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Important things to know when considering a cosigner

Applying with a cosigner is easy

Are you and your cosigner ready to apply? Apply now.
Are you ready to cosign an existing application? Enter your confirmation number.

Questions about applying with a cosigner?

Call us at 1-888-272-5543.


Sallie Mae's private student loans reward our more creditworthy customers with better interest rates and lower fees.

If you're a student with little or no credit history, it may be difficult for you to qualify for a loan without a creditworthy cosigner. That's particularly true now, as lenders tighten their credit criteria.

But there's good news: Having a creditworthy cosigner has many benefits, including the possibility of substantial savings on your total loan cost.

Who should you ask to be a cosigner?

A wide range of individuals can be a cosigner as long as they are creditworthy, understand and accept the responsibilities of being a cosigner, and meet any specific cosigner requirements of the lender.

A creditworthy cosigner is an individual with good or excellent credit and an ability to repay the loan.

You may want to ask:

  • A parent or guardian
  • A relative such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin
  • Your spouse
  • Another individual who is supportive of your higher education goals

Still not sure? Consider this: Who's the first person you'd invite to your graduation? That person might be the one you ask to be the cosigner.

Select a cosigner who has demonstrated

  • The ability to pay. When Sallie Mae® evaluates cosigners, we look at their ability to pay which includes comparing the cosigner's total debt to their total income and the amount of student loans they already have.
  • Stability. We look at how long the cosigners have lived at their current address, whether they have a stable job, and whether they have an established credit history.
  • Willingness to pay. We consider the cosigners' credit scores and their payment history on other types of credit, including credit cards, mortgages, and automobile loans.

How should you ask someone to be a cosigner?

Be confident. Tell your potential cosigner what you plan to do with the education you receive and let him or her know that cosigning will help you achieve one of your life's goals. Remind your cosigner that he or she could also help you qualify for a better interest rate on your loan.

Be sure to remind your cosigner about Sallie Mae's cosigner release.1 After you graduate and demonstrate that you can handle principal and interest payments, you can apply to release your cosigner from your loan. If approved, your cosigner has helped you when you needed it the most and is now released from the responsibility of the remainder of the loan.

So choose your cosigner wisely, and you'll reap more of the benefits that having a creditworthy cosigner can offer.

Benefits of applying with a creditworthy cosigner

  • A greater chance of getting approved for your loan
    When you apply with a cosigner, Sallie Mae considers the income and credit histories of both you and your cosigner. A cosigner with a long history of good credit may be able to help if you have a limited credit history and enable you to qualify for the loan.
  • The possibility of a lower interest rate
    The more creditworthy the cosigner, the greater potential there is for you to receive a lower interest rate on your loan. And a lower interest rate can mean significant savings over the life of your loan.
  • An opportunity to establish a credit history
    Having a good credit history can help you get favorable rates on a car, a home, and other purchases after you graduate.

Responsibilities of a cosigner

  • Fill out the application. Both a student and a cosigner can apply together by clicking one of the apply links on this page.
  • The cosigner is equally responsible for the loan obligation.

Cosigner release

1To qualify for cosigner release, the borrower must have successfully completed school, made 12 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments for Smart Option Student Loan or Career Training Smart Option Student Loan (other Sallie Mae private loan products may have different minimum on-time principal and interest payment requirements, please contact us for details at 1-888-272-5543), meet age of majority requirements, and meet the underwriting requirements when the request for cosigner release is processed. The borrower's account must remain current until the request for the cosigner release is processed. The borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at the time the cosigner release is processed.