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How to Release Your Student Loan Co-Signer

You must make on-time payments for at least a year and meet the lender's credit and income requirements on your own.
Oct. 12, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
how-to-release-co-signer
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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 92% of new undergraduate private student loans in 2017-18 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. Here’s how.

How to remove a co-signer from a student loan

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.

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 and Navient, 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.

Private student loans with co-signer release

LenderNumber of on-time payments requiredGet started
Ascent_FullColor_Stacked_Logo

5.0 NerdWallet rating
The first 24 consecutive payments.
Ascent review
CommonBond

5.0 NerdWallet rating
24 consecutive payments.
CommonBond review
RISLA
5.0 NerdWallet rating
24 consecutive payments.
RISLA review

4.5 NerdWallet rating
The most recent 24 consecutive payments, after at least half of the schedule payment period has elapsed.
College Ave review
sallie-mae
4.5 NerdWallet rating
The most recent 12 payments.
Sallie Mae review
Wells_Fargo_4c
4.5 NerdWallet rating
The first 24 consecutive payments, or 48 consecutive payments if the first payment wasn't on time.
Wells Fargo review
Citizens One
4.0 NerdWallet rating
36 consecutive payments.
Citizens One review

4.0 NerdWallet rating
12 to 36 consecutive payments, depending on the lender.
LendKey review
navy_federal_credit_union_logo-55x270
3.5 NerdWallet rating
24 consecutive payments.
Navy Federal Credit Union review
PNC
3.5 NerdWallet rating
48 consecutive payments.
PNC review
SunTrust Private Student Loan Review
3.5 NerdWallet rating
The first 36 consecutive payments.
SunTrust review

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.

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