How To Get A Student Loan Co-Signer Release

If you are applying for a private student loan and don’t qualify on your own based on credit or income, you may need a co-signer. A co-signer is a person who agrees to be responsible for the loan if you can’t repay it.

This is a big commitment because the person agreeing to be your co-signer—typically a family member or close friend—is taking a risk. Afterall, it’s not just your credit that will be affected if you miss student loan payments. Their credit will take a hit, too.

Still, you may be able to settle any fears they have in making this commitment by offering them a way to eventually get out of the responsibility. Some private student lenders offer to release co-signers after you’ve met certain requirements, like making a certain number of on-time payments.

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What Is a Student Loan Co-Signer Release?

A co-signer release is when the lender agrees to take the co-signer’s name off the loan because you now have sufficient credit and income to qualify for the loan on your own. This generally occurs because you’ve been in the workforce for at least a year after graduation and have focused on building good credit.

Co-signer release is only an option on private student loans. Federal unsubsidized and subsidized loans don’t require co-signers and have no established credit or income expectation to qualify. Federal PLUS loans may require an endorser, which is essentially the federal government’s version of a co-signer. This type of loan doesn’t allow endorser releases either for parents or graduate students.

Each private student lender determines the requirements necessary for releasing a co-signer. But most lenders likely will examine your history of on-time payments, credit score and income. Check with your lender for its specific rules for private student loan co-signer release and ask for it in writing if possible.

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How to Qualify for a Student Loan Co-Signer Release

Co-signer releases are granted based on your ability to repay the loan on your own. Follow these steps to ensure you’ve put yourself in the best position to win release:

  • Learn your lender’s co-signer release rules. You’ll want to know if the lender requires anything beyond good income, credit and payment history. For instance, lender Sallie Mae may prevent you from receiving a co-signer release on your private student loan if you have a federal student loan and switch from the standard repayment plan within 12 months prior to seeking a co-signer release. If you didn’t know this prior to beginning repayment, you could make the wrong decision for your financial goals.
  • Make all student loan payments on time and in full. If you recently graduated, check with your lender to find out the date the first monthly payment is due, so you don’t miss any monthly payments.
  • Improve your credit score. The best way to build great credit is to make all debt payments on time and keep credit card balances low. Payment history and amount owed in revolving debt account for 65% of FICO credit scoring. The amount you owe on your student loans doesn’t affect your credit score.

Lenders that Allow Co-Signer Release

Not all lenders provide co-signer releases, but many do. Before borrowing from a private lender, you should call them to make sure the program hasn’t changed. Lenders can make changes to their co-signer release options at any time.


Ascent offers co-signer release after 12 consecutive, on-time payments of both the full interest and principal due each month. You must also be a U.S. citizen, meet income and credit requirements that show the ability to repay student loans without help from a co-signer and sign up to make automatic payments.

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College Ave Student Loans

College Ave Student Loans will not approve a co-signer release unless more than half of the repayment period has passed and you’ve made the last 24 consecutive payments on time without any need for temporary payment breaks. If your repayment plan was for 10 years, you’d have to wait for more than five years to ask for a co-signer release.


CommonBond requires three years of consecutive on-time payments before it will approve a co-signer release. Your loan has to meet credit and income standards, but, unlike some other lenders, your federal student loan repayment plan likely won’t affect your approval for a CommonBond co-signer release.

Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal offers co-signer release on private student loans after 24 months of on-time, consecutive full principal and interest payments without any temporary breaks from payments. The exception from the temporary breaks from payments are in-school deferments and grace periods. Payments have to be made by the 15th of each month. You must also prove income and pass a credit check.

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae offers a co-signer release option after 12 on-time payments that cover principal and interest. You must also be old enough to sign a contract (18 in most states), provide proof of completing the education program you attended with the loan money, be a U.S. citizen, provide W2s or other income proof and have had no loan in hardship or other modified payment programs.

If you may need a longer repayment term than the 10-year standard repayment option, wait to change your payment plan after you receive the co-signer release. Ask the co-signer to help you make payments if needed to get through the first year of payments on the standard 10-year repayment plan.

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Alternatives to Co-Signer Release

If you don’t qualify for co-signer release or your lender doesn’t offer it, there are a few alternatives to consider that may help release your co-signer from responsibility sooner:

  • Repay your loans faster. Sending in an extra $5 to $10 per month or more can help you pay off your loan faster. Then you and your co-signer can become debt-free sooner.
  • Choose a different federal student loan repayment plan. You can reduce your monthly student loan payments by choosing an income-driven repayment plan on any federal student loans you’ve taken out. Use the monthly savings to pay off your private loans with co-signers faster.
  • Refinance student loans. When you refinance your private student loans under your own name, the new loan may not need a co-signer. The bonus? You could reduce the interest rate you’re paying as well.
  • Take out a home equity loan. If the balance is relatively small, you may decide to borrow against the equity in your home to repay your student loan debt.
  • Pay off the loan with a credit card. It may be tempting to pay off student loan debt when you get a 0% interest offer from your credit card company. However, these offers generally only last 12 to 18 months. Then your interest rate generally jumps back to your normal rate. Make sure you can pay off the loan within the promotional time frame to avoid paying the higher interest.

Bottom Line

Getting a co-signer release frees you from your family member or other co-signer being responsible for your loan. To have the best chance of getting a co-signer release, know the rules your lender sets out for your release and follow them, make monthly payments in full and on time and build good credit.