Co-Signer: Do I Need One?

refinance student loans

When applying to refinance your student loan or obtain a new one, the student loan company may require a co-signer. If this happens to you, don’t worry. Many applicants need a co-signer and it is typical. Here is what you need to know.

What is a co-signer?

If you have a limited credit history, you may need another creditworthy person (e.g., a parent, spouse, relative or friend supportive of your educational goals) to help you qualify for a loan. A creditworthy cosigner is one who has strong credit and an ability to repay the student loan.

The benefit of a co-signer is that a lender considers the income and credit history of both you and the co-signer, which improves your chances of being approved for a student loan. A co-signer is equally responsible with you for the student loan obligation. You can learn more about which lenders offer co-signers and other benefits.

What is a co-signer release?

Once you have been approved for a refinanced student loan or new student loan, your co-signer may not want to be financially responsible for your student loan. In this case, some student loan companies will release the co-signer from his or her obligations to repay the student loan. This typically occurs after you have made a certain number of on-time monthly payments.

After the co-signer is released from the student loan, you will have sole financial responsibility for the student loan. Student loan companies will also want to assess your credit to ensure that you can repay the student loan on your own. You can learn more about which lenders offer co-signer releases and other benefits.

What are the requirements for a co-signer release?

While each student loan company has its own underwriting criteria, you will have to be able to demonstrate to the student loan company that once your co-signer is released that you can repay the student loan on your own. Here are some of the most common requirements:

  • You must have graduated from college
  • You must have made a certain minimum number of student loan repayments, including principal and interest (e.g., 12-36 monthly payments)
  • You are employed and meet a certain minimum income threshold
  • Your credit meets the underwriting standards of the lender

Benefits of Co-Signer Release

Most of the benefits are for the co-signer who can be released.

  • No further obligations to repay the student loan (sigh of relief)
  • Credit score improvement
  • Funds available to help co-sign other student loans (e.g., other college-bound children)

The borrower benefits as well. Yes, it can be a little scary to have sole responsibility for paying off student loans. But, it can be a confidence builder to know that you are financially responsible and have increased your independence.

Want to save money on your student loans? These lenders represent our top student loan refinancing picks for 2017, and may be able to help you save thousands of dollars on your student loans by offering lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. That’s real money back in your pocket.

Learn your new student loan interest rate in a matter of minutes.

Student Loan Refinancing – Best of the Best

LenderRates (APR)Loan Terms (Years)Get Your RateLearn More
2.75% - 7.35%5 – 152 minutesSTART SAVING
2.21% - 8.97%5, 10, 15, 202 minutesSTART SAVING
3.89% - 7.45%5, 7, 10, 15, 202 minutesSTART SAVING

Student Loan Refinancing Details – Best of the Best

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*Doc Benjamins is not a lender and does not make loans. We are a free, independent and unbiased website that helps empower borrowers so they can make more informed financial decisions. The rates, terms and other student loan information provided on this website do not legally bind Doc Benjamins or the lenders referenced herein. The rates, terms and other student loan information are estimates and may change periodically and/or differ from your final rate and terms, which may be based on your individual credit profile and other factors as determined solely by the lender. If you would like to apply for a loan, please visit the website(s) of each lender and carefully review their rates, terms and conditions for further information. Average savings is for all customers generally, and not necessarily for this product specifically.

Student Loan Refinance Comparison

SoFi members save $22,359 on average when refinancing their student loans.

Only takes 2 minutes

SoFi Overview

  • Fixed Rates: 3.50% – 6.74%
  • Variable Rates: 2.36% – 6.28%
  • Loan Repayment Terms: 5-20 years
  • Co-Signer Option
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • Includes career services, entrepreneur program, and free events
  • You must be employed or have a job offer within 90 days
  • You graduated from a Title IV accredited university or graduate program
  • Undergraduate and graduate loans
  • Federal loans and private loans

DRB members save $20,200 on average when refinancing their student loans.

Only takes 2 minutes

DRB Overview

  • Fixed Rates: 4.20% – 7.20%
  • Variable Rates: 3.64% – 6.29%
  • Loan Repayment Terms: 5-20 years
  • Co-Signer Option
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • Medical residents and fellows pay only $100/month during residency, fellowship, and 6 months after
  • You graduated from a Title IV accredited university or graduate program
  • Undergraduate and graduate loans
  • Federal loans and private loans

LendKey members save $15,270 on average when refinancing their student loans.

Only takes 2 minutes

LendKey Overview

  • Fixed Rates: As low as 3.28%
  • Variable Rates: As low as 2.21%
  • Loan Repayment Terms: 5-20 years
  • Co-Signer Option
  • No origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • You must be employed or have a job offer within 90 days
  • Over 2,200 schools and degree programs are eligible
  • Unemployment protection for up to 18 months
  • Repay 10% of your loan by the time you enter the repayment period and your interest rate will drop 1% APR
  • Undergraduate and graduate loans
  • Federal loans and private loans

CollegeAve members can choose an interest only payment plan for the first two years when refinancing their student loans.

Only takes 2 minutes

CollegeAve Overview

  • Fixed Rates: 5.74% – 11.85%
  • Variable Rates: 2.96% – 9.35%
  • Loan Repayment Terms: 5, 10, 12, 15
  • Co-Signer Option
  • No origination fees
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Choose your own loan terms (number of years for repayment)
  • Undergraduate and graduate loans
  • Federal loans and private loans

Purefy members save $19,000 on average when refinancing their
student loans.

Only takes 2 minutes

Purefy Overview

  • Fixed Rates: 3.95% – 6.75%
  • Variable Rates: 3.00% – 4.95%
  • Loan Repayment Terms: 5-12 years
  • Co-Signer Option
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • You must have two years of work experience
  • Married couples can combine and refinance their loans into a single loan
  • You must have $42,000 in annual income ($25,000 with a co-signer)
  • Credit score of at least 670 with a co-signer (or 700 without a co-signer)
  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 42% ratio
  • Undergraduate and graduate loans
  • Federal loans and private loans