Can You Remove Student Loans From Your Credit Report?
Removing student loans from your credit report is a popular topic for just about anyone who has a student loan. Let’s get this broad question off the table right away: removing student loans from a credit report is not possible, at least not legally!
Besides, if your student loan is in good standing, then you shouldn’t want to remove it anyway. It’ll be a good credit reference and will help your credit score. The more specific question should be "how to get student loans that are in default from your credit report.”
Table of contents:
- How to remove negative student loan information from your credit report
- Sample student loan dispute letter
- Follow up on the dispute letter
- Be patient with the student loan removal process
How to remove negative student loan information from your credit report
Everyone with a defaulted student loan is interested in the magic formula for this one. However, you can’t get a student loan that you’ve paid on time off your credit report, and you definitely can’t remove a defaulted loan either. In fact, it may even be more difficult in the case of a defaulted loan.
So, how do you remove negative student loan information from your credit report? In most cases, that can be done with a well-worded student loan dispute letter, which you might need to do because negative student loan entries can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
Student loan type matters
In general, the type of student loan you have will make a difference in this process. It’ll be easier to remove negative credit information from a federal student loan than a private loan.
Federal student loans
When it comes to late payments or the threat of default, federal student loans offer several options that are not available with private loans. For example, you can get a default removed from your credit report if you default on a federal loan and then make nine out of 10 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
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. As long as you make your payments on time, you can even have your federal student loan forgiven either through the public service loan forgiveness program or after 10 years of service with either a government agency or an approved nonprofit organization. You should try one of these options if your federal student loan is in default.
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 issues that you can fix:
- Remove student loans that do not belong to you
- Correct late payments reported in error
- Report negative information on your student loan while it’s in deferment or forbearance
- Correct an erroneous default status
The last issue is the most damaging, but it can happen even if you’re making your payments on time. Sometimes, payments go to the wrong account or the servicer suffers a clerical error, 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 that 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. However, make sure you follow up with an email and request an emailed response back. This will create the all-important “paper trail” in case there are any questions later. Be sure to print out copies of your email communication with your servicer. You may need those copies should the negative information mysteriously reappear (which 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. The student loan dispute letter will be more effective if you’ve done your homework, know what the problem is and have the proper documentation to prove your point.
Sample student loan dispute letter
The following student loan dispute letter focuses on correcting an erroneous default entry.
Make sure to include supporting documentation because it will help provide proof of your claim.
John J. Jones
200 Main Street
Bugtussle, TN 37998
January 1, 2022
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 that you’ve reported my student loan as being in default. I have enclosed a copy of the page from my credit report. However, this credit status is an error. My loan is in active status and I’ve made all of my payments on time.
Enclosed are copies of the payments I have made on the account for the past six months, as well as the most recent statement notification showing that the account is active and in repayment status.
Please correct the information in your company’s records to show that the account is current, 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 that their records will show the corrected status on this account as well.
Please provide a written confirmation of receipt of this letter, the corrected status on the account, and confirmation that a notice of the correction has gone out to the three credit bureaus.
If more information is required, please contact me by phone on 266-555-1234 or by email at email@example.com.
John J. Jones
Enclosures: Credit report page, recent payment notification and evidence of monthly payments.
Follow-up on the student loan dispute letter
You should send your letter to the loan servicer by certified mail along with a return receipt request, which will provide evidence that you’ve sent it and the loan servicer has received it.
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 that the corrected information appears on all three major credit bureaus. If not, you’ll need to follow up with the bureaus yourself.
File an account dispute with the three credit bureaus if the information is not corrected
You can have the information corrected with the bureaus yourself. They’re required by law to follow up with the loan servicer within 30 days, so all you need to do is file an account dispute with each of the three credit bureaus. Once the servicer confirms the corrected information to the bureaus, they will remove the negative information.
What if there’s some kind of mysterious bureaucratic foul-up and the corrected information isn’t accurately reported?
The letter said, “please provide written confirmation of receipt of this letter, the corrected status on the account and 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’re required to correct the credit entry within 30 days.
Be patient with the student loan removal process
On a final note, you’ll need to keep your cool with this process and be patient. You’ll need to be persistent and more than a little relentless to get the problem resolved.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on October 21, 2019, on BetterCreditBlog.org. For more information on student loans and your credit please visit: https://money.com/search/?q=student+loans+credit.