About Cosigners

What is a cosigner — and when do you need one?

For a private student loan, a cosigner is an additional applicant besides the student, such as a parent or grandparent or other adult, who bears the same responsibility as the student for the loan. Being a cosigner on a student loan is a generous act. Aside from paying for college expenses outright, it's something that many parents of college-bound students consider doing for their children. But it's a decision that should be given careful thought. Here are some things to consider:

  • A cosigner is someone that is equally obligated on the loan debt for the term of the loan unless the student applies, and qualifies for, a cosigner release program.
  • A cosigner bears the same responsibility on the loan as the student — if a payment is due, and it is missed, it has the potential to hurt the credit of both the student AND cosigner.
  • On the other hand, cosigning a loan and helping the student understand the commitment on the loan, can be a good teaching moment to help foster an understanding of financial responsibility.
  • It's wise to compare the pros/cons of a private student loan versus the Federal PLUS loan or Home Equity Line, which are two alternatives to a private student loan.

Questions about being a cosigner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a cosigner important?

Many students don't have a substantial credit history or have other concerns about being approved for a private student loan, and adding a creditworthy cosigner may help them qualify and also obtain a lower interest rate.

What makes a good cosigner on a loan?

A good cosigner:

  • Has a substantial credit history
  • Does not have any serious negative items on their credit report
  • Meets their credit obligations on time
  • Is not over burdened with debt
  • Has steady employment and/or income sufficient to meet debt obligations

How is a cosigner added to a SunTrust student loan?

Adding a cosigner is easy.

How many cosigners can be on a SunTrust private student loan?

One cosigner can be on the loan. The cosigner is in addition to the student.

Can a cosigner be released from the loan?

Yes, a cosigner can be released from liability after either 36 or 48 months consecutive on-time monthly principal and interest payments, as set forth in the Credit Agreement. Students must also meet credit criteria on their own.1 Learn more about the Cosigner Release Process.

What if there is an unfortunate event, such as death or disability, of the student borrower?

In the event of the student borrower's death or permanent disability, the SunTrust private student loan will be forgiven. Proper documentation is required and the cosigner won't be responsible for repayment of any remaining balance on the loan.2

With the In-School Refinance Option, transfer an existing private student loan balance to your new SunTrust loan.


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Important Information About These Products

Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. View and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans.

Union Federal is a federally registered trademark of Cognition Financial Corporation used by SunTrust Bank under license. The Union Federal Private Student Loan is funded by SunTrust Bank and is not offered in connection with any other lender or the federal government. Cognition Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of SunTrust Bank.

Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue these programs without notice. These loan programs are subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.


A cosigner may be released from the loan upon request to the servicer provided that the student borrower is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien and has met credit criteria, and the first 36 consecutive monthly principal and interest payments have been made on‐time (received by the servicer within 10 calendar days after the due date). Alternatively, if no late payments have been made, the cosigner release request can be made prior to the end of the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments if you have prepaid part of your loan and the aggregate amount that you have paid equals the amount that would be due over the first 36 months of scheduled principal and interest payments, based on the monthly payment amount in effect when you make your payment(s). Cosigner release may not be available if a loan is in a forbearance status.


If the student dies after any part of the loan has been disbursed, and the loan has not been charged off loan due to non‐payment or bankruptcy, then the outstanding balance will be forgiven if the servicer is informed of the student's death and receives acceptable proof of death. If the student becomes totally and permanently disabled after any part of the loan has been disbursed and the loan has not been charged off due to non‐payment or bankruptcy, the loan will be forgiven upon the servicer's receipt and approval of a completed discharge application. If the student borrower dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled prior to the full disbursement of the loan, and the loan is forgiven, all future disbursements will be cancelled. Loan forgiveness for student death or disability is available at any point throughout the life of the loan.

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