Why should I choose Custom Choice?
A Custom Choice loan offers competitive rates and flexible terms with no fees, an easy all-online application, and unique borrower benefits.
What information do I need to complete my application?
- Social Security number
- School information
- Loan amount
- Proof of income (if applicable)1
Cosigner (if applicable):
- Social Security number
- Proof of income
- Government-issued ID
Is Satisfactory Academic Progress Required?
We do not require you to be meeting the Satisfactory Academic Process requirements established by your school.
Does a Custom Choice loan have any fees?
There are absolutely no fees associated with a Custom Choice loan, including no late or prepayment fees.
Do I need a cosigner? What are the benefits of a cosigner?
A cosigner is not required; however, it may increase your chances for approval and may provide a lower interest rate.
What is the Graduation Reward?
Custom Choice will reward you for graduating! Receive a 2% principal reduction per loan with proof of graduation.2
Who is Cognition Financial?
Cognition Financial (formerly The First Marblehead Corporation) was founded in 1991 with the goal of helping students reach their educational goals through access to funding. Cognition Financial has over 30 years of experience facilitating more than $23 billion in private student loans for dozens of lender clients and thousands of schools. We've helped more than 1 million families pay for their education.
Do I need to be a full-time student?
No, students enrolled less than half-time/part-time3 are now eligible to apply (this can include a summer and/or winter term).
What rate discounts do you offer?
You can get a 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up to make automated payments from your checking or savings account.4 You can also receive our Graduation Reward, which is a 2% principal reduction upon graduation.2
How fast is the loan process?
You can apply and check rates within minutes. If approved, you would accept your terms and electronically sign your loan documents. Next, we send your loan application to your school of choice for certification. Each school has their own process and timelines which could take several days or a few weeks. After receiving certification, we’ll schedule loan funds according to the school’s timelines.
Is there a limit to the amount I can borrow?
The minimum loan amount is $1,000 and you may borrow up to $99,999 annually (cumulative loan amount cannot exceed of $180,000).5
Do you offer a cosigner release?
Yes, a cosigner may be released from a loan after making 36 on time payments.6
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.
*Students enrolled less than half-time are only offered the Immediate Repayment option.
1. Positive income (a dollar or more of income annually) is required of the student applicant on a student only application and of any proposed cosigner on a cosigned application.
2. 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.
3. Students enrolled less than half-time are only offered the Immediate Repayment option.
4. 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.
5. 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).
6. 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.