-Citizens (DACA residents); it is not available to international students. Eligible Non-Citizens (DACA residents) must apply with an eligible cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.
5. The 15 year term and Flat Payment Repayment option (paying $25 per month during in-school deferment) are only available for loan amounts of $5,000 or more. Certain repayment terms and/or options may not be available depending on the applicant's enrollment status and/or debt-to-income ratio. Making interest only or flat interest payments during deferment will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. Payment examples (all assume a 14-month deferment period, a six-month grace period before entering repayment, no auto pay discount, and the Interest Only Repayment option): 7-year term: $10,000 loan, one disbursement, with a 7-year repayment term (84 months), and a 7.69% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $154.32. 10-year term: $10,000 loan, one disbursement, with a 10-year repayment term (120 months) and 7.54% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $118.91. 15-year term: $10,000 loan, one disbursement, with a 15-year repayment term (180 months) and a 7.53% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $92.87.
6. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 except for student applicants who are permanent residents of Iowa in which case the minimum loan amount is $1,001. The maximum annual loan amount to cover in-school expenses for each academic year is determined by the school’s cost of attendance, minus other financial aid, such as federal student loans, scholarships, or grants, up to $99,999 annually. The loan amount must be certified by the school. The loan amount cannot cause the aggregate maximum student loan debt (which includes federal and private student loans) to exceed $180,000 per applicant (on cosigned applications, separate calculations are performed for the student and cosigner).
7. Available in increments of no more than two months, for a maximum period of 12 months. To be eligible for forbearance a required number of monthly principal and interest payments must have been made and the loan cannot be more than fifty-nine (59) days delinquent. During a forbearance period, principal and interest payments are deferred and the interest that accrues during the forbearance period may be capitalized at the expiration of such forbearance period. To be eligible for more than one incremental period of forbearance, (a) at least twelve (12) monthly principal and interest payments must be satisfied following the prior period of forbearance and (b) the borrower cannot have utilized more than two (2) forbearance periods in the five (5) years prior to the last day of the most recent forbearance period. The repayment term will be extended month-for-month for the number of months of forbearance applied to the loan.
8. A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the Servicer, provided that the student borrower has met credit and other criteria, and 36 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments have been received by the Servicer within 10 calendar days after their due date. Late payment(s), or the use of a deferment or forbearance will reset the number of consecutive principal and interest payments to zero. Use of an approved alternative repayment plan will disqualify the loan from being eligible for this benefit.
9. Earn a 0.25% interest rate reduction for making automatic payments of principal and interest from a bank account (“auto pay discount”) by completing the direct debit form provided by the Servicer. The auto pay discount is in addition to other discounts. The auto pay discount will be applied after the Servicer validates your bank account information and will continue until (1) three automatic deductions are returned for insufficient funds during the life of the loan (after which the discount cannot be reinstated) or (2) automatic deduction of payments is canceled. The auto pay discount is not available when reduced payments are being made or when the loan is in a deferment or forbearance, even if payments are being made.
10. The 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 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.
11. Interest rates and APRs (Annual Percentage Rates) depend upon (1) the student’s and cosigner’s (if applicable) credit histories, (2) the repayment option and repayment term selected, (3) the expected number of years in deferment, (4) the requested loan amount and (5) other information provided on the online loan application. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate applicable to your loan. Rates and terms are effective as of 2/1/23. The variable interest rate for each calendar month is calculated by adding the 30-Day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") index, or a replacement index if the SOFR index is no longer available, plus a fixed margin assigned to each loan. The SOFR index is published on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The current SOFR index is 4.31% as of 2/1/23. The variable interest rate will increase or decrease if the SOFR index changes or if a new index is chosen. The applicable index or margin for variable rate loans may change over time and result in a different APR than shown. 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.
12. APRs assume a $10,000 loan with one disbursement. The high APRs assume a 15-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 31 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The low APRs assume a 7-year term, and the Immediate Repayment option with payments beginning 30-60 days after the disbursement via auto pay. See footnote 9 for auto pay details.
13. Any student applicant who is enrolled less than half-time or who applies for a loan the month of, the month prior to, or the month after their graduation date, as stated on the application or certified by the school, will only be offered the immediate Repayment Option. The Interest Only option (defer principal payments), Flat Payment Repayment option ($25 monthly payment) and the Full Deferment option (defer principal and interest payments) are only available while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an approved school. The Flat Payment Repayment option ($25 monthly payment) is only available on loans of $5,000 or more. With the Immediate Repayment option, the first payment of principal and interest is due approximately 30-60 calendar days after the final disbursement date and the minimum monthly payment will be $50.00. Certain repayment terms and/or options may not be available depending on the applicant's enrollment status and/or debt-to-income ratio. There are no prepayment penalties. See footnote 5 for payment examples.
14. Students enrolled less than half-time are only offered the Immediate Repayment option.
15. The legal age of majority is 18 years of age in every state except Alabama (19 years old), Nebraska (19 years old, only for wards of the state), and Puerto Rico (21 years old).
16. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S./D.C., age 18+, who are currently a student or parent of a student enrolled in an undergraduate program at an Eligible Institution. An “Eligible Institution” must be: (i) based in the United States; (ii) Title IV eligible according to data from the U.S. Department of Education; and (iii) categorized as a public or private school that offers bachelor’s degree program or higher according to the U.S. Department of Education, excluding for-profit schools (proprietary schools). Void outside the 50 U.S./D.C. and where prohibited. Sweepstakes starts at 12:00:01 AM ET on 05/28/20; ends at 11:59:59 PM ET on 03/31/2023. Total ARV of prize per Entry Period: $1,500; Total ARV of all prizes: $51,000. Odds of winning will depend on the total number of entries received for each Entry Period. For full Official Rules, visit https://sweeps.smartborrowing.org/paying-for-college-sweepstakes-official-rules/. Sponsor: Cognition Financial Corporation, 200 Clarendon Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02116.