Getting a loan for education can be difficult. In fact, because you probably don’t have a lot of your own credit, you may not be able to get one on your own. This means you may need to have a cosigner on your loan.
There are options for you if you don’t want a cosigner, but if you’re undecided, here are some facts and answers to some frequently asked questions about student loan cosigners.
You’re Not Alone
Many students have to have a cosigner to get a student loan. This is because student loans are often based on your credit rating and because you’re so young and don’t have experience paying bills, you aren’t likely to have much of a credit rating if you have one at all. Private lenders take into account your payment records, so if you don’t have any, they may not feel comfortable taking a risk by lending you money.
This means you’ll need someone who does have a good credit history to cosign with you on the loan. They are essentially vouching for your creditworthiness by risking their own money because if you default on the loan (stop making payments), they will become responsible for your loan. You could ruin their credit (and your own) if you don’t make your payments on time and in full.
But nearly all students are in this position, so don’t feel bad if you need a cosigner because it’s perfectly normal not to have credit at your age.
Cosigners Don’t Have to be Parents
Most students assume their parents will need to cosign their student loan, but if your parents aren’t able to cosign because of their own poor credit or because they don’t want to be responsible for your loan, you can get anyone who has good credit to be your cosigner.
A cosigner is simply the person who takes responsibility for paying back the loan, so if you have a grandparent, aunt, or even a good family friend who is willing to be a cosigner, a bank should not have a problem with that.
Be aware that only one person can be a cosigner on a loan, so even if you have more than one person who is willing to cosign your student loan, only one can actually do it.
A Cosigner Isn’t Forever
If someone in your life is hesitant about being a cosigner on your student loan, remind them that it isn’t a life sentence. Usually, once you make 12 consecutive on-time payments on a loan, you can apply to release the cosigner so that you become solely responsible for the remaining balance. Not all loans will release a cosigner, but most will. Even if you have a loan that doesn’t allow a cosigner to be removed after 12 months of payments, once your credit is established, you can refinance the loan to one that is in your name only.
Having a cosigner can help you establish your own credit so you can get a house, car, and credit cards in the future. It can also help you create good repayment habits. So, if you need a cosigner, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Just make sure you follow through on your promise to repay the loan on time and in full so they don’t regret their decision.