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Co-Signing a Student Loan: Some Things to Consider

Many parents feel strongly that a college education is one of the most important opportunities their student can have. So if you’re wondering about whether or not to co-sign a student loan, it’s important to know the facts.

First, make sure your own financial life is in order

Saving for your retirement takes priority over helping your student pay for college, as does paying off any debt you may have. Here’s why. Your student is likely to have other options to pay for college, including scholarships, grants and federal student loans. Your ability to enjoy a financially secure retirement, however, depends on what you set aside, so don’t shortchange your retirement to pay for education. Your financial well-being comes first.

It’s a significant responsibility for you

Don’t overlook what co-signing a student loan means for you. It’s a significant responsibility — one with long-term ramifications — including the following:


  • You’re legally obligated to repay the loan according to the terms of the agreement if your student is unable to fulfill the loan obligation.
  • Late or missed payments will be reflected on your credit history and that of your student.
  • If you fail to pay back the loan, you’ll be in default, which could damage your credit rating and your eligibility for future loans, and result in legal action.
  • If you ever file for bankruptcy, your responsibility for paying back the student loan will not be discharged.


Should you choose to co-sign a loan for your student, make sure you have a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities at the outset, so read and keep copies of all loan documents.

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