Paying for College

Cosigning a Student Loan

Turning to mom and dad might be your first instinct for a signature, but do you know what you’re signing up for? Do they? 

You can’t place a price on your education -—but colleges certainly can! High tuition costs can have you considering some high-dollar student loans, which may require a cosigner. Turning to mom and dad might be your first instinct for a signature, but do you know what you’re signing up for? Do they? 

What to consider when cosigning a student loan: 


  • When you take out a loan, you end up paying more than you borrow. Make sure you look at all your other options. 
  • The payments for this loan will fall to your parent if you fail to pay, which will add to their stress. Knowing that’s a possibility will add to yours. 
  • It may damage your relationship with your parent. If they’re constantly talking about finances, how long before you decide they’re just nagging? 
  • Consider what happens if you don’t graduate- you’ll still be responsible for paying back the money you borrowed. 

33% of cosigners say they didn’t fully understand the risks when they agreed to cosign. 


  • If your child is late on a payment (or misses one completely,) your credit will suffer.  
  • Being attached to this loan will increase your debt-to-income ratio, which may negatively impact your ability to take out mortgages or other loans. 
  • Remember: your student can pay for school with grants and scholarships, but you can’t take out a loan for your retirement!  
  • Don’t count on a cosigner release to get out from under your student’s debt; they are very difficult to obtain. 

The Worst Possible Scenario 

According to The Student Loan Sherpa, “If a borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled, it does not necessarily mean that the cosigner is off the hook. It is critical to understand the terms of the loan agreement and, if necessary, to have a life insurance policy in place to protect the borrower or the cosigner.” 

No one wants to borrow all that money, so it may be time to look into some alternative options: 

  •  Apply for low-dollar scholarships. Not many students apply for these, so you’ll have a greater chance of receiving the scholarship. 
  • Work while you’re in school. It may be difficult, but no one said the college experience would be easy. 
  • Choose an affordable school. Don’t let prestige cloud your decision. And parents, be sure to have an open conversation with your student about what’s affordable. 



As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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