3 Tips on How to Find a Cosigner for Your Student Loan
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Researching and applying for student loans can be challenging and confusing at times. You may come across the term “cosigner” in your research without a full understanding of what a cosigner is, or why you need a cosigner.
Depending on your eligibility to qualify for a loan on your own, some lenders may require you to add a cosigner to share the financial responsibility of your student loan with you. As a cosigner, they’re equally responsible to make payments if you can’t in the future.
Finding a cosigner is not always required, but maybe a good option if you don’t qualify for a loan in your own name for the full amount you need. Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may also help you qualify for a lower interest rate.
Understanding Cosigner Requirements
In general, a cosigner must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who meets the credit criteria set by the lender. These criteria typically include meeting a specified minimum credit score, credit history, and income level.
To give an example of what this may look like, let’s consider the Cosigned Credit-Based Loan from Ascent. Some cosigner requirements include (but are not limited to):
- Being at least 18+ years old (or the age of majority), and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Having more than two (2) years of credit history.
- Meeting a minimum credit score (which is subject to change).
- Earning a minimum gross annual income of $24,000 for the current and previous year, and submitting proof of income.
If your potential cosigner meets these criteria, they may be eligible to support you by cosigning your student loan.
3 Tips for Finding Your Student Loan Cosigner
Even if you have an amazing support system in your life, finding a student loan cosigner can be challenging. Here are three tips to help you find and secure the right person to fill this role.
1. Be Ready for the Conversation
When asking a friend or relative to be a cosigner, it’s important to show them that you’re serious about your education and understand what it means to have a student loan.
This includes having a plan to repay your loan so they don’t ever have to worry about making a payment on your behalf. Learning how to budget responsibly is one of the reasons why we incorporate financial education in our application process and could make your cosigner more confident in their decision to cosign your loan.
Make sure they know what being a cosigner involves by openly discussing the pros and cons of cosigning. This can help show them you’ve done your research and address their potential concerns.
You should also share the eligibility requirements as well as other details about your loan with your potential cosigner. If your potential cosigner is unsure about the commitment, showing them pre-qualification requirements may help. Many lenders, including Ascent, allow you to check your rates without a hard credit check.
Finding a cosigner and asking them to cosign your loan may also be easier if you select a lender that allows you to release your cosigner from their obligation once certain conditions are met. This means that after you apply to release your cosigner, you’ll need to be accepted by your lender in order to take on full responsibility for your loan so your cosigner will no longer be on the hook for missed payments.
With Ascent, you may have the option to release your cosigner after making the first 24 consecutive payments on time and in full, in addition to meeting the program requirements for a solo student borrower. These requirements include meeting necessary credit and income requirements as well as being a U.S. citizen or having permanent U.S. resident status or DACA status and setting up automatic payments. Once you’ve released your cosigner, you’ll have a greater sense of independence and financial freedom.
2. Start With Family
Your cosigner should be someone who meets the eligibility requirements and genuinely believes in you. They should be someone who wants to support your future and is excited to cheer you on throughout your path to graduation.
Your cosigner doesn’t need to be someone that’s related to you, but it’s common for cosigners to be parents, legal guardians, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, or other adult relatives. There is also a significant amount of trust involved in cosigning a loan.
When finding a cosigner for your student loan, remember: You can only have one cosigner. If you have two parents or family members willing to cosign for you, you will need to select one.
3. Find a Cosigner From Your Wider Circle
If you have a close friend or mentor you can reach out to, you can ask them if they’d be open to being your cosigner. Make sure you include them in the entire process and be open about your financial situation and your plans for repayment.
If you are unable to ask family for whatever reason, think of a trusted friend or mentor who has been there for you and wants you to succeed in achieving your goals. They may be willing to take on the financial obligations in cosigning for you.
What to Do if You Can’t Find a Cosigner
If you have exhausted your options for finding a cosigner, you may want to consider applying for a private student loan with no cosigner. If you are an eligible undergraduate junior or senior, you may be able to qualify for an Ascent outcomes-based non-cosigned student loan. Learn more about how to get a student loan without a cosigner, or explore additional types of loans for students that might help you.
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FAQs About Finding a Student Loan Cosigner
How can I pay for college?
You can pay for college with scholarships, grants, loans, or out of pocket. Many students pay for college with all of the above.
What is a student loan cosigner?
A student loan cosigner is a trusted adult U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a good credit history. They are responsible for paying your student loan if you cannot for any reason.
Why would I need to find a student loan cosigner?
You may need a student loan cosigner if you can’t qualify for a loan independently or the terms and rates you qualify for do not fit your needs.
Does my cosigner need to be my parent?
Your student loan cosigner does not need to be a parent or guardian. You can use any adult who meets your lender’s qualifications.
How do I find a cosigner?
Look for student loan cosigners within your circle of family and friends first. If those don’t work out, talk to your school about options.