THE BLOG
09/08/2014 03:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What is the Best Way to Get Off a Sallie Mae Student Loan as Cosigner?

Huffington Post Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I cosigned a student loan for a friend in 2000. Friend has not paid or not made regular payments. Loan is through Sallie Mae. Loan has gone to collections. Collections agency is contacting me at work, calling my parent's home, my cell phone. Friend does not have money to pay or says does not have enough money to make regular payments. I make $15/hr (didnt go to college) and drive a 26 year old car.

What is the best way to get my name off of a Sallie Mae student loan that I cosigned for a 'friend'?

Scott

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Dear Scott,

It sounds like you were trying to be a really good friend many years ago and help someone out by cosigning. You probably felt you were just helping them get a loan they needed to further their education and you were doing a very honorable thing by helping.

When it comes to cosigning the reality is much, much different. You see when you cosign for a loan you are agreeing to be 100 percent responsible for the loan if the other person does not pay. You essentially have all of the liability and none of the benefit from the loan. My general advice is if anyone asks you to cosign a loan, don't do it. You'd be better off driving a nail through your foot than cosign.

As you've learned, not only will the payment record of your friend land on your credit report, but if they don't pay the collectors will come after you and you could even be sued over the loan.

But there is the most interesting part of this situation. It is unclear if the loan is a federal loan or a private student loan. If this is a private student loan then the statue of limitation may have expired on the loan and your liability could be eliminated with bankruptcy or their ability to sue you over the loan may be limited.

I beg you to consult with an attorney who is licensed in your state and discuss your specific situation to gain some clarity on the statute of limitations and your responsibility for the loan. One place to look for a consumer advocate attorney is at NACA.net.

While it is technically possible to get removed as a cosigner on a private student loan through Sallie Mae it is actually much harder than you would think. I recently wrote about how to get removed, here.

The big issue in this situation is the reason Sallie Mae or any other lender requires a cosigner is in case the person getting the loan doesn't pay. It seems that's the very situation you are in and what your role of the cosigner is designed for. I would be very doubtful if they would set you free at this point.



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