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I Co-Signed for a Sallie Mae Student Loan for an Ex-Boyfriend. – Lisa

“Dear Steve,

When I was 18 I co-signed a Sallie Mae loan for my boyfriend. I am now 29 and we broke up about 2 years ago.

He has fallen on hard times and stopped paying his loans and they are coming after me for the money.

It is damaging my credit and I may need to move back in with my folks to cover the debt each month. He will not answer phone calls or emails from me.

My question is, is there anything I can do to get out of this?


Dear Lisa,

You are SKAREWED. A cosigner is solely and jointly responsible for the debt in case the other party fails to pay. You have all of the liability and none of the benefit of the loan.

I know at the time that co-signing seemed like a reasonable thing to do. It’s not. Consider this a hard lesson learned. Unfortunately.

If you could chase down your ex-boyfriend and poke him in the side to start making or at least contributing to the payments, that’s one thing you can do.

Since it is a private student loan it can’t be discharged in bankruptcy unless it has expired under the statute of limitations, which it does not sound like yours has, then your best choice would be to pay the loan off to get out from under it if your ex-boyfriend can’t or won’t pay.

Until that loan is satisfied it will appear on your credit report and hurt your credit. I know that’s not the answer you wanted to hear, I’m just being honest.

Depending on the amount of the outstanding loan, and hopefully it’s not too huge, an unsecured debt consolidation loan through Propsper or might be a smart choice to find the money to payoff the loan and get a more affordable monthly payment.

At the very least, use this as an important life lesson. Whenever someone asks me if I’d cosign for them I bust out laughing. There’s no freaking way. And that’s a lesson that will serve you will for the rest of your natural life.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • Emily Debt Crusher

    There should be PSAs (public service announcements) for student loans. I call them the unforgivable sin. Everyone thinks they’re “good debt” because after all, you’re getting an eduction, but no one looks at the true cost v. earning power.

    The biggest bummer in your situation is that you didn’t get the eduction, your ex-boyfriend did. In a divorce situation an education is considered an asset and its value is taken into consideration when dividing up the “stuff”, but you didn’t get that either doggone it.

    This is one you suck up and learn an expensive lesson from. Take heart because this may save you tons in the future.

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