A good education will help you achieve your career goals, but your degree comes with a staggering price tag—one that’ll definitely hit you with sticker shock. Consider this: In 2015, the average college debt at graduation ranged from $3,000 to $53,000.
While there are plenty of scholarship, grant, loan, and refinancing options available to college students, they’re not all easy to get. In some cases, you’ll simply be able to sign on the dotted line once your applications are approved. But in other cases, such as with private student loans, you might need a co-signer—a creditworthy individual who will be legally responsible for repayment should you default, become disabled, or die.
If you’re just starting school and lack the steady income and solid credit history required for approval, a co-signer will help you clear the approval hurdle. And if you already have a student loan and that debt (and the interest that comes with it) is weighing you down, a co-signer can be your refinancing angel. In either situation, you’ll be in good company: In 2015-2016, about 94% of undergraduate private student loans included a co-signer, as did 61% of graduate private student loans.
Before you jump in, though, make sure you understand the dos and don’ts of choosing—and removing—a student loan co-signer.
(And while you’re at it, check out SoFi’s new Student Loan Debt Navigator tool to asses your student loan repayment options.)