Co-Signing

I Co-Signed For a Student For My Ex-Girlfriend And I Want It Off My Credit Report

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I co-signed on my ex-girlfriend’s student loan. The loan is now in collections. I am in the process of trying to qualify for a home loan, and the student loan is showing up on my credit report.

Is there any way I can be released as a co-signer on this student loan?

Nick

Answer:

Dear Nick,

Yes, pay it off in full or see if the lender will release you if you pay a substantial portion of it off. Some co-signers have negotiated a release but don’t be surprised if the amount they agree to is 50 percent or more of the debt.

Just to be clear, this is the exact role and purpose of the co-signer. The co-signer is 100 percent responsible for the debt if the person who gets the loan does not pay. The co-signer isn’t there to help them qualify. What the co-signer agrees to is to pay the loan if the borrower defaults.

As the co-signer, the loan will show on your credit report. Afterall, it is a loan you are responsible for.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

3 Comments

  • Question: if the bank didn’t trust the girlfriend enough to extend credit without a co-signer, then why would Nick trust her?

    Sincerely,
    Sympathetic-ex-Cosigner-who-ended-up-paying-in-full

    • In my experience, most people cosign for two reasons. First, they think they are just helping someone get the loan by pitching in their better credit rating. Second, they never read the paperwork and don’t realize what they are agreeing to.

      Lenders make cosigning sound harmless but it is not the lender’s responsibility to give all the pros and cons. My rule is you should never co-sign.

      I once had a loved family member take me into a car dealership to show me a car and the salesperson asked if I would cosign for them. I didn’t stop laughing until I hit the front door. No way.

      But my reaction was because I’ve seen so many bad endings with these things. On the flip side, when I was 18 I purchased a motorcycle and a co-worker cosigned the loan. I didn’t know what it meant and I’m sure they didn’t either. Luckily it was long paid off before either of us understood the risks.

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