How To Remove A Co-Signer From A Student Loan

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Your student loan co-signer helped you out when you needed it most. Taking financial responsibility and vouching for a college student is a big risk. They put their credit on the line. But now you’re ready to spread your financial wings and fly solo. You’re ready to remove your co-signer and become the sole borrower. The only problem is, can you really break up with your co-signer without it being a big, complicated mess? Sure!

Let’s get into how to remove a co-signer from a student loan.

How co-signers on student loans work

A co-signer on a student loan is someone who agrees to be held responsible for the repayment of the loan if the primary borrower fails to make payments. The co-signer must have good credit and is usually a parent, grandparent, or another relative who trusts the borrower to repay the loan but desires additional protection against default. The co-signer may be asked to provide proof of income and/or assets and agrees to take responsibility for any missed or late payments. 

Having a co-signer can increase the chances of getting approved for a student loan with more favorable terms, as lenders view a co-signer’s credit history and income as further assurance of the primary borrower’s ability to repay the loan. It can also mean lower interest rates and better repayment options because lenders are taking on less risk by not solely relying on one party’s financial situation. It’s important to note that if the primary borrower defaults on payment, both parties will suffer consequences such as damaged credit scores and potential legal action.

Reasons for removing a co-signer from a student loan

There are several reasons someone may want to remove a co-signer from their student loan agreement. Here are a few common ones:

1. Improved credit score

If the borrower has been making regular on-time payments and has improved their credit score since taking out the loan, they may be able to qualify for a loan without a co-signer.

2. Financial independence

The borrower may want to establish financial independence and take full responsibility for their loan payments without relying on a co-signer.

3. Co-signer’s request

The co-signer may want to be released from their obligation and no longer be responsible for the loan repayment.

4. Relationship changes

If the co-signer and the borrower had a falling out or if there have been significant changes in their relationship, the borrower may want to remove the co-signer from the loan agreement.

Common requirements for removing a co-signer from a student loan

Before you can really end the borrower/co-signer relationship, certain requirements must be met. Here are a few of the most common requirements you’ll need to check off your list:

1. Credit score requirements

Just like when you applied for your student loan, the loan provider will want to check your credit score to ensure that you can handle the loan payments on your own. 

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2. Income ratio requirements

Your lender will need to know you can afford the loan alone. You’ll need to prove you meet its minimum income requirements. Lenders want to see a steady and stable source of income. Prepare to provide pay stubs and tax returns.

3. Repayment history

The loan provider will want to see a solid payment history to make sure you’ve been making on-time payments and are responsible with your finances. 

4. Proof of graduation 

This assures the lender that the loan was used for its intended purpose and that no further assistance is necessary for it to be repaid in full. However, not all lenders will request this information.

5 steps to remove a co-signer from a student loan

The process for removing a co-signer from a student loan can vary depending on the details of your loan. These are the general steps you’ll need to take:

1. Consult with your lender

Call your loan provider and ask about the co-signer release process. It will be able to provide you with the necessary paperwork and guide you through the steps.

2. Follow through with their policies

Ensure you meet their specific eligibility requirements. If you want to review your credit report beforehand, you can get a free copy of your report from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – at

3. Submit the co-signer release application

Fill out the co-signer release paperwork and submit it to the loan provider. The application typically asks for your information and the co-signer’s information as well as loan details. Make sure to double-check that you’ve included all the necessary documents and information. 

4. Provide any required documents 

You’ll need to provide the loan provider with proof of income, payment history, and credit score. So dig up those pay stubs and get ready to show off your financial responsibility.

5. Wait for approval or denial of your request

After submitting a co-signer removal request, it’s important to be patient and wait for the loan provider’s response. The time it takes to receive a decision can vary depending on the loan provider, but it typically takes several weeks.

What to do if you can’t release a co-signer from your student loan

Some lenders won’t accept a co-signer release because of credit, income, or other reasons. But all hope isn’t lost. You still have options. 

1. Consider refinancing

When you refinance the loan, your existing loan is paid off, and a new loan takes its place – one without a co-signer. But you’ll want to be careful because the interest rate could be higher and the payments may increase. 

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2. Try a debt repayment strategy

One potential strategy to consider is implementing a debt repayment plan. This helps you pay off your loan faster, and it may help you demonstrate to the loan provider that you are financially responsible and able to handle the loan on your own. 

3. Work toward improving your credit score

If you couldn’t remove the co-signer because of your credit score, take some steps to get your score up and apply in a few months. Here are some tips to boost that score quickly:

4. Pay your bills on time

One of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. Make sure to pay all of your bills on time each month to avoid late fees and negative marks on your credit report.

5. Reduce your credit card balances

Another factor in your credit score is your credit utilization — how much of your available credit you’re using. Aim to keep your balances below 30% of your total credit limit.

6. Don’t close accounts

Closing existing accounts can cause more harm than good when it comes to improving your credit score quickly as it reduces the amount of available revolving credit you have, thereby increasing your overall credit utilization ratio and harming your score. 

7. Consider secured cards

If you have a low or nonexistent credit history, applying for a secured card can help build a solid foundation for improving your fast ratings over time as long as you make regular payments and keep balances low relative to the card’s limit.

Approval is needed to cut ties

Although you may feel you’re capable and ready to take sole responsibility for your student loan, the lender has to agree for it to happen. It has the final say and power to keep you and the co-signer together (financially speaking) until the debt is paid in full. The easiest route is a co-signer release. But your lender might not accept that. In that case, you’ll want to explore refinancing, paying off the loan early, or working to improve your credit and asking the lender again in a few months.


Can a co-signer be removed from a student loan?

A co-signer can be removed from a student loan if certain requirements are met. Generally, this requires the borrower to demonstrate their ability to make payments on the loan and maintain good credit standing for a period of time.

How long is a co-signer responsible for a student loan?

A co-signer is typically responsible for a student loan until the loan is paid off in full or until the loan is refinanced without the co-signer. This means that the co-signer will be legally obligated to make payments on the loan if the borrower is unable to make payments for any reason.

What happens if a co-signer does not pay

The co-signer will also likely experience damage to their credit score because the loan appears on their credit report and can remain there for up to seven years — even after it has been paid in full. The co-signer is legally obligated to repay the loan if the primary borrower defaults or files for bankruptcy, so this is an important consideration when agreeing to cosign a loan.

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