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Co-Signer Requirements of Student Loans Most government-issued student loans dont require a co-signer. Federal Stafford student loans and Perkins student loans are awarded to students without a credit check or co-signer. The one exception would be federal Grad PLUS loans which are credit-based graduate loans. Federal PLUS loans for parents are also credit-based and may in certain cases require a co-signer for the parents to be able to take out the loan. However the credit requirements for federal PLUS parent loans and for federal Grad PLUS student loans are much less stringent than the credit requirements for non-federal private student loans. Private student loans are credit-based loans issued by private lenders or banks.
Last week financial aid officers at Texas A&M University - a school with over 54000 students - heard from seven different lenders warning that they would no longer be able to offer federal student loans a situation that has made more than a few borrowers uneasy. Dyneche Duffield an incoming college student headed to Houston Baptist University is uncomfortable with the prospect of having to establish a relationship with a new lender other than her local bank which used to offer student loans. "I would have much rather taken out a loan there than somewhere where I didnt know anyone" Duffield said. While students like Duffield may still be able to go directly to the Department of Education for their federal college loans or find those remaining lenders who are still offering private student loans (albeit with more stringent credit criteria that are making it harder for students to qualify) the magnitude of the problem within the student loan credit markets and how deeply it has permeated the college loan industry is alarming to many administrators and officials in higher education.
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The debt from any co-signed loans will also remain on your credit report as an open obligation until the debt is repaid (or written off in the event of a default). 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself as a Co-Signer on a Student Loan So should you co-sign on a student loan? You can never predict the future and unfortunate circumstances can derail even the best-intentioned and responsible student borrower. If you do decide to co-sign on a loan (or any other loan for that matter) make sure you clearly understand what your responsibilities are and under what circumstances you would be expected to take over the note: 1) Have a firm understanding with your primary borrower about the repayment plan -- you may even want to consider putting a signed written agreement in place between the two of you -- and stay in contact with the lender to make sure that the monthly loan payments are being received on time and as agreed. If your primary borrower misses a payment date contact her or him immediately to discuss the problem.