Private Student Loans Suck and I Can’t Dump My Cosigner

“Dear Steve,

I have a ton of student loan debt. I have around $70,000 in federal which is a ton, but manageable since I am on the income based payments and they have been great to work with. I have around $50,000 in private student loan debt that I can’t afford.

My mom is a cosigner on them and it is causing a ton of tension between us. I graduated 3 years ago and have been unable to find work in my field, and have just had a couple of temp jobs since graduation. We have 3 kids and just can’t keep up with what we are doing.

Is there any way to get the loans out of my mothers name or on an income based repayment schedule like the federal ones? I have asked the company (AES) but they have been awful to work with. Please help!! I just consolidated my federal loans with Sallie Mae, is there any way I can add my private loans in with the federal? I really need to know my options.


Dear Heather,

Private student loans and federal student loans are as different as apples and lemons. While both are student loans they operate under entirely different options when it comes to dealing with not being able to afford the payments.

As of right now the general rule of private student loans is the lender does not have to offer any help or allowances at all. Unlike federal student loans, private lenders don’t do a whole lot to help people in trouble.

While they might have some temporary programs to reduce or forgo the monthly payments these programs typically just increase the balances owed on the loans and make them that much more unaffordable in the long run.

Since these loans are with Sallie Mae it does not mean there is not some potential federal component that might get you into one of the true federal student loan forgiveness programs, as you are already aware of. I would suggest you click here for more info on how to identify if your loans might be eligible.

See also  How Can I Reduce My Student Loan Balance?

To get rid of the cosigner you’d either need the current loan holders permission or refinance the loans. There is a consortium of credit unions out there that will refinance some loans but only for people who completed their degrees and only at some schools. The bigger issue here is you’ve already demonstrated you can’t make the payments so realistically it would be unlikely you’d qualify for a replacement loan.

Beware, there are many new student loan assistance scams springing up claiming they can magically make your loans vanish. Before you leap for such a sales pitch make sure you absolutely read this.

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


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.
Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

Follow Me
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.
Steve Rhode
Follow Me

3 thoughts on “Private Student Loans Suck and I Can’t Dump My Cosigner”

  1. Sorry to read this posting. Steve is right that refinancing the loan is probably impossible. And no, you can’t “remove” a co-signer from a loan. This is why you should NEVER EVER co-sign a loan, ask anyone to co-sign a loan, or borrow money from anyone who suggests getting a co-signer.

    Odious “for-profit” colleges will push private student loans (which I would avoid like the plague) and then suggest that people get a co-signer. The for-profit college degrees are usually worthless, and it is hard to get a job after graduation.

    Worse yet, even bankruptcy cannot relive this debt. You may be saddled with it for life – and your Mom as well (for the co-signed loans).

    What really angers me is that these for-profit schools target minorities and the poor, who hope to “get ahead” in the world by getting a college degree. They charge some of the highest tuition around, and the degrees are not really worth anything (Hint: if you college advertises on a billboard, be very wary).

    So here we have someone who is trying to get ahead in life, and they end up getting behind.

    And our Congress and Government protect the exploiters by making it impossible to get out from under private student loan debt.

    Sorry to hear about the whole situation, but there is really nothing this person can do – even declaring bankrutpcy is not an option. They have to spend the rest of their lives paying off this loan.

  2. I work with high school youth and have been advising them to avoid student loan dept if at all possible. This story shouldn’t be common but as more and more people go back to school it is becoming so. What we used to think was a big amount of debt has gotten much higher. It is becoming an expectation that you will take on significant student loan debt, time for us to buck the trend.

  3. No one should ever borrow money to got to college unless they absolutely have to until Congress changes the law to allow student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy. I’ve seen too many cases where people borrow much more than they can afford and then can’t pay it back.


Leave a Comment