My child won’t pay her student loan. Am I on the hook?


Q. I recently had a falling out with my daughter and unfortunately it’s pretty bad. I had co-signed a college loan for her four years ago. She is graduating now but says she won’t repay the loan I co-signed because of our spat and she says I will have to pay for it. Am I on the hook for this loan because I co-signed or does it go to the student after they start working?
— Getting angrier

A. This doesn’t sound good for you or for your credit report.

For starters, you should read the fine print of your loan to get the exact details of your responsibility as a co-signer.

In general, as a co-signer of a loan, you are legally and jointly responsible for the loan along with the student, said Deva Panambur, a fee-only planner with Sarsi, LLC in West New York and an adjunct professor of personal finance at Montclair State University.

“If the loan payments are missed, it will impact the credit history of both the student borrower and the co-signer,” Panambur said. “In addition, if the lender decides to take legal action to collect the loan repayment, they may go after the co-signer, who usually is in a better financial situation than the borrower.

Some loans allow a borrower to release the co-signer from their obligation, but only after the borrower has made a certain number of payments and has demonstrated the ability to service the loan going forward by showing proof of income and passing a credit review, he said.

The other way in which a co-signer may be released is when the borrower refinances the loan, which also requires proof of income and good credit, he said.

But it doesn’t sound like your daughter would be willing to do that.

You may want to discuss with her what non-payment would mean to her credit report, something that’s going to be important to her going forward.

We hope you can continue making the payments and come to an arrangement with your daughter.

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This story was originally published on May 13, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.