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8 Best Lenders to Refinance Student Loans With a Co-Signer of June 2021

Refinancing with a co-signer benefits the borrower, but have a plan to release that person from your loan.

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Refinancing student loans with a co-signer can help you get a lower interest rate or meet a lender’s eligibility criteria, if you can’t on your own. But if you don’t repay the loan, your co-signer is responsible for it; they should be OK with that before helping you.

To ease their worries, have a plan to remove the co-signer from the loan in the future.

The simplest option is to refinance again without the co-signer whenever you can qualify. But if you can’t get a better deal at that point, having a lender that offers co-signer release — not all of them do — can protect you both. Here are lenders with this feature, plus more information about refinancing with a co-signer.

Summary of Best Lenders to Refinance Student Loans With a Co-Signer of June 2021

Our picks for

Co-signer release after 12 months

PenFed Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Purefy's website

PenFed Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

670

Fixed APR

2.89 - 5.63%

Variable APR

2.13 - 5.25%
Check rate

on Purefy's website


Variable APR

2.13 - 5.25%

Key facts

Release is not available if your spouse acts as your co-signer or if you and your spouse consolidate your student loans together with PenFed.

Pros

  • Married couples can refinance student loans into a single loan.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Estate is still responsible for the loan if the borrower dies.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 773.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $300,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor’s degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 12 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Rates and offers current as June 3, 2021. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit calculating the interest rate, loan amount, repayment term and the timing of payments. Fixed Rates range from 2.89% APR - 5.63% APR and Variable Rates range from 2.13% APR - 5.25% APR. Both Fixed and Variable Rates will vary based on application terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. For Variable Rate student loans, the rate will never exceed 9.00% for 5 year and 8 year loans and 10.00% for 12 and 15 years loans (the maximum allowable for this loan). Minimum variable rate will be 2.00%. These rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.

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LendKey Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on LendKey's website

LendKey Student Loan Refinance

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
LendKey Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.95 - 7.63%

Variable APR

1.90 - 5.25%
Check rate

on LendKey's website


Variable APR

1.90 - 5.25%

Key facts

LendKey works with community banks and credit unions. Co-signer release policies vary by institution, but may require as few as 12 payments. Check your specific loan agreement.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months for 15- and 20-year loan terms is longer than many lenders.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island or West Virginia.

  • No payment postponement available if borrowers return to school or serve in the military.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 751.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $300,000, depending on the higest degree earned.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

See LendKey's full terms and conditions at https://www.lendkey.com/disclaimers

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Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Navy Federal Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

2.99 - 12.03%

Variable APR

1.45 - 10.26%
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

1.45 - 10.26%

Key facts

In addition to making 12 consecutive, on-time payments, Navy Federal requires you to provide proof of income and pass a credit check to release your co-signer.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 18 months is longer than many lenders offer.

  • Greater-than-minimum payments allowed via autopay.

Cons

  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers

  • Students cannot refinance a parent PLUS loan in their name.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • $7,500 minimum to $125,000 for undergraduates, or $175,000 for graduate students.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least an associate degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

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Our pick for

Co-signer release after 24 months

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Nelnet Bank's website

Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Nelnet Bank Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.70 - 6.10%

Variable APR

2.10 - 5.53%
Check rate

on Nelnet Bank's website


Variable APR

2.10 - 5.53%

Key facts

Nelnet Bank does not do a hard credit check when you apply for co-signer release. But you must meet the lender’s current credit underwriting eligibility requirements to qualify.

Pros

  • Offers longer-than-average forbearance length of 24 months.

  • You can see if you'll qualify and what rate you'll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Below-average customer support compared with other lenders.

  • Loans aren’t available in Vermont.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 - $225,000.

  • Must have a degree: No.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years. 25-year terms available for variable-rate loans

Disclaimer

The minimum rates include a .25% ACH deduction available to borrowers who enroll in auto-debit.

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Our picks for

Co-signer release after 36 months

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

2.98 - 5.79%

Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%
Check rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

1.99 - 5.61%

Key facts

CommonBond does not require a hard credit check to release your co-signer from your loan.

Pros

  • Forbearance of 24 months is longer than many lenders offer.

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Mississippi and Nevada.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $500,000.

  • Must have a degree: Yes, at least a bachelor's degree.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
EDvestinU Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

700

Fixed APR

3.91 - 6.28%

Variable APR

1.86 - 4.23%
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

1.86 - 4.23%

Key facts

Among other criteria, EDvestinU requires a FICO score above 699, income of at least $30,000 or $50,000 (depending on your loan balance) and a debt–to–income ratio of 43% or less to release a co-signer.

Pros

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • You cannot refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • Maximum loan amount is lower than most lenders offer.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 756.

  • Minimum income: $30,000.

  • Loan amounts: $7,500 to $200,000.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

APR, projected monthly payments, and total cost of loan examples are based on a $10,000 loan disbursed in one disbursement with either 5–year, 10–year, 15–year or 20–year repayment. APR’s provided include a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction for authorizing our loan servicer to automatically deduct your payments each month from your bank account. The interest rate reduction for authorizing our servicer to automatically deduct monthly payments from a savings or checking account will not reduce the monthly payment, but will reduce the monthly finance charge, resulting in a lower total cost of loan. Variable APR rates may increase or decrease depending on fluctuations in the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) index. Monthly interest rate accrual is based on the published One–Month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") as of the last business day of the previous month plus your applicable margin.

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Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website

Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Advantage Education Loan Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

3.99 - 7.78%

Variable APR

N/A
See my rates

on NerdWallet's secure website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

You will need to pass a hard credit check to release a co-signer from an Advantage Refinance Loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance without a degree.

  • Forbearance of 24 months is twice as long as most lenders.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Loans aren’t available in Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington or Washington, DC.

  • You cannot postpone repayment if you re-enroll in school.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Does not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: Minimum $7,500. Maximum depends on creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.

Available Term Lengths

10, 15 or 20 years

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Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Laurel Road Student Loan Refinance

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

2.50 - 6.00%

Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%
Check rate

on Laurel Road's website


Variable APR

1.89 - 5.90%

Key facts

You will need to pass a hard credit check to release a co-signer from a refinanced Laurel Road loan.

Pros

  • You can refinance parent PLUS loans in your name.

  • Refinancing available for medical and dental residents.

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Cons

  • Payment postponement isn’t available if borrowers return to school.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 up to your total outstanding loan balance.

  • Must have a degree: At least an associate degree for select professions. Borrowers in their last year of undergrad can refinance. For parent PLUS loans, the child does not need to have graduated to refinance.

Available Term Lengths

5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

Disclaimer

FIXED APR Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.00% per year to 5.00% per year for a 5-year term, 3.60% per year to 5.30% per year for a 7-year term, 4.10% per year to 5.60% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 5.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.60% per year to 6.20% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term would be from $183.04 to $192.40. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.14% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term would be from $142.00 to $147.29. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.24% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term would be from $107.24 to $114.31. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.30% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term would be from $80.65 to $90.16. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.61% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term would be from $69.41 to $79.16. However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account. VARIABLE APR Variable rate options consist of a range from 1.99% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term, 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.49% per year to 6.31% per year for a 5-year term would be from $181.87 to $194.77. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.86% per year to 6.36% per year for a 7-year term would be from $140.68 to $147.82. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.91% per year to 6.41% per year for a 10-year term would be from $105.63 to $113.09. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.16% per year to 6.66% per year for a 15-year term would be from $79.92 to $87.99. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.41% per year to 6.91% per year for a 20-year term would be from $68.28 to $76.99. However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.

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Can you refinance student loans with a co-signer?

Most lenders will let you refinance student loans with a co-signer, with Earnest being a notable exception. Here are some reasons you may want to refinance with a co-signer:

  • Your finances aren’t strong enough. Student loan refinance eligibility varies by lender, but you’ll typically need a credit score in at least the high 600s, a debt-to-income ratio below 50% and steady income. If you can’t meet these requirements, applying with a co-signer who does may help you qualify.

  • You can’t qualify for a nonfinancial reason. A co-signer might help depending on the reason. For example, if you’re an international student, you may be able to refinance with an eligible co-signer. In other instances — like refinancing without a degree — adding a co-signer wouldn’t make a difference.

  • You can get a better interest rate. A loan with more than one borrower is less risky for the lender, which means it may offer you a better rate. Plus, interest rates on refinance loans are credit-based in general. So even if you can qualify on your own, adding a co-signer with a stronger financial profile could improve a lender’s offer to you.

Should you refinance student loans with a co-signer?

Ask the following to decide if co-signing is the right move:

  • Can the co-signer afford the loan? Co-signing a student loan makes that person responsible for it. While they may not plan to repay the loan, they’ll have to if you don’t. The debt will also go on their credit report, meaning missed payments will hurt their credit score and the loan amount could affect their ability to do things like take out or refinance other debts.

  • Are they already on the hook? Most undergraduate private student loans require a co-signer. If you’re refinancing one of these loans, asking that person to co-sign again won’t change their responsibility. But it could reduce their risk: By helping you get a lower payment, you may be less likely to run into trouble and able to pay the loan off faster.

  • Is there a plan for release? You can refinance again to remove the co-signer; this can make sense if your financial situation improves. If that won’t happen soon, make sure the lender offers co-signer release — some, like SoFi, don’t — and you both understand the requirements. This will likely include making a set number of consecutive, full, on-time payments and meeting the original loan’s underwriting criteria.

How to refinance student loans with a co-signer

When you apply to refinance a student loan on a lender’s website, you’ll likely be asked if you want to include a co-signer. You can then add that person’s information accordingly.

But before doing that, pre-qualify with multiple lenders — with and without a co-signer. This will let you see potential interest rates for both scenarios without affecting your credit.

Your goal should be to get the best rate possible. But if you refinance with a co-signer, you’ll have to weigh the risk that person faces versus the reward of a lower rate. For example, say the lowest rate you’re offered is 4%, and you’d be able to release your co-signer after 36 months of payments. The next-best offer is 5% — but release is available after 12 months.

A student loan refinance calculator can help you understand how much that one percentage point could save you. It will be up to you and your co-signer to determine whether that amount is worth more than a quicker path to release.

Last updated on November 23, 2020

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Lenders to Refinance Student Loans With a Co-Signer of June 2021