Skip to main content

What is a co-signer for a student loan?

A co-signer is a person who agrees to repay a loan along with the primary borrower. There are several obligations and risks to consider before co-signing for a loan.

In order to qualify for a private student loan, you may be required to have a co-signer. Or you may choose to have a co-signer to borrow at a lower interest rate due to the co-signer’s good credit record. Before you co-sign a loan or ask someone to co-sign a loan, consider the obligations and risks:

  • As with undertaking any legal obligation, be sure to read the loan documents carefully.
  • Co-signers are equally responsible and legally obligated to repay the loan. As a co-signer, consider whether you are willing and able to repay the loan if the student borrower does not repay the loan on time.
  • Any late or missed payments for a co-signed loan will affect both the co-signer and the student’s credit history. Before co-signing a loan, consider whether you are willing to risk harm to your credit record if the student borrower does not repay the loan.
  • If the loan goes into default, private lenders often hire collection agencies to get a co-signer to repay. The co-signer could also be sued by a debt collector or lender.

Student loan cosigner release

Generally speaking, a co-signer cannot be released from their obligation to repay the loan, but some private student loans have co-signer release options. For example, a lender may offer to release the co-signer from the loan once the primary borrower or student borrower makes a certain number of on-time payments and meets other credit requirements, including a credit check. Many lenders and student loan servicers won’t proactively tell you when you are eligible to have your co-signer released. You can find co-signer release information in the terms and conditions of the loan and on the lender’s or servicer’s website. You can edit and use our sample letters to send to your student loan servicer.

Here are more tips on protecting your credit as a co-signer.