BEST OF

6 Student Loans With Fastest Co-Signer Release

To get a co-signer release you must have at least one year of on-time payments and meet the lender's requirements on your own.

Cecilia ClarkJul 15, 2021

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A co-signer release lets your parent, relative or friend off the hook for your student loan once you prove you’re capable of making payments on your own.

Most college students have limited credit history, so private student loans typically require that a co-signer share legal liability for the debt. About 87% of new undergraduate private student loans in 2020-21 were co-signed, according to the higher education data firm MeasureOne.

If you have the opportunity to release your co-signer or be removed from a student loan you co-signed, seize it. There are two ways to remove a student loan co-signer:

  • Co-signer release.

  • Student loan refinancing.

If you qualify for a lower interest rate, student loan refinancing is generally the better option — it’ll remove your co-signer and save you money. You can refinance student loans in your own name if you have good credit, sufficient income and a track record of on-time payments.

If you can’t get a better interest rate through student loan refinancing, or you want to avoid the hassle of comparing interest rates and switching lenders, pursue a co-signer release.

Summary of Student Loans With Fastest Co-Signer Release

Our pick for

Release after 12 months of payments

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

Mid-600's

Fixed APR

3.50 - 12.60%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%
Check rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

Key facts

Best for part-time students and those who want flexibility with repayment.

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.

Cons

  • 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 or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Available Term Lengths

10 to 15 years

Disclaimer

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit. Additional information regarding the auto debit discount: The borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. Payments may be required during the grace/separation period depending on the repayment option selected. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRS assume a $10,000 loan to a borrower who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae loans. Advertised APRs are valid as of 07/22/2021. Loan amounts: Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Examples of typical transactions for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common variable rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 6.88% APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $136.17 and one payment of $66.85 for a total loan cost of $18,314.28. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan.

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Our picks for

Release after 24 months of payments

CommonBond Private Student Loan
Check rate

on CommonBond's website

CommonBond Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
CommonBond Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

3.99 - 10.99%

Variable APR

4.13 - 9.64%
Check rate

on CommonBond's website


Variable APR

4.13 - 9.64%

Key facts

Best for students who are already planning to use a co-signer and value customer support.

Pros

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

  • You are assigned a dedicated Money Mentor.

Cons

  • Loans aren't available in Nevada and Mississippi.

  • Co-signer required.

Qualifications

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

  • Minimum income: No set minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to the total cost of attendance. Maximum $500,000.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 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. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. 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 of0.14% effective Dec 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.

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SoFi Private Student Loan
Check rate

on SoFi's website

SoFi Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
SoFi Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

2.99 - 10.90%

Variable APR

0.99 - 11.33%
Check rate

on SoFi's website


Variable APR

0.99 - 11.33%

Key facts

Best for flexible repayment options and no fees.

Pros

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

  • Multiple in-school repayment options available, including interest-only and flat-fee, and deferred for undergrad and grad students.

  • Additional perks like career planning, job search assistance and entrepreneurship support available.

Cons

  • Does not offer bi-weekly payments via autopay.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 700+.

  • Minimum income: No minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 minimum.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 2.99% to 10.66% annual percentage rate ("APR") (with autopay), variable rates from 0.99% to 11.22% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.09% to 11.33% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.04% to 11.28% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.19% to 11.22% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 08/23/2021. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).

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LendKey Private Student Loan
Check rate

on LendKey's website

LendKey Private Student Loan

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
LendKey Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

660

Fixed APR

4.25 - 12.59%

Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%
Check rate

on LendKey's website


Variable APR

1.13 - 11.23%

Key facts

Best for students who value working with a community bank or credit union.

Pros

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

Cons

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

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 748.

  • Minimum income: $24,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to cost of attendance, minus other aid received.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years.

Read Full Review

Navy Federal Private Student Loan

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Navy Federal Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Fixed APR

4.99 - 11.69%

Variable APR

3.01 - 8.92%

Variable APR

3.01 - 8.92%

Key facts

An option for members of Navy Federal Credit Union who can make small payments while in school.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Available only to existing Navy Federal Credit Union customers.

  • Only one repayment term: 10 years.

  • Payment required while in school and during the grace period.

Qualifications

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

  • Minimum income: A co-signer must earn $15,000 or more.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 minimum to $120,000 for undergraduates, or $160,000 for graduate students.

Available Term Lengths

10 years

Read Full Review

RISLA Private Student Loan

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
RISLA Private Student Loan

Min. Credit Score

680

Fixed APR

3.64 - 5.46%

Variable APR

N/A

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Best for students who may need wiggle room on payments in the future.

Pros

  • Income-based repayment plan available, with forgiveness after 25 years.

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

  • Partial loan forgiveness for eligible internships; interest forgiveness for qualifying nurses.

Cons

  • Fewer repayment terms available than other lenders.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 768.

  • Minimum income: $40,000.

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $45,000.

Available Term Lengths

10 or 15 years

Read Full Review

What you need for a student loan co-signer release

Almost all private student loans have a co-signer release option. Each lender has slightly different requirements; check with yours to make sure you know all the fine print. Generally, you must:

1. Make at least 12 on-time payments

Depending on the lender, you must make 12, 24, 36 or 48 on-time payments before applying for a co-signer release. Often, those payments must be consecutive and without periods of forbearance. If you made fixed or interest-only payments during school, those may not count.

2. Meet the income and credit requirements

When you take out a student loan with a co-signer, you qualify based on their credit history and financial profile. To remove the co-signer, you must meet those requirements on your own.

You'll need good credit — a FICO score in the high 600s, at least — and enough income to afford your debt payments and other expenses. Most lenders also require that you graduate first and have U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.

3. Submit a co-signer release application

Some lenders and servicers, including Sallie Mae, have co-signer release applications available online. Otherwise, contact your lender or servicer to request one.

You may need to disclose financial information including your income, housing payment and other debt payments. Your lender may also check your credit report and ask for income verification.

Co-signer release for refinanced student loans

It’s possible to apply for student loan refinancing with a co-signer.

Some student loan refinance lenders — including CommonBond, Laurel Road and PenFed — offer co-signer release. But other refinance lenders, such as SoFi and Earnest, don’t.

Last updated on July 15, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Student Loans With Fastest Co-Signer Release

Further reading