The sad reality for most student loan borrowers is that if you have taken out a loan to go to school, you will have to pay it back at some point or another. It’s extremely difficult to get student loans off of your credit report, but not impossible. There are rare circumstances that may grant you the right to file disputes with credit bureaus to get your student loans wiped from your credit report.
Before we discuss these situations, it’s important to fully understand how your student loans impact your credit score. Although they can be a great way to build credit, they can prevent you from making important life purchase such as buying a home, a car, or getting a loan.
How do Student Loans Affect Credit Score
If you have ever taken out a student loan it will be recorded on your credit score. Student loans affect your credit score just like any other loans do. If you fail to make payments on them, your credit score will drop. Negative student loan information can also stay on your credit report for up to seven years or longer.
Having negative student loan information on your credit report can prevent you from qualifying for a mortgage, purchasing a car, getting a business loan, and more. However, student loans can also be a great way to build your credit. If you make regular payments on your student loans your credit score will gradually increase over time. This takes patience, careful planning and budgeting.
How Long Do Student Loans Stay on Your Credit
Student loans stay on your credit report for up to seven years following the final student loan payment. Once your student loan is paid off, it will reflect a zero balance with credit reporting agencies. However, it will stay up to 7 years on your credit report unless you file a request with the credit agencies to have it removed. Seven years is an extremely long time, but you do have some options.
This is something most people are not aware of. Once your student loans are paid off in full and you want them off your credit report, you have to file an official request with the reporting agencies to have them removed. This can be time-consuming and take up to 6 month, but you can get them removed once they are fully paid off. Now, let’s take a look at how to remove student loans from your credit report.
Ways to Remove Student Loans From Your Credit Report
Generally, if the information about your student loans is accurate, getting it removed from your credit report is not possible. However, there are qualifying circumstances in which you can.
If you have never taken out a student loan and notice that your credit report reflects that have a student loan, there may have been a reporting error with the underlying credit bureaus. Reporting errors are extremely common, and as such it’s important to check your credit report regularly. Below are different ways to remove student loans from your credit report depending on your circumstance.
Write A Dispute Letter
Writing a dispute letter to credit reporting agencies is an effective way to fix reporting issues with your credit report. If you monitor your credit with CreditKarma they have features that allow you to directly send a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies reporting inaccurate data. You can also directly call the credit reporting agencies and make them aware of the reporting issue. However, it’s recommended that you keep things in writing so you have a paper trail in case things end up going to court.
When you write a dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies, below is the information that the letter needs to include:
- The student loan reporting or reference number
- Your contact information
- A detailed explanation of the reporting issue on your credit report
- Proof that the information reported is inaccurate
- The action you want to be taken by the reporting agency
- Request for written confirmation that they received your dispute letter
These are important details that need to be submitted to help get the processes started. It’s also recommended that you send your dispute letter through certified mail with the return receipt requested. This will help you establish your paper trail if things escalate to court. It’s important to note that you will have to file a dispute letter with each credit bureau that shows inaccurate student loan data.
File an Account Dispute With Your Loan Servicer
If your loan servicer is reporting different loan types, loan amounts, or inaccurate loan data to the reporting agencies, this can hurt your credit score. As such, you can file an account dispute with your loan servicer. In certain cases, you can talk to them over the phone, but it’s recommended to send them a letter in writing outlining the inaccuracies.
An account dispute letter with your loan servicer should outline the following items:
- Your student loan reporting number
- Your contact information
- Explanation of the reporting issues associated with your account
- Copy of your credit report showing the inaccurate reporting data
- The action you want your student loan servicer to take
- Request for written confirmation that they received your account dispute letter
Once you send your loan servicer the account dispute letter, it’s important to make sure and specify that the loan servicer updates the correct information with all the credit reporting bureaus displaying the inaccurate data. Your credit score data will vary between the three different bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) and as such you must tell your loan servicer to update each one with the correct information.
Once your loan servicer confirms that they will update your records with the bureaus, check your credit report regularly to make sure the correct information is reflected. It’s important to note that each bureau may take some time before they update with the correct information.
Get Your Student Loan Forgiven
An alternative way to get your student loans removed from your credit report is to get them forgiven. Many people currently qualify for student loan forgiveness depending on their circumstances. Below are some of the different types of student loan forgiveness types for federal student loans.
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Closed School Discharge
- Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
- Total and Permanent Disability
- Discharge Due to Death
- Discharge in Bankruptcy (rare cases )
- Borrower Defense Repayment
For a full list of student loan forgiveness options available for borrowers check out Student Aid Student Loan Forgiveness. It’s important to note that if your student loan is forgiven it can still show up on your credit report. As such, it’s important to request that it be removed from your credit report by the credit bureaus.
Pay Your Student Loans Off
The most obvious way to get student loans off your credit report is to pay them off. This may not be the best option for people, however, it’s the main way majority of people get student loans off their credit reports.
Paying off your student loans takes time and patience. If you have enough money it’s recommended you pay them off sooner so you don’t pay as much on interest over the lifespan of the loan.
Can You Go Back to School with Defaulted Student Loans
If you’ve defaulted on your federal student loans and plan to go back to school, you will need to get your loans out of default before you can get further federal student loans out. Federal student loans are considered in default if they are overdue by 270 days or more. If your student loans go into default, this can have a significant blow to your credit score. Repairing your credit score following any type of default can be very time consuming.
In order to get your loans out of default you must either pay them in full or apply for loan rehabilitation or loan consolidation.
If you plan to go back to school, you should carefully consider your options. Make sure you have the necessary plan together that will help you get out of default.
As you can see, there are instances in which you can get your student loans off of your credit report. Before you decide to explore this route, it’s important to ask yourself why you want your student loans off your credit report in the first place. Most of the time, if your student loans are paid off, having them on your credit report carries no financial or credit impact on you. So carefully consider how having them off your credit report will benefit you long term.