Custom Choice Student Loans Review 2023

Custom Choice Student Loans Review

Financing a college education in the United States is never easy. Figuring out how to pay for university when you aren’t a U.S. citizen is even more challenging.

The US Department of Education offers financial aid (including loans) to all U.S. citizens who fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For those who don’t qualify for Federal student loans, Custom Choice may offer a private student loan alternative. These loans are “full coverage” loans that can help students finance their education even if they can’t get Federal aid. This Custom Choice Student Loans Review covers everything you need to know, from key features to fees to pros and cons. 


Custom Choice Student Loans

Quick Summary

  • Private student loans for U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or DACA residents.
  • Most loans require a co-signer who can financially guarantee the loans.
  • Multiple loan repayment options include deferred payments, $25 per month during school, interest-only payments during school, or immediate full repayments.
  • Ability to release co-signers from loans after 36 months of on-time payments.

Custom Choice Details

Product Name

Custom Choice

Min Loan Amount

$1000

Maximum Loan Amount

$99,999 Annual Loan Maximum

APR

3.65% – 14.59%

Rate Type

Fixed or Variable

Loan Terms 

7, 10, or 15 Years

Special Offers

Grad Reward: 2% Loan principal reduction with proof of graduation.

What Is Custom Choice?

Custom Choice is a subsidiary of Boston-based Cognition Financial Corporation. Custom Choice focuses on issuing private student loans to undergraduate students who are permanent legal residents, DACA residents, or U.S. citizens. These loans offer unique repayment plans and some protections that can make repayment more feasible for most borrowers.

Most private student lenders offer “supplemental” loans designed to cover expenses that you can’t borrow directly from the US Department of Education. But Custom Choice offers “full coverage” loans. These loans can cover your entire tuition, books, room, and board.

The company doesn’t just issue loans, it is building loan products with pathways to repayment. It offers up to two months of loan forbearance for people affected by job loss or natural disasters. Loan co-signers can request release after just 36 months of successful on-time payments.

What Does It Offer?

Custom Choice offers private student loans for undergraduate students. These are a few of the unique features of the loans.

Private Student Loans For Undergraduate Students

Many private lenders focus on student loan refinancing or lending to graduate students. Custom Choice focuses primarily on lending to undergraduate students including people who may not qualify for Federal student loans. Custom Choice’s loans may help many first-generation college students finance a higher education that they may not be able to afford.

Co-signers Required For Most Loans

Most students can’t qualify for a Custom Choice loan based on their income and credit history, so Custom Choice usually requires a co-signer. A co-signer agrees to make payments on the loan, if the primary borrower cannot or will not make payments as agreed. Co-signers dramatically reduce the riskiness of the loan in the eyes of the bank.

Co-signer Release Program

Custom Choice typically requires a co-signer to take out a loan, but co-signers can request a release from the loan if the primary borrower makes 36 on-time payments on their loan.

This ensures that grandparents and others on limited budgets don’t have to drain their Social Security payments to cover a grandchild’s student loan payments.

Multiple Repayment Terms

Custom Choice offers loan repayment terms of 7, 10, and 15 years. On top of that, borrowers can choose between fixed interest rate or variable rate loans.

In addition to the basic repayment terms, Custom Choice allows borrowers to customize their repayment schedule during school. It offers four repayment options.

  • Fully deferred. Borrowers don’t make any monthly loan payments until 6 months after quitting school or graduating.
  • $25 per month payments during school. The $25 per month payment won’t be enough to offset interest payments, but it can keep the overall balance of the loans from growing too fast.
  • Interest-only payments during school. Borrowers don’t pay down the principal during their schooling, but they make interest-only payments each month. By doing this, the loan balance remains steady throughout college.
  • Immediate repayment. Repayment of both principal and interest begins immediately.

Up To Two Months Of Forbearance

Borrowers who face a job loss or a natural disaster can take up to 2 months of forbearance every 12 months (with limits on the total amount every five years). During the two-month deferment, you won’t make payments on your loan.

Interest continues to accrue on the loan and is “capitalized” when repayment resumes. For each month you take forbearance, your loan period will extend by exactly one month.

Are There Any Fees?

Custom Choice doesn’t charge loan origination fees or late fees. However, you must repay the loan you borrowed with interest. Right now, Custom Choice’s interest rates range from 3.65%-12.47% for fixed-rate loans or 5.97%-14.45% for variable-rate loans.

How Does Custom Choice Compare?

Custom Choice offers some of the lowest interest rates for private student loans for undergraduate students. But this may be because of the rigorous cosigning requirements. If you don’t have a great co-signer, you may not get a great rate through Custom Choice.

Before you take out a loan with a private lender like Custom Choice, we recommend exhausting your other options. Apply for scholarships and grants. If you’re eligible, consider Federal student loans. Even if these have a higher interest rate, Federal loans have more protections than the loans offered by Custom Choice.

Private loans should be your last option for financing college. Make sure to compare rates and terms at two or three lenders before choosing the right option for you. We track the ten best private student loan lenders to ensure you can choose from a quality list.

Custom Choice Comparison
Custom Choice Comparison: Ascent Student Loans
Custom Choice Comparison: LendKey

Rating

Minimum Loan

$1000

$2,001

$1000

APR Type

Fixed or Variable

Fixed or Variable

Fixed or Variable

Cosigner

Usually

Not Required

Not Required

Cell

How Do I Open A Custom Choice Account?

To apply for a Custom Choice loan you’ll need several financial details. Borrowers need a Social Security Number, school information, the amount they want to borrow, and proof of income. Co-signers will provide their Social Security Number, proof of income, and a government-issued ID for identity verification.

While the online application may take just a few minutes, Custom Choice submits the loan to your school for verification before funding the loan. This process can take several days.

Is It Safe And Secure?

Custom Choice collects personal identifiable information (PII) on its loan applications. The loan applications are encrypted and Custom Choice limits the number of people who can see this information. It uses bank-level security processes for holding data, transferring money, and accepting payments. Overall, the company has excellent security practices.

As with all online lenders, borrowers and their co-signers run the risk that their information could be stolen and misused. Custom Choice has partnered with large banks (including Citizen’s Bank) to ensure it can serve customers with high-quality technology. However, the risk of a hack is real with Custom Choice and other online lenders.

How Do I Contact Custom Choice?

Custom Choice prominently displays all its contact options on its Contact Us page. Call 866-232-3889 to speak to a loan specialist or email info@customchoice.com if you have more general questions.

Is It Worth It?

Taking on student loan debt is never our first recommendation, and private student loans are our least favorite way to finance an education. That said, Custom Choice offers a reasonable student loan for people who have a co-signer. The interest rates on these loans are modest, and the company offers a variety of repayment terms to suit every budget. That said, we advocate shopping around for private loans before settling on one company.

Custom Choice Features

Min Loan Amount 

$1,000

Max Loan Amount

$99,999 Annual Loan Maximum

APR

As low as 3.65%

Auto-Pay Discount

Yes: 0.25%

Rate Type 

Fixed or Variable

Loan Terms

7, 10, or 15 Years

Origination Fees 

None

Prepayment Penalty

None

Late Payment Fee 

None

Cosigned Loans

Yes

Non-Cosigned Loans

Yes

Cosigner Release

Yes, after making 36 on-time monthly payments

Minimum Credit Score

Varies

Eligible Programs

Primarily Undergraduate

Customer Service Phone Number

1-866-232-3889

Customer Service Hours 

Mon-Fri, 9-6 EST

Customer Service Email Address 

info@customchoice.com

Mailing Address

Cognition Financial
200 Clarendon Street, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Special Offers

Grad Reward: 2% Loan principal reduction with proof of graduation.

Editor: Colin Graves Reviewed by: Robert Farrington

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