Whether you have a student loan in default negatively affecting your credit scores or an inaccurate negative student loan remark on your credit reports, you may be wondering if you can get it removed.
While you can’t completely wipe student loans from your credit reports, this article will help you understand when you can remove certain negative student loan remarks and how to do it.
Can You Remove Student Loans From Your Credit Report?
Sometimes life happens, and you can fall behind on student loan payments. If you fall behind far enough, your student loan may be reported as delinquent or eventually in default – causing negative remarks on your credit reports.
In most cases, you can’t remove accurate negative remarks from your credit reports. But if they’re inaccurate, you can correct the errors and get them removed.
You also won’t be able to remove student loans in good standing from your credit reports just because they have a large balance you don’t want to show up on credit inquiries.
Below are some common situations when inaccurate student loan information may be reported and removed.
Student loans should be deferred while you’re in school – check your loan agreement.
If your student loan is mistakenly reported as default or delinquent on your credit reports while in school, call your school’s registrar’s office to get proof of enrollment. Then, contact your student loan servicer to have the information corrected.
In deferment or forbearance
If you’re approved for a loan deferment or forbearance, but the loan is wrongfully reported as default or delinquent, contact your loan servicer to confirm the dates and ask them to correct the information with the major credit bureaus (TransUnion®, Equifax® and Experian®).
Sometimes, closed student loans are slow to update on credit reports and can be mistakenly reported as still open. To get this corrected, provide each of the credit bureaus with proof from your loan servicer that your loan account was closed.
Ways To Get Student Loan Remarks Off of Your Credit Report
You’ll likely have difficulty removing negative student loan remarks from credit reports if they’re legitimate. But if your federal student loan goes into default, you may be able to remove the default status through loan rehabilitation.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, when a delinquency or default remark has been put on your credit reports in error, you have the right to dispute the error to get it removed.
Below are ways to remove errors (from any kind of situation) or a federal student loan default status from your credit reports.
Write a dispute letter
Write a dispute letter to your student loan servicer when you want to correct inaccurate negative information they reported to the credit bureaus. You may also be able to submit a dispute letter online through your account. Gather any documentation that could help support your dispute – like student loan statements, credit reports, or proof that you’re up-to-date on payments.
If you’re writing a letter, you’ll want to include information such as:
- Your contact information
- Student loan account number or reference number
- Copy of your credit reports showing the error
- Explanation of the issue you want to be resolved and how you want them to fix it
- Request for written confirmation that your letter was received; they have corrected the issue and contacted the credit bureaus
Check with your loan servicer to see where to send your letter. Mail it through certified mail with a return receipt request so you can keep track of it. You’ll want to follow up with your loan servicer if you haven’t heard from them in a couple of weeks.
About a month after your loan servicer confirms they’ve corrected the issue, check your credit reports to ensure the information was updated and the error removed. You may have to file an account dispute with the credit bureaus if it hasn’t been corrected.
File an account dispute
You could file a free account dispute directly with the credit bureaus if the error were corrected with your student loan servicer but not updated on your credit reports. If the error was on all three of your credit reports, you’d have to file a dispute with each bureau separately. You can dispute an error online or send a formal request by mail.
Credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate the situation with your loan servicer and provide you with the results – but it could take longer, depending on the investigation.
Rehabilitate federal student loans
You can get federal student loans out of default and remove the default status from your credit reports through loan rehabilitation.
Direct and Federal Family Education loans from the Department of Education can be rehabilitated after default by reaching out to your loan servicer and agreeing to a specific repayment plan. If you complete the repayment plan, the default status will be removed from your credit reports, and you can continue paying off your loan balance.
Remember that this option is only for federal student loans, not private student loans, and can only be used once during your repayment period.
How Long Do Student Loans Stay on Your Credit Report?
Negative remarks, like a late payment or student loan default, stay on your credit reports for up to 7 years. Positive information, like closing a student loan in good standing (no late payments or default remarks), stays on for up to 10 years.
However, Perkins Loans differ from all other student loans – negative remarks stay on credit reports until the loan is paid off in full.
Should student loans stay on your credit reports?
Remember, while you can remove some negative information from credit reports, you can’t remove the student loan itself. This isn’t bad because student loans can help you build credit when you make on-time payments. They look good on your credit reports and can bolster your credit history.
Plus, credit score calculations favor accounts that have been open longer. It shows you can manage long-term debt, positively impacting your scores.
Impact of Late Payments and Defaulted Student Loans
Credit scores are calculated based on weighted factors according to their importance, with payment history capturing the most significant percentage. Because of this, late payments and defaults on your student loans affect your credit scores – whether the remarks on your credit reports are accurate or not.
Late payments and loan defaults can also indirectly affect you in ways like:
- Being able to secure future financing or rent a home
- Having to pay the total federal loan amount if it goes into default
- Lenders contacting a loan co-signer to repay the debt
- Being taken to court
- Having wages garnished
Remove the Negative, Keep the Positive
When you have student loan debt, one of the most important things you can do is make your monthly payments on time. This will help you avoid negative remarks on your credit reports altogether. Pro tip: If you’re having trouble making payments, take advantage of loan consolidation, refinancing or federal loan forgiveness.
But again, not all negative remarks are accurate – which is why monitoring your credit reports is essential. You may be able to catch errors before they cause unwarranted damage to your credit scores.
Remember, you can remove errors from your credit reports, but you generally can’t remove the entire student loan.
Experian. “How Long Does It Take for Information to Come Off Your Credit Reports?” Retrieved October 2022 from https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-long-does-it-take-information-to-come-off-your-report/
Federal Student Aid. “Student Loan Delinquency and Default.” Retrieved October 2022 from https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/default