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.
» MORE: Can you refinance student loans?
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
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
|Lender||Number of on-time payments required||Get started|
|24 consecutive payments.||
|The most recent 24 consecutive payments, after at least half of the schedule payment period has elapsed.||
College Ave review
|24 consecutive payments.|
|The most recent 12 payments.||
Sallie Mae review
|The first 24 consecutive payments.||
|The first 24 consecutive payments, or 48 consecutive payments if the first payment wasn't on time.|
|12 to 36 consecutive payments, depending on the lender.||
|36 consecutive payments.||
Citizens One review
|24 consecutive payments.|
|48 consecutive payments.|
|Available after 36 on-time, monthly principal & interest payments.||
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.