Undergraduate loan cosigners

Together you’ve got this

Cosigning a loan is a great way to help your student pay for school and succeed on their college journey.

Fixed rates
4.50%
to 14.83% APRfootnote 1
Variable rates
5.99%
to 16.33% APRfootnote 1

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount. Only the most creditworthy applicants who choose the interest repayment option may receive the lowest rate.

We keep cosigning simple

Start an application and complete your part in minutes.

It's easy, just follow these steps: 

Including info about you, your student, their school, and how much you want to borrow.

We’ll give them a code so they can fill out their part of the application, or they can complete the application with you.

Once you review all loan document, e-sign, accept loan terms, and provide any other requested info. We’ll take care of the rest with the school.

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Be there for the student who’s counting on you

Most students don’t have the credit history to take out a private loan on their own.

That’s why undergrad students are 3x more likely to be approved with a cosigner.footnote 2 A cosigner is usually a parent, but can be another responsible adult who agrees to share responsibility for the loan—in fact, 28% of the cosigners on our loan applications are someone other than a parent.footnote 3 Having a cosigner may also help a student get a lower interest rate.

87% of our new Smart Option Student Loans were cosigned.footnote 4

Feel confident about paying for school with a Smart Option Student Loan®

You and your student can get the money you need to cover 100% of college costs, including tuition, housing, books, and even a laptop.footnote 5 Plus, you’ll benefit from features that make it easy to manage your loan.

Convenient
Focus on college, not how to pay for it
  • Save time—you and your student can apply once to get money for the whole school year, instead borrowing each semester.
  • Apply again each year—96% of students who’ve been approved with a cosigner were approved again when they returned with a cosigner the following year.footnote 6
Comprehensive
We've got you covered
  • Lower the interest rate when you choose to make payments while your student’s in school.
  • Your student can apply to release you from the loan after making 12 on-time payments and meeting other requirements.footnote 7
    Learn more about cosigner release.
Customized
Repay in a way that meets your needs and save
  • Cosigning a Smart Option Student Loan may be a good alternative to taking out a Federal PLUS Loan for Parents. See which one is right for you—compare the loans.

Compare interest rate types to see what works best for your student 

The interest rate is the amount your student is charged for borrowing money. It’s based on factors like you and your student’s borrowing/repayment histories, how long you’ve had credit, and your amount of debt.

With a Smart Option Student Loan for undergraduate students, your student can choose an interest rate type that’s variable or fixed.

Fixed Rates
4.50% - 14.83% APRfootnote 1

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount.

How it works
Your interest rate does not change over time.

This might be right for your student if 
They want a predictable monthly payment to make budgeting easier. 

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount.

How it works
Your interest rate does not change over time.

This might be right for your student if 
They want a predictable monthly payment to make budgeting easier. 

Show MoreLess
Variable Rates
5.99% - 16.33% APRfootnote 1

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount.

How it works
The interest rate may go up or down as the loan’s index changes.

For more information about the index of your loan, refer to the loan’s promissory note. Changes in the financial markets may cause the index to rise or fall.

This might be right for your student if
They’re ok with more uncertainty in exchange for a potentially lower total loan cost than with a fixed rate. Keep in mind the loan payments may vary over time.

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount.

How it works
The interest rate may go up or down as the loan’s index changes.

For more information about the index of your loan, refer to the loan’s promissory note. Changes in the financial markets may cause the index to rise or fall.

This might be right for your student if
They’re ok with more uncertainty in exchange for a potentially lower total loan cost than with a fixed rate. Keep in mind the loan payments may vary over time.

Show MoreLess

What are my student's repayment options?

Your student can start paying back the loan while they’re in school to save money or wait until they’re finished. They can also choose to pay off the loan early to reduce the total loan cost—there are no penalties for early repayment.footnote 8

Pay more during school, save more
Bar chart of overall loan cost by interest compiled and loan amount where interest compiled is significantly less than the loan amount, and overall loan cost is lower compared to other repayment options

How the interest repayment option works:

Your student pays the monthly interest while they’re in school and during the 6-month grace period to lower the loan cost.footnote 1 For example, as a freshman your student may save 13%footnote 9 on the total loan cost if they choose this option instead of paying everything after school.

The grace period is the amount of time after your student is no longer enrolled in school and before principal and interest payments begin.

 


This may be right for your student if

They want to reduce the total loan cost as much as possible and can afford to pay more each month.

Keep in mind 
The loan payments will likely be larger while your student is in school and during the grace period than with our fixed or deferred options.

Pay some during school, save some
Bar chart of overall loan cost by interest compiled and loan amount where interest compiled is somewhat less than the loan amount, and overall loan cost is in between other loan repayment options

How the fixed repayment option works:

Your student pays $25 a
monthfootnote 10 while they’re in school and during the 6-month grace period to lower the loan cost.footnote 1  For example, as a freshman your student may save as much as 6%footnote 9 on the total loan cost if you choose this option instead of paying everything after school.

The grace period is the amount of time after your student is no longer enrolled in school and before principal and interest payments begin.


This may be right for your student if

They want to reduce the total loan cost and can afford to pay $25footnote 10 every month.

Keep in mind 
The total loan cost will be less than with our deferred option, but the unpaid interest will be added to the principal amount at the end of your student’s grace period.

Pay everything after finishing school
Bar chart of overall loan cost by interest compiled and loan amount where interest compiled is greater than or requal to the loan amount, and overall loan cost is higher compared to other repayment options

How the deferred repayment option works:

Your student doesn’t have to make the first payment until both their time at school and 6-month grace period have ended.footnote 1

The grace period is the amount of time after your student is no longer enrolled in school and before principal and interest payments begin.



 


This may be right for your student if 

Your student wants to have as much money available to you while they’re in school.

Keep in mind 
You and your student are likely to pay more for the total cost of the loan compared to the other repayment options.

FAQs on cosigning undergraduate student loans

Private student loans are credit-based, which means we check students’ credit when they apply. With a cosigner, students are 3x more likely to be approved.3 A cosigner is an adult with good credit, usually a parent, who shares responsibility with you for paying back the undergraduate student loan.

Being a cosigner means you’re jointly and legally responsible for repaying the loan on time and in full. So if your student doesn’t make payments for any reason, you’ll be expected to make them. Missed or late payments can have a negative impact on your credit report as well as your student’s.

Your student can apply just once a year with a single credit check and funds are sent for each term directly to their school. They can cancel future disbursements as needed with no penalty. No interest is charged until money is sent to the school, so your student can relax, knowing they’ve got the funds when they need them.

It takes about 10 minutes to apply and get a credit decision. After the loan application gets approved, your student chooses their undergraduate loan rate type and repayment options. After you both e-sign your loan documents and accept the loan terms, the loan is certified by your school. We send (disburse) the funds directly to the school. The process takes 10 business days or less from application to disbursement.

Whether they’re studying online or on campus, your student can borrow to cover the costs at a degree-granting institution, even if they’re not a full- or half-time student. The loan's flexibility makes it a good choice for many situations:

  • Attending school full-time, half-time, or less than half-time
  • Online or on-campus classes
  • Winter or summer classes
  • Study abroad
  • Professional certification courses
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident enrolled in a school in a foreign country
  • Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, including DACA students, residing in and attending school in the U.S. (with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident)

With the Smart Option Student Loan, you can select from three repayment options. While in school, you can choose to make monthly interest payments or fixed $25 payments,footnote 10—or you can choose to defer payments until after school.footnote 10 The repayment option you choose applies during school and for six months after you leave school (your grace period). After that, you begin to make principal and interest payments.

When a student applies, we look at their history of borrowing money and paying it back on time. Lenders want to know how responsible they are with credit before approving their student loan application.

Many college-bound high school students haven’t had time to build up their own credit. That’s why they apply with a cosigner, a creditworthy adult who shares the responsibility of the student loan.

You and your student will want to have your social security numbers, their school information, amount needed (remember, they can use it to pay for school-certified expenses for the entire year) as well as your financial and employment information. You or your student may start the application, however, should your student not be with you, we can send along an email with a link to their section of the application so they can fill it in later.

Get in touch!

Need assistance? We’re here to help. 

Still not sure what you need?

See all the different student loans we offer.

footnote Borrow responsibly
We encourage students and families to start with savings, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans to pay for college. Students and families should evaluate all anticipated monthly loan payments, and how much the student expects to earn in the future, before considering a private student loan.

footnote Loans for Undergraduate & Career Training Students are not intended for graduate students and are subject to credit approval, identity verification, signed loan documents, and school certification. Student must attend a participating school. Student or cosigner must meet the age of majority in their state of residence. Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents must reside in the U.S., attend school in the U.S., apply with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident), and provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID. Requested loan amount must be at least $1,000.

footnote 1. Advertised APRs for undergraduate students assume a $10,000 loan to a student who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae-serviced loans. Interest rates for variable rate loans may increase or decrease over the life of the loan based on changes to the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent.  Advertised variable rates are the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. To receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount, the borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The discount applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment.

footnote 2. Based on the percentage of borrowers who were approved for an undergraduate loan with a cosigner compared to the percentage of borrowers who were approved for an undergraduate loan without a cosigner from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

footnote 3. Based on a rolling 12-month period from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.

footnote 4. Based on approved Sallie Mae loans to undergraduate students from October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. 

footnote 5. For applications submitted directly to Sallie Mae, loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Applications submitted to Sallie Mae through a partner website may be subjected to a lower maximum loan request amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time.

footnote 6. You must apply for a new loan each school year. This approval percentage is based on students with a Sallie Mae undergraduate loan in the 2019/20 school year who were approved when they returned in 2020/21. It does not include the denied applications of students who were ultimately approved in 2020/21.

footnote 7. Only the borrower may apply for cosigner release. To do so, they must first meet the age of majority in their state and provide proof of graduation (or completion of certification program), income, and U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (if their status has changed since they applied). In the last 12 months, the borrower can’t have been past due on any loans serviced by Sallie Mae for 30 or more days or enrolled in any hardship forbearances or modified repayment programs. In addition, the borrower must have paid ahead or made 12 on-time principal and interest payments on each loan requested for release. The loan can’t be past due when the cosigner release application is processed. The borrower must also demonstrate the ability to assume full responsibility of the loan(s) individually and pass a credit review when the cosigner release application is processed that demonstrates a satisfactory credit history including but not limited to no: bankruptcy, foreclosure, student loan(s) in default or 90-day delinquencies in the last 24 months. Requirements are subject to change. 

footnote 8. Although we do not charge you a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan, any prepayment will be applied as provided in your promissory note: first to Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid Interest, and then to Current Principal.

footnote 9. Savings comparison assumes a freshman student with no other Sallie Mae loans receives a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common variable rate as of January 2023.

footnote 10. Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.28% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $182.67 and one payment of $121.71, for a Total Loan Cost of $23,134.44. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $132.53 and one payment of $40.35 for a total loan cost of $24,438.22. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years.

footnote Information advertised valid as of 5/25/2023.

footnote SALLIE MAE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS, SERVICES, AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. CHECK SALLIEMAE.COM FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE PRODUCT INFORMATION.