Becoming a Private Student Loan Co-signer

Most students, especially dependent undergraduate students, don’t have enough income or credit history to be approved for a private student loan. That’s where you come in. By becoming a private student loan co-signer, you not only help your student get approved for a loan, you might also help him/her lower the interest rate and fees, and increase the amount he/she needs to borrow.

Most lenders allow friends, parents or other family members to become cosigners. The most important requirement is that you are an adult who is willing to share the responsibility of the loan with the student. Remember, the loan will show up on your credit report, and you will also be responsible for making sure it gets paid back. However, the student will receive all of the monthly bills, and be primarily responsible for making payments.

Credit Requirements

Before you apply as a private student loan co-signer, make sure that you have the following basic qualifications:

  • A good credit history of borrowing, charging and repayment with few or no late payments on their credit report
  • No excessive delinquencies, judgments, accounts that have been charged off or bankruptcies that were pending, filed or discharged in the past two years
  • No prior student loan defaults
  • Be a U.S. citizen and 18 years or the age of majority in your state
  • Verifiable income

You can always check your credit report for free (once per year) at if you need to review your credit history or check for inaccuracies on your credit report.

Other College Loans for Parents

If you are the parent of a college student, make sure that your student has maximized Federal Stafford Loan funds before using any private student loans. There are also college loans for parents available through the federal government (Federal PLUS Loan Program). Federal college loans for parents are made in your name, not the student’s, and have a fixed interest rate of @PLIRCurrent% with an origination fee of @PLOFCurrent%. If you prefer that your child have a loan made in his/her name, you may still need to help them obtain the loan by becoming a private student loan co-signer. If you are not yet familiar with financial aid or college loans for parents, check out our sections on Parent Student Loans and College Financial Aid.

How to Apply

Most private loan lenders will allow you to complete an application online. You’ll likely need the following information to complete a private loan online application:

  • Driver's license
  • Income and employment information
  • Monthly house payment
  • Social Security Number and/or proof of citizenship

You may be asked to provide proof of your income during the application process.