Student working on her laptop

Custom Choice Loan®

powered by Cognition

If you’ve explored all your higher education financing options and you’re still falling short, a Custom Choice Loan could help fill the gap. Whether you’re paying for tuition, housing, or other school expenses, this unique private student loan is a competitive choice that gives you the tools to achieve your goals.

To apply for a Custom Choice Loan, click here.

Product Features

  • Prequalify1 - consumers can check their rate in minutes without impacting their credit score
  • Choice of competitive interest rate types.
    • Variable: 1.03% APR to 9.67% APR2,3
    • Fixed: 3.20% APR to 10.76% APR2,3

      Lowest APRs shown include a 0.25% interest rate reduction for customers who elect auto pay.2,3
  • Multiple repayment terms to choose from.
    • 7, 10 or 15 years4
  • Multiple repayment options available.
    • Full deferment5
    • Interest only5
    • Flat payment5
    • Immediate repayment5
  • No fees.

Loan Limits

  • Minimum loan amount:
    • $1,0006
  • Annual borrowing limit:
    • Lesser of the cost of attendance less aid or the requested amount, not to exceed $99,9996
  • Aggregate student loan limit (total amount of private and federal student loan debt allowable):
    • $180,0006

Additional Borrower Benefits

  • 2.00% principal reduction with proof of graduation.7
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction for customers who elect auto pay.8
  • Cosigner release option available after making 36 consecutive on-time payments.9


  • The student must be enrolled at least half-time at an approved school in a degree-granting program.
  • The student, and if applicable, the cosigner, must have a good credit history with no student loan defaults or bankruptcies. Students with no credit history, or without a substantial credit history, may qualify with a creditworthy cosigner. Students applying on their own must provide proof of income. On a cosigned application, only the cosigner must provide proof of income.
  • The student must be the legal age of majority10 at the time of application, or at least 17 years of age if applying with a cosigner who meets the age of majority requirements in the cosigner’s state of residence.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens. The loan is not available to international students and students or cosigners who are permanent residents of Arizona, Iowa, or Wisconsin.

To apply for a Custom Choice Loan, click here.


AAA Club Alliance is compensated for the referral of customers to the Custom Choice Loan.



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 provide you with a range of rates you prequalify for, Citizens will perform a soft credit inquiry, as authorized by you. Soft credit inquiries do not affect your credit. 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 rates 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. 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 11/15/21. 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 0.05% as of 11/1/2021. 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 on-time payment or auto pay discount(s).

3. APRs assume a $10,000 loan with one disbursement. The high variable rate APR assumes a 15-year term with the Full Deferment option, a 19 month deferment period, and a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The high fixed rate APR assumes 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 8 for details about auto pay.

4. The 15-year term and the 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 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 5.64% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $144.37. 10-year term: $10,000 loan, one disbursement, with a 10-year repayment term (120 months) and 5.73% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $109.67. 15-year term: $10,000 loan, one disbursement, with a 15-year repayment term (180 months) and 5.91% APR would result in a monthly principal and interest payment of $83.90.

5. 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 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 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 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 options may not be available depending on the applicant's debt-to-income ratio. There are no prepayment penalties. See footnote 4 for payment examples.

6. The minimum loan amount is $1,000. 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 private and federal student loans) to exceed $180,000 per applicant (on cosigned applications, separate calculations are performed for the student and cosigner). 

7. The 2% principal reduction is based on the total dollar amount of all disbursements made, excluding any amounts that are reduced, canceled, 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.

8. 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.

9. A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the Servicer, provided that the student borrower has met certain 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.

10. 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).

Custom Choice Loan® is a service mark used under license.

Citizens is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A.  Member FDIC.

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