How to remove student loans from a credit report is a popular topic for just about anyone who has a student loan.
But let’s get this broad question topic off the table right away: removing student loans from a credit report is not possible, at least not legally!
And if your student loan is in good standing, you shouldn’t want to remove it anyway. It’ll be a good credit reference, that will help your credit score.
The more specific question may be “how to get student loans off your credit report that are in default”.
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How To Remove Negative Student Loan Information From My Credit Report
Certainly, everyone with a defaulted student loan would be interested in the magic formula for that one. But just as it’s not possible to get a student loan that’s paid on-time off your credit report, it can’t be done with a defaulted one either. In fact, it may be even more difficult in the case of a defaulted loan.
So let’s modify the question a bit from how to remove student loans from a credit report? to how to remove negative student loan information from a credit report?
In most cases, that can be done with a well-worded student loan dispute letter. And you may need to do that, because negative student loan entries will remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
The Type of Student Loan Matters
Federal Student Loans
When it comes to late payments or the threat of default, Federal student loans offer a number of options not available with private loans. For example, if you’ve defaulted on a federal loan, then make nine out of 10 consecutive on-time monthly payments, the default will be removed from your credit record.
You can also take advantage of income driven repayment plans that will lower your monthly payment to a small percentage of your income, even if you’re in default. You can even have your federal student loan forgiven through the public service loan forgiveness program, through 10 years of service with either a government agency or an approved nonprofit, and as long as you make your payments on time in the process.
If your federal student loan is in default you should try any of these options.
Private Student Loans
The situation is more constrained when it comes to private student loans.
Though some will offer some type of forbearance if you’re experiencing economic hardship, they’re unlikely to remove a default or legitimately late payment (or series of late payments) from your credit report.
What You Can Have Removed From Your Credit Report
While it’s not possible to make all negative entries on your student loans disappear, there are a few you can fix:
- Removal of a student loan that does not belong to you.
- Correction of late payments reported in error.
- Negative information reported on your student loan while it’s in deferment or forbearance.
- Correction of default status that’s reported in error.
Number 4 is the most damaging, but it can happen even if you’re making your payments on time. Sometimes payments are misapplied, or there’s a clerical error on the servicer side, either of which can result in your student loan being placed into default status.
If you’re facing any of these situations, you’ll need to do your homework, determine what the error is, and dig up any documentation you can to prove the negative information is incorrect.
Once you do, contact your student loan servicer and see if you can get the situation resolved over the phone. But if you call, make sure you follow up with email contact, and request an email response. This will create the all-important “paper trail” in case there are any questions later on. Be sure to print copies of your email communication with your servicer. You may need those copies should the negative information mysteriously reappear (and that does happen!).
However, it’s usually best to handle the process in writing. To do that you’ll need to create a convincing student loan dispute letter. If you’ve done your homework, you know what the problem is, and you have documentation to prove your point, the student loan dispute letter will be more effective.
Sample Student Loan Dispute Letter
We’re going to focus the following student loan dispute letter on correcting a default entry that’s been reported in error.
Including supporting documentation will provide proof of your claim.
John J. Jones
200 Main Street
Bugtussle, TN 37998
January 1, 2020
Shania S. Smith
Labyrinth Student Loan Servicing Corporation
400 Elm Street
Nashville, TN 37999
RE: Student loan #XJYZ000198786PPZX567940001112XYZ1235987-01J
Dear Ms. Smith:
A recent copy of my credit report indicates my student loan is being reported as being in default. A copy of the page from my credit report is enclosed. However, this credit status is an error. My loan is in active status, with all payments being made on time.
Enclosed are copies of evidence of payments on the account for the past six months, as well as the most recent statement notification showing the account is active and in repayment status.
Please correct the information in your company’s records to show that the account is current and up-to-date, and has never been in default.
I also request that you provide the corrected information to each of the three major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – so their records will show the corrected status on this account.
Please provide written confirmation of receipt of this letter, as well as the corrected status on the account and confirmation that notice of the correction has gone out to the three credit bureaus.
If more information is required please contact me at (266)555-1234, or by email at [email protected]
John J. Jones
Enclosures: Credit report page, recent payment notification, evidence of monthly payments
You Must Follow-up on the Student Loan Dispute Letter
Your letter should be sent to the loan servicer by certified mail, return receipt requested. That will provide evidence it’s been sent and received.
2 Week Follow-up
If you don’t hear from the company within two weeks, follow-up with a phone call. Student loan servicing agencies are notoriously slow, so you may need to make a pest of yourself.
30 Day Credit Report Check
Once you do get confirmation from the servicer, wait at least 30 days and pull your credit report again. Make sure the corrected information has been reported by all three major credit bureaus. If it’s not, you’ll need to follow up with the bureaus yourself.
File An Account Dispute with the 3 Credit Bureaus if Not Corrected
You can have the information corrected with the bureaus yourself. All you need to do is file an account dispute with each of the three credit bureaus, and they’ll be required by law to follow up with the loan servicer within 30 days. If the servicer confirms the corrected information to the bureaus, the negative information will be removed.
But what if there’s any kind of mysterious bureaucratic foul-up, and the corrected information isn’t accurately reported?
Recall that in the sample student dispute letter above we included Please provide written confirmation of receipt of this letter, as well as the corrected status on the account in confirmation that notice of the correction has gone out to the three credit bureaus.
Even if the student loan servicing company has not reported the corrected information to the three bureaus, you can send a copy of the servicer’s response letter to each of the bureaus. They’ll be required to correct the credit entry within 30 days.
On a final note, you’ll need to keep your cool with this process and be patient. Student loan servicing companies are not the easiest agencies to deal with. You’ll need to be persistent, and maybe even more than a little bit relentless to get a problem resolved.