One of the most effective ways to lower your student loan interest rate is by refinancing. If your credit isn’t good enough to get approved on your own or you’d like to get a better loan rate than you could based on your credit history, getting a cosigner might help. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of refinancing student loans with a cosigner.
Pros of having a cosigner
Student loan refinancing criteria is different from lender to lender. You might find that you don’t qualify for a loan without help from a cosigner. A cosigner is typically a family member or spouse with good credit who agrees to “co-sign” your loan. In doing so, they take on some of the responsibility for the loan should you default, and you look like a more attractive loan candidate to the lender.
The advantage of using a cosigner is that their strong credit can unlock the doors of approval on your application or get you the best rate possible on your loan.
Once your refinancing loan is approved with your cosigner, you’re both essentially co-borrowers and are responsible for the loan. Although you may be the point person for making payments as the primary borrower, the lender could seek payment from your cosigner if you miss a payment.
The benefits of a cosigner mainly serve the primary borrower. Having a cosigner is a financial and legal responsibility for both parties involved, so you both should give it careful consideration.
Cons of bringing on a cosigner
Having a cosigner is a perk for you as the primary borrower. But if you stop making monthly payments or even make a late payment, your actions could negatively affect your cosigner’s credit. This kind of misstep could make strain the relationship between you and your cosigner.
Some borrowers choose to have their spouses act as a cosigner. But if you get divorced with student loans, your ex is still on the hook for the loan. Depending on your family situation, it could be better to get a family member — such as a parent or grandparent — as a cosigner.
Student loan consolidation with a cosigner can be serious business. It can lead to messy situations if each party doesn’t uphold their obligation or if there’s a change in the relationship, such as a divorce or falling out. Make sure you understand the responsibilities of the loan repayment so you don’t jeopardize your relationships. If you do something that hurts your cosigner’s credit, they could encounter financial challenges for years to come.
Do you actually need a cosigner?
Having a cosigner can increase your chances of getting approved for student loan refinancing. If you’re thinking about applying for a refinancing loan, you might be worried if you don’t have anyone you can ask to be a cosigner. After all, asking a family member to be on the hook for your loan is a big commitment.
Whether you actually need a cosigner depends on several factors. If you have a strong credit history and the lender doesn’t require a cosigner, you likely won’t need one.
If your credit isn’t strong, and your income and employment history don’t convince the lender that you’re financially stable enough to cover the loan on your own, then you might need a cosigner.
Research various student loan refinancing companies to learn what their loan eligibility requirements are and what loan terms they offer. Then compare them to see which lender or lenders could be the best match for you and potentially for your cosigner. There’s no hard and fast rule that requires a cosigner to apply for student loan refinancing — it depends on the lender you choose and your financial situation.
Lenders that allow cosigners for student loan refinancing
Once you’ve chosen a cosigner and you both understand the responsibilities and liabilities involved, it’s time to choose a company to refinance through. The following lenders offer student loan refinancing services you might consider:
CommonBond, a student loan refinancing company, allows borrowers to add a cosigner. Its loan terms and repayment options are varied, and you can pay back your loans in five, seven, 15, or 20 years, depending on your repayment term. You might not need a cosigner if your income and credit score are in good shape. But a cosigner can boost your odds of approval if you’re not entirely confident about where you stand.
If you want to refinance student loans with a cosigner, CommonBond can be a good option as it has a “cosigner release” option after you’ve made payments for two years. Cosigner release relieves your cosigner from any financial or legal responsibility on your loan after you’ve made on-time payments for a specified period of time and are in good standing with your lender.
A release option is ideal for you and your cosigner because your prospective cosigner might be more willing to help you out if the risk they’re taking on is temporary. You have to stay on top of your payments until you’re eligible for cosigner release.
Another company that offers refinanced student loans with a cosigner is SoFi. SoFi allows a cosigner on refinance loans if you successfully complete this process::
- As the primary borrower, you’d first apply and have your application reviewed.
- To include a cosigner, log into your account and input their information.
- An invitation is sent to your cosigner, and they need to consent to the process.
- Your cosigner provides any supporting documentation for the application.
- The refinance student loan application with a cosigner is reviewed again.
- The lender notifies you and your cosigner as to whether the loan is approved or denied.
Although SoFi allows you to refinance student loans with a cosigner, it does not offer cosigner release. According to SoFi’s FAQs, “The cosigner can only be removed if they pass away, or if you chose to refinance your SoFi loan and qualify on your own.”
With no cosigner release option, your cosigner will be legally attached to the loan until it’s fully paid, so, again, consider it carefully.
Laurel Road also allows you to refinance student loans with a cosigner. During the application process, your cosigner will get an email to add their information and supporting documents. Depending on your situation, Laurel Road may offer cosigner release on a case-by-case basis. It’s best to contact the lender directly to learn more about the company’s policy.
Citizens Bank offers various financial products including student loan refinancing. You can apply for a refinancing loan with Citizens Bank and potentially get a better loan rate if you have a cosigner. After three years of on-time payments, income verification, and meeting other eligibility requirements, borrowers can apply for cosigner release.
If you’re not approved for cosigner release, you can’t reapply for cosigner release until one year later. Cosigner release is not available for Education Refinance Loan for Parents.
If you’re looking for student loan consolidation with a cosigner, check out the companies listed above that allow it and review their policies to see if they offer cosigner release. Discuss these options with your cosigner to make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you sign anything. Be sure you both feel comfortable moving forward.
Not all student loan refinance lenders accept cosigners
Not all companies accept cosigners for student loan refinancing. For example, as of March 2019, Earnest’s Help Center states that it’s working on this feature, but it doesn’t currently offer the option.
If you don’t need a cosigner, however, Earnest offers flexible student loan refinancing options and loan terms. You can customize your payments so that they fit your budget. You can also skip payments for up to a year and enroll in biweekly autopayments to save money on interest. Earnest is a bit more comprehensive in that it looks at other factors like education, savings and earning potential to determine your loan eligibility.
Lenders that don’t require a cosigner for student loan refinancing
Although having a cosigner can help you get approved for a refinancing loan, not all lenders require a cosigner. For example, you can use a cosigner to get a refinancing loan with Discover, but you don’t have to have one to get a loan through the company.
If you want to refinance student loans with a cosigner, look at the rates and terms and discuss all of the loan fine print and potential consequences with the person you’re asking to cosign. Consider the impact on your respective finances and your relationship carefully. Make sure you’re both confident in your understanding of the loan and your relationship before signing any paperwork. Choose a student loan refinancing company that can support your goals and save you money.
Have any questions? Get in touch about a student loan plan.