Student Loan Co-Signer Release: How to Remove Yourself From Your Child’s Loan

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When your child got that acceptance letter from their dream school, you were thrilled — until you saw just how much tuition and fees would cost.

Just one year at a private school averages a staggering $33,480. By the time they graduate, your child’s education can cost well into the six figures.

Your child might have received financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and student loans. But often the student doesn’t receive enough aid to cover the full cost of going to school.

Students might have to turn to private student loans to fill the gap. And because they don’t have an established credit history, they likely need you to be a co-signer on that debt.

Although serving as a co-signer for your child’s loans can be a big help, it can have serious ramifications on both your finances and future goals. Once your child is on their feet, getting a student loan co-signer release can help you get your finances back in control.

What is a student loan co-signer release?

Unlike federal loan servicers, private student loan lenders look at the applicant’s credit history and income to determine if they qualify for a loan. Most students don’t have full-time jobs or lengthy credit reports, so getting approved on their own is next to impossible.

A co-signer, also called a guarantor or endorser, acts as a backup. If your child falls behind on their payments, you are responsible for making them instead.

However, if you co-signed a loan in the past, you’re not necessarily stuck with that loan forever. In some cases, you might be eligible for a student loan co-signer release. If eligible, you will be removed from the loan and your child will be solely responsible for the debt.

4 benefits of a co-signer release

Co-signing a loan with your child is a kind and generous decision, but it can have serious consequences. By getting a co-signer release, you can look forward to the following perks:

  • No longer responsible for payments: If your child does not make their payments, the lender can’t come after you for the balance due.
  • Credit won’t be affected: If your child misses payments and enters default, your credit is not damaged.
  • Greater ability to get other forms of credit: Because you’re no longer responsible for your child’s debt, lenders will not consider the loan when they review your application for other forms of credit. Without a hefty student loan on your credit report, lenders are more likely to approve you for a mortgage or car loan.

Talking with your child

If you want to be released as a co-signer, it’s a good idea to first meet with your child to discuss what that means for them before filling out the application.

For a recent graduate or young professional just getting used to the real world, hearing that they will be on their own when it comes to student loans can be frightening. They might be used to having you as a safety net when they’re short on cash.

To avoid any resentment or misunderstandings, talk about why you’re seeking a student loan co-signer release. Explain to them that the loan is holding you back from buying a car or making it impossible to get a loan to do necessary home repairs. If you can’t afford to make the payments, be honest about that, too.

Once your child understands your rationale, you can emphasize some of the benefits a co-signer release has on them:

  • Greater independence: Without you as a co-signer, your child won’t have to update you on the status of their loans and payments. That change can be freeing and a great relief.
  • Less friction in the family: When your child takes responsibility for the loan, there is less resentment in the family. Because you don’t have to worry about payments anymore, they don’t feel hounded or guilty about their financial decisions.

How to apply for a co-signer release

Unfortunately, getting released as a co-signer isn’t as easy as calling your lender and asking to be removed. In fact, not all lenders offer co-signer releases. Before you get started, make sure a release is something your lender offers.

If a co-signer release is possible, you’ll generally have to meet the following criteria:

    • You have made up to 36 months worth of payments: To be eligible for a co-signer release, the loan account must be in good standing. That means you have made regular, on-time payments.
      Unfortunately, it can be years before you can qualify. While Navient only requires 12 months of payments, for example, Citizens Bank requires 36 months of payments.
    • Your child graduated: To apply for a student loan co-signer release, your child must have proof of their completed degree, such as a copy of a diploma or official transcript.
    • Your child has a sufficient credit score and income: Your child must be able to demonstrate that they make enough money to cover the loan payments, and their credit score must meet the lender’s minimum requirements.

If you and your child meet the requirements, you’re ready to complete the application process. Every lender has their own specific process to apply for a cosigner release, and most require the primary borrower (your child, in this case) to initiate the process.

It’s a good idea to call or email the loan servicer directly for instructions, but most lenders require the following steps:

    • Complete an application: The application will ask about your child’s income, expenses, and other forms of debt.
    • Include documentation: When you mail in the application, the lender will likely require your child’s Social Security number, proof of graduation, and proof of income, such as a W-2, recent pay stub, or tax return. Some lenders will also ask for information about other debt, and will ask your child to submit a copy of their lease or car loan statement.
    • Submit your application: Either submit the application online or mail the completed form and required documentation to the address the lender listed.

Once the lender receives your application, they will typically look up your child’s credit history and review the documentation. The decision to release you from the loan or not is entirely up to their discretion, and it can take several weeks for them to make a decision.

In the meantime, make sure your child stays current on loan payments so a late bill doesn’t ruin your application.

Finally free of student loans

Getting approved for a student loan co-signer release can be a huge relief. Without that financial weight on your back, you’re free to focus on your own finances and well-being.

Because you no longer have to worry about making monthly loan payments, you can use that money for other goals like saving for retirement or building an emergency fund.

After being released from your child’s private loans, you can tackle other forms of education debt. If you took out federal Parent PLUS loans, there’s a solution to transfer them into your child’s name, too.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. 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. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.