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Removing a Cosigner From Your Student Loans

Removing a Cosigner From Your Student Loans
Jennifer Calonia
Jennifer CaloniaUpdated December 14, 2022
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Many people have cosigners on their student loans. The backing of a creditworthy cosigner can help secure those educational funds. In fact, 92% of undergraduates who take out private loans have a cosigner. However, if you have a cosigner, you may find that situations shift over time, and it’s best to remove that person at some point. Here, you’ll learn how this process works, including:
  • When can a cosigner be released from a student loan?
  • How can a cosigner be released from a student loan?
  • What is a cosigner release form?

What Is a Cosigner on a Student Loan?

Adding a creditworthy cosigner on your student loan gives you the advantage of leveraging their credit to qualify for a lower interest rate and better loan terms. This can be valuable if you have poor or no credit and need private student loans after maximizing your federal loan options. The cosigner doesn’t stand to benefit from this arrangement and, in fact, takes on the financial risk of the loan. When a cosigner signs a student loan agreement, they’re agreeing to assume financial liability if you, the primary borrower, fail to make your payments. Although you’re still responsible for the debt, your lender can legally seek payment from your cosigner if you’re late on a payment or default on the loan. The lender also has legal recourse to sue your cosigner to collect on your debt. Failing to make on-time payments will also adversely affect your credit and your cosigner’s credit. In addition, cosigning a student loan can raise the other person’s debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, which can impact their credit rating.Recommended: Can a Cosigner Become the Primary Borrower?

Who Can Be a Cosigner on Student Loans?

Anyone who has qualifying credit and income can act as a cosigner on your student loan. Since this type of request requires a significant amount of trust that you’ll repay the loan, a parent, grandparent, or spouse is commonly used as a cosigner. However, a close friend or mentor can also be a cosigner.Recommended: How Much Student Debt Is Too Much?

Can a Cosigner Be Removed From a Student Loan?

The answer to “Can you remove a cosigner from a student loan?” is: It depends. Generally, if a cosigner agrees to being added to a loan, they can’t request to be removed if the lender doesn’t allow what’s called a student loan “cosigner release”.If this option is offered by your lender, it will likely require that you make a minimum number of timely and full monthly payments to be eligible. You’ll also need to agree to a credit check and meet the lender’s underwriting criteria to be a solo borrower on a new loan agreement. If the request is approved, you will be paying off student loans solo as now the cosigner is off the loan.

Removing a Cosigner From Student Loans

Assuming your lender allows for a student loan cosigner release, there are a few steps you’ll typically need to take to initiate a cosigner release.

1. Contacting Your Lender

Find your student loan lender or servicer and reach out to your servicer or lender directly to learn whether your loan qualifies for cosigner release. Lenders don’t typically inform you if you’ve met its requirements to remove your cosigner from the student loan. It’s advantageous to the lender to have a second person on the loan to seek repayment from. In addition to meeting the lender’s payment requirements to-date, you must typically also: 
  • Be of a legal age to enter a legal contract on your own 
  • Meet income requirements 
  • Satisfy credit requirements 
  • Meet other criteria.

2. Putting Together Your Paperwork Needed

Your lender will request supporting documentation that demonstrates you’re financially and legally able to take responsibility for the student loan account.For example, it might request proof of citizenship, proof that you graduated (such as a diploma), a current pay stub, and most recent W-2.

3. Applying For Student Loan Cosigner Release

The process of submitting a formal student loan cosigner release application varies among lenders. Typically, you’ll need to fill out the cosigner release form, sign the declaration that all of the information you’ve provided is accurate, and submit the requested supporting documentation.Depending on your lender, you might be able to complete this step by logging into your student loan account online or by submitting the form and documents via mail.Recommended: Refinancing Your Student Loans with a Cosigner

How Refinancing Student Loans Can Help Release a Cosigner

If your existing student loan lender doesn’t offer a cosigner release option, your student loan refinancing is likely going to have to take an alternative approach that doesn’t include your cosigner. Student loan refinance products are found through other private lenders. The lender will check your credit score when refinancing, as well as evaluate whether you meet its lending criteria. If you do, it repays your original loan in one lump sum. The new lender will then create a new student loan with you as the primary borrower, excluding your cosigner from the agreement. This new loan will be made for the amount that was paid on your behalf, at a new interest rate and repayment term based on your qualifications.Refinancing existing federal student loans and private student loans is possible. However, tread carefully when refinancing federal student loans as you’ll lose access to federal benefits, like loan forgiveness programs, and repayment relief options like income-driven repayment and extended deferment and forbearance. Recommended: Can You Refinance Federal Student Loans?

The Takeaway

There are an array of reasons why someone might want to remove a consigner from a student loan. Regardless of whether your current student loan lender will allow you to remove a cosigner from your student loan, you have options. If it offers student loan cosigner release and you qualify, you can request that your cosigner be removed from your loan. Otherwise, a student loan refinance might be a workaround.Determine whether you’ve satisfactorily made progress toward repaying your student loan, have built strong credit, and can reliably manage your loan payments on your own. If you believe that refinancing is the best course for you, see what rates you pre-qualify for across a handful of lenders. Lantern’s marketplace lets you see multiple lender offers to refinance your student loans in one user-friendly view. Compare student loan refinance rates the easy way!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a cosigner be removed from a student loan?
Can a cosigner remove themselves from a student loan?
Is it possible to release my student loan cosigner?

About the Author

Jennifer Calonia

Jennifer Calonia

Jennifer Calonia is a Los Angeles-based finance writer who has covered the gamut, including student loans, credit card rewards, consumer loans, and debt. Her work has been featured in outlets like Bankrate, NerdWallet, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and U.S. News.
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