Citibank used to have a student loan unit but closed it down a few years ago. Some students may have since graduated and are currently working a job, and not even realized their Citibank student loans were handed off to a different loan servicer.
For those looking to use Citibank for student loans, you’re out of luck. But for both, we will show how to find your loan servicer and alternatives to Citibank student loans.
If you have older Citibank loans and don't know what to do, check out this list of the Best Places To Refinance Student Loans.
If you wanted to get Citibank student loans to pay for school today, check out Credible and compare what other options you have.
The History of Citibank Student Loans
Citibank stopped offering student loans back in 2010. Its largest competitor was Sallie Mae. Ironically, Sallie Mae benefited from Citibank shuttering its loan unit by buying $28 billion of federal student loans. Discover bought $4 billion in private loans, and the Department of Education bought $4.7 billion in federal loans.
Citibank offered both federal and private loans. Private loans were part of the CitiAssist loan program — also now defunct.
Some of the reasons Citibank sold off its student loan unit were due to increased restrictions in student loans and risks associated with unsecured loans. Since 2010, a lot has changed across the student loan landscape. Federal Direct Loans have been introduced. These loans are available to undergraduates and graduates alike.
Your Citibank student loans are no longer serviced by Citibank. In the next section, we’ll show you how to find out who the new servicer is.
Finding Your Loan Servicer
A loan servicer is a company that manages your loan. While the Department of Education may issue a federal loan to you, they don’t manage it. The servicer is the company you’ll be in contact with throughout the life of the loan. They are the ones you make payments to.
It’s been a while since Citibank was in the student loan business. If you had a student loan with Citibank, it has probably changed hands (servicers) several times since 2010. If you don’t know who your servicer is, below are instructions on how to find out.
For federal loans, log into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You’ll need a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to look up your loan information. You can get an FSA ID when filling out the FAFSA. If for some reason you don’t have an FSA ID, you can create one here.
For private loans, things get a little more complex when you need to find your servicer. Federal loans are grouped under the government umbrella and listed in the NSLDS website. Private loans don’t have such an umbrella and it’s a bit like the wild west when it comes to hunting down your servicer(s).
If you’re receiving any type of loan statement, it should have the servicer’s contact info on the statement. Otherwise, you’ll need to do a little investigative research. Check your bank account for any payments you don’t recognize. You likely set up autopay way back when. In most cases, that will carry over when servicers for the loan change. Once you’ve identified the servicer through a checking account payment, you should be able to also find their website and phone number.
If there aren’t any loan payments coming out of your checking account, you can search through your credit report for open accounts. You can get a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. Your credit report will have the three major credit bureaus listed in it. Search for accounts at each bureau. Use the account name to find the servicer’s website and phone number.
For any servicer not sending statements, have them start sending statements. Also, set up your online access for the servicer’s website. This will allow you to update payment info, view your payment history, and change how much is being paid to the servicer.
If you are considering going back to college or entering for the first time, there are plenty of options for financial aid, which we discuss in the next section.
What to Use in Place of Citibank Student Loans
Most students entering college will not have even heard of Citibank student loans. They simply fill out their FAFSA and have all their financial aid handled in one place. For anyone entering college, this is the best route.
The FAFSA offers not only loans but potentially grants, which don’t have to be paid back, and work-study opportunities. There is a wide range of loan types offered by the federal government. These are the best student loans:
- Direct Subsidized Federal Loans (Stafford Loans)
- Direct Unsubsidized Federal Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Parent PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
There are also many options for private student loans. Although, these do not afford the same benefits as federal student loans. However, they can be a great supplement to government loans. Some popular private student loan companies include:
Also, check out our list of the Best Private Student Loans.
You’ve likely not been affected by Citibank selling your loans to another loan provider. But if you weren’t aware that your loans changed hands and don’t know who the servicer is, now you know how to find out. For those looking to enter college, there are plenty of alternatives available to Citibank student loans.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.