Co-signing loans


My mother and father in-law have been cosigners on my brother-in-law’s loans for college and they were denied for the last semester. They asked my wife if we would cosign and she said no.

Does this go against the RCC teaching on charity? We are a young married couple who are trying to start a family and save for a house and for future children. My brother-in-law has a lot in outstanding loans and doesn’t even work (not even in the summer…literally all summer).

Now, they found another family member to cosign, but should I feel guilty about this?


Why should you feel guilty? It’s not your responsibility. It’s solely the student’s responsibility to get himself through college, nobody else. If he can’t get the loans, then he needs to get a job or two just like everybody else that has to pay their own way.

Has your bil applied for gov’t loans? He doesn’t need a co-signor for that.


I think you and your wife are smart :thumbsup: It might even be considered more charitable for your brother in law to learn to stand on his own two feet. I understand your feeling guilty but you are taking care of yourselves and are young and starting out. You might be able to help him or someone else out some other time in the future in another way that won’t be too risky for you.


Your have no financial responsibility for your brother-in-law. If he is old enough to go to college, he is old enough to get a job. If he has to work and only go to college part-time, so what? Many of the rest of us did that very thing, myself included. He is an able-bodied adult, and your decision not to cosign is not going to force him to go live in a box under the bridge or anything like that. In fact, I think you made a wise decision, esp. since you are trying to start a family. :thumbsup:


Thanks for the insight. I guess I just keep thinking about the Church’s teaching on charity. I do believe it is his responsibility to get himself through school, but I also believe it is a person’s responsibility to keep a roof over their own head, put food on their own table, obtain their own medical care, etc. Jesus, though, seems to have a different opinion. To reference the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says to those he is about to cast into Hell, “when you didn’t do it to the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.”


Jesus was speaking of giving food, water and clothing - providing for the needs of a human person. The things that sustain life. As Christians, we should never sit idly by and watch our family or anyone starve or die from exposure.

A pricey college degree is a want, not a need. Your BIL has many options, get a job and save the money himself, attend a lower priced school, get better grades and qualify for scholarships, join the millitary…


I guess you’re right. Sometimes I beat myself up over these types of things.

I guess I have to look at it this way–if we were to cosign and he would default, that would technically take away money from my family in order to provide food, shelter, clothing, etc.


An able-bodied young man hardly falls into the category of being “the least of these.” And 2 Thessalonians 3:10 reads, “In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” So stop beating yourself up over this, and be glad that you didn’t get yourselves into a position which might take food from the mouths of your own babies some time down the road. God bless. :slight_smile:


Please don’t make someone else’s problem yours.

If the person in question is a risk, he needs to deal with the consequences.


Here’s a question though-
My ILs refuse to co-sign any loans as they are “unbiblical”. Can anyone explain that stance to me?


Absolutely not.

Your brother-in-law does not sound like a responsible person.

Why would you feel guilty for not putting YOUR name on a loan for someone who seems unreliable?

Charity, first of all, is ALWAYS freely given, not coerced.

Secondly, cosigning on a loan is not charity. It’s very unwise. A person needs a co-signer because the bank does not believe them to be credit worthy. Credit is not a right, and not a necessity. Your BIL can WORK to earn his own money for college. He does not **need **“charity”.


Your BIL is in NO WAY the “least of these” that Christ was referring to. He’s a free-loader, it seems. He’s not willing to work for his own way when he is able. The “least of these” are the ones who are unable to work, who are victims of injustic, poverty, oppression, and disaster.

Remember what 2 Thessalonians 3 teaches-- we are not to be idle but to work and pay our own way.


It’s not the loaning of money that is an issue according to the Bible, it’s “usury,” or charging of interest, esp. excessive interest. I don’t know where your parents got that idea about loans being “unbiblical.”

Wikipedia has a long article about religious views on usury which you might find informative.



Thanks for everyone’s reply. I see now it was crazy of me to feel guilty. It is not really a need and he is a very able-bodied young man. Just lazy. But, of course there is an excuse and it is someone else’s fault.


Romans 13:8 says:

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.


I haven’t read all the responses, so forgive me if i post what someone else might have.
These verses come to mind:
Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is SERVANT to the LENDER.
Proverbs 17:18
It’s stupid to guarantee someone else’s loan.
Romans 13:8
Owe no one anything except to love one another.

If you co-sign you will change the dynamics of your relationship. I’ve heard of many families who’ve split because of this happening. I highly suggest you say no. Feeding, clothing, and shelter was what Jesus was talking about in regards to charity, NOT co-signing loans.


Smart wife you havethere and to answer your question…NO. Cosigning makes YOU responsible also. Not a good idea.


If you cosign, you are entirely responsible for the debt if the other person does not pay. They will come after you for the debt. From what I have heard, very often the person cosigned for does not pay their debt, and no wonder, since the lending agency demands a cosigner because the person borrowing the money does not have good credit, or he would not need a cosigner.


The term “co-signing” is really a misnomer. A cosignor is fully responsible for the debt. If you wouldn’t take out this loan in your own name, don’t co-sign for it. It’s the same thing.

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