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Get the FAQs about cosigning a student loan
As a cosigner, you’ll share the same responsibility for the loan repayment as the student (primary borrower). Both the cosigner and student can build their credit with repayment of the loan, but likewise, any missed payments or late payments can impact both credit reports.
Many students need a cosigner because they do not have a high enough credit score. Young college students, especially those entering their first year of college, are unlikely to have a long credit history, and therefore they start with a lower credit score. Having a cosigner who is eligible for a loan could raise the chances of loan approval for a student.
If a student has a low credit score, it is not necessarily a reflection of their creditworthiness. Once the student begins making timely student loan payments, their credit will usually improve.
Becoming a student loan cosigner on a private student loan is different from a Parent PLUS Loan or other forms of federal student aid.
Private lenders usually ask for a credit check on a cosigned loan and may have different credit requirements. The loan terms–such as the repayment plan and interest rates–are dictated by the lender and may vary based on what comes up during the credit check.
While federal loan options don’t always cover the full costs of attendance, a private lender can help cover any leftover amounts. Federal loans tend to have a maximum borrowing amount, while a private student loan may offer a larger loan amount.
Some private lenders provide an extended grace period or deferment, giving the student more time to start paying off the loan. Because a cosigned loan means both you and the student are financially responsible for the loan amount, any missed payments may impact your credit score.
A Parent PLUS Loan is a federal loan program that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college. The interest rate, repayment term, and grace period are set by the government. You can apply for a Parent Plus Loan here, and your student can use the FAFSA® website to apply for federal aid.
You’ll have access to an online loan dashboard to set up payments, access loan documents, and view loan details. You can check how the repayment process is going and how much longer your student has left to pay on the loan.
We do not offer a cosigner release option at this time; however, we do offer student loan refinancing. If your student chooses to refinance, the new loan will be in the student’s name without a cosigner.
To refinance student loan debt, the student borrower must apply and pass a credit check with their chosen lender. Refinancing may result in a lower interest rate or lower monthly payments, but this is not guaranteed.
If your student chooses to refinance with a private lender like Earnest, they will have the option to switch to a variable interest rate from a fixed interest rate loan and vice versa.
Refinancing is subject to the following eligibility requirements.
Generally speaking, a student loan cosigner is a creditworthy individual who is equally responsible for paying back the loan. This person is often a parent, but can also be another family member, guardian, etc.
Please keep in mind our minimum eligibility criteria for cosigners:
- A U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
- 3+ years of good credit history
- A minimum credit score of 650
- No history of bankruptcy
- Minimum yearly income of $35,000 (in USD)
- The cosigner must be the age of majority as defined by their state of residence.
- Both primary and cosigner must live in the District of Columbia or a state that we lend in (all but NV) but they do not need to both live in the same state.
View full eligibility details on our Eligibility page.
Before applying for a private loan, make sure your student takes advantage of federal student loans, grants, and scholarships.