If you applied for a private student loan and were notified that you need to apply with a cosigner, you’re not alone. Over 90% of private student loans include a cosigner, which is an individual – usually a parent or guardian – who is willing to take equal responsibility for the loan alongside you, the primary borrower.
Why do I need a cosigner?
To assess your ability to repay your student loan, private lenders typically require a credit and income check. Given that most borrowers are fresh out of high school or in their early twenties, many do not have a credit history, or if they do, their credit score is low.
Credit history is built over time through credit cards, mortgages, car loans, etc., and many students have not yet encountered these responsibilities. As a result, student borrowers are often prompted to apply with a cosigner, who has an established income and a history of repaying debts on time.
Who can be a cosigner?
When considering who can cosign your loan, the most important trait is reliability and good credit. This will not only help you secure your loan, but possibly lower your interest rate, as well.
A lower interest rate can make a big difference in the amount of money you’ll owe, overall.
How can I find a cosigner?
When thinking about how to find a cosigner, consider this question: “Who do I know will be sitting at my graduation, cheering me on as I walk across the stage to receive my diploma?”
By starting here, you will identify individuals who are invested in your success and achievement. Parents and guardians are a great place to start. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, or older siblings can also be good options.
Once you identify the person who can be a cosigner, gather and organize all of the information about the loan in preparation for any questions your cosigner might have.
Here are a few they might ask:
- Why are you applying for this loan?
- How much are you applying for?
- Who is the lender?
- Why do you need a cosigner?
When approaching someone to cosign your loan, be sure to communicate that you intend to be trustworthy and repay your loan on time. Your cosigner is equally responsible for your loan, so any missed payments by you will also affect their credit history.
If they ask why you’re applying for this loan, it would be a good idea to show them your school of choice, the cost of attendance, and any other financial aid you’ve already received, and the remaining balance you need the loan to cover. This will keep your cosigner informed and will help them understand why the loan is necessary. Opening up about your finances to a person you trust could be helpful – they may be able to offer advice on how to best navigate repaying the loan and life beyond college.
At College Ave, we can provide you with an email that you can send directly to your cosigner. This email contains useful information about applying for a student loan as a cosigner, but we recommend first having an in-person discussion with the individual you plan to ask.
How do I know if my cosigner will qualify?
At College Ave, we offer a credit pre-qualification tool that will tell you if your credit qualifies for a loan and what interest rates you can expect. This can be filled out prior to applying. After asking your cosigner, it is a good idea to have that individual use the pre-qualification tool, too, to see if their credit qualifies.
For more information on cosigners, check out: What is a Private Student Loan Cosigner?