The key difference lies in who is taking responsibility for the loan. When you cosign, both parent and student are responsible for the loan. For a parent student loan, the parent takes full responsibility. Cosigning may help your student qualify for a lower rate and may help their chances of approval since they typically don’t have much of a credit history. On the other hand, a parent loan will have no impact on your student’s credit. Parent student loans can also help reduce the debt burden on students.