basically, if you cosign a student loan, you assume joint responsibility for the debt. If your child does not or cannot repay the loan, you will be held 100% responsible for the total amount. Student loans can be thousands of dollars and repayment schedules can last for 10 to 30 years ; as you can see, these loans typically can't be shed in Bankruptcy Court and there is no statute of limitations on how long collectors can pursue this debt. Even your spouse?s Social Security benefits aren't safe: the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government's ability to offset Social Security disability and retirement benefits when a borrower has defaulted on student loans.Income-based repayment plans can provide some relief with the federal loans. This repayment option limits the required payment to 15% of your son?s/daughter's discretionary income, and his/her balance can be forgiven after 25 years.If your son/daughter has no income, his/her required payment would fall to zero. Unlike deferment and forbearance plans, which have 3-year limits, the income-based repayment allows zero payments indefinitely.