Help a student
Variable rates start at 0.99% APR and fixed rates start at 2.94% APR with Auto Pay.
Apply now, share with your student later
Start the application for an Earnest private student loan and send it to your student when you’re ready.
- Quick and easy application
- Fast 2-minute eligibility check
- Higher chance of approval for your student
- Potentially lower interest rates
Designed for flexible repayment
Everything your student needs to stay on track with student loan payments.
- 50% longer, 9-month grace period*
- No origination fees, late fees or disbursement fees
- 4 in-school repayment options
- A Client Happiness team to answer questions or concerns
*3 months longer than most lenders
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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. In the eyes of the law, both the cosigner and student are responsible for any missed payments or late payments over the life of the loan, which 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 (many have never had a credit card). Therefore, most students start college with a lower credit score. Having a creditworthy 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.
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. Graduate students and their cosigners can apply for a different set of federal loans.
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 than federal loans.
While federal loan student 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.
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 and is approved, 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. They will also get the chance to consolidate multiple student loans into a single payment. However, refinancing is different from a Direct Consolidation Loan which is only available for federal education loans.
We offer four different payment options, including a 0.25% discount on automatic payments with Auto Pay.
- Deferred: $0 is due while you’re in school and for the first 9 months after graduation. 9 months following graduation, the full minimum monthly payments will be due. The option results in the highest accrued interest and the highest total cost of the loan. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
- Fixed: While in school and for the 9 months following graduation, you’ll make monthly payments of $25. Nine months following your graduation the full minimum monthly payments will be due.
- Interest-only: While in school and for the 9 months following graduation, you’ll make monthly interest payments to cover the interest that accrued on your loan since the last payment. Nine months following your graduation the full minimum monthly payments will be due.
- Full payment: (This option is available for cosigned loans only.) While in school and following graduation the full minimum monthly payments will be due. This option will enable you to pay the least amount of interest during the life of the loan.
Our private student loans are designed for each student’s unique needs and feature payments benefits you may not find with other student loan lenders.
- Cover 100% of the cost of attendance (tuition, room and board, books, technology, and more).
- Some of the lowest starting rates.
- Savings with AutoPay.
- Skip a payment feature.
- A grace period that is 50% longer than most lenders.
- Convenient mobile application, written in clear language you and your student can understand.
- In-house customer service that’s empowered to solve your problems.
Our loan application is created specifically to ensure that students understand their loan and how their payment choices impact their financial future.
- Free application.
- Most applicants can complete the application within 10-12 minutes.
- Student loan borrowers can run payment scenarios to ensure they make the right payment choices. Over 80% of applicants choose in-school payments thanks to this feature.
- Applicants can call, webchat, or email a knowledgeable Client Happiness rep who will answer any questions.
Generally speaking, a student loan cosigner is a creditworthy individual who is responsible for paying back the loan along with the student. This person is often a parent, but can also be another family member, guardian, or sponsor with an established credit history.
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
- Income requirements: 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.
If you need more information about qualifying as a cosigner, read the full eligibility details on our Eligibility page.
Below is a portion of our eligibility criteria for students, but we encourage you to visit our Eligibility page to see the full list.
- Student is enrolled in school full-time for College Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors. At least half-time for College Seniors.
- Student is pursuing a Bachelor’s or Graduate degree.
- School is a Title IV-qualified, not-for-profit, 4-year institution.
- You’re requesting a loan of at least $1,000.
- Past-due balances up to 365 days prior.
Before applying for a private loan, make sure your student takes advantage of financial aid first, such as filling out the FAFSA for federal student loans and grants. Also, make sure your student applies for scholarships before applying for a private student loan. At Earnest, we offer hundreds of free scholarships through our affiliate, Going Merry.