Do you have a student loan that has been paid late and is now impacting your credit score and ability to borrow?
If you find yourself in this financial jam, know that you can learn how to remove student loans from a credit report - if the data provided by the loan servicer is incorrect and, therefore, not representative of your actual creditworthiness as a borrower and credit user.
Is It Possible To Remove Student Loans From A Credit Report?
Yes, removing erroneous student loan information from your credit profile is possible.
If the student loan data that is being reported by one of the three primary credit repositories is inaccurate, it can be legitimately removed. The three major credit repositories in the United States that manage most consumer credit details include the following:
However, note that if your student loan account is reporting an accurate late payment or default status, there is not much you can do to remove the credit blemish quickly. If this is the case, your best option is to use credit judiciously, as this helps drive your score higher – given enough time.
If you believe there is negative information being reported on your student loan that is not correct, you can request that the credit bureaus ask the student loan servicer for verification of the alleged late payment(s).
The loan servicing company has no more than 30 days to respond to the credit bureau’s request and offer the required proof. If the loan servicing company fails to meet the verification request (or the implied dispute deadline), the bureau will remove the item from the credit report – at least temporarily. If the loan servicer provides verification after the deadline, the information removed temporarily will be placed back on your credit profile.
There are two types of student loans. These are discussed below.
Federal Student Loans
If the student debt is federally funded and reported in default, you may be able to update the account (to a more favorable status) by taking advantage of the federal government’s loan rehabilitation or consolidation program options. A rehabilitation will remove the default notation but does not remove any late payments that occurred before the loan’s default date. These late payments will remain on the credit profile for seven years - beginning from the date the first delinquency was reported.
You must contact your student loan servicer to begin the loan rehabilitation process. The process of rehabilitation includes these requirements –
- The debtor must agree to make 9 affordable monthly payments within 20 days of the payment’s due date. This agreement must be done in writing. Reasonability is determined by a predefined calculation and based on the income documentation you provide to the loan servicer at the time of the loan rehabilitation request.
- All 9 payments must be made within a ten-month consecutive timeframe.
A small percentage of people may qualify for a form of student loan forgiveness. There are requirements to meet, but this may offer another viable way if you are seeking relief from student loan debt.
Private Student Loans
If your student loan is privately funded and is in a valid default status, these legitimate and negative notations cannot be removed from a credit report.
Unfortunately, privately-funded student loans do not offer the above-noted rehabilitation option.
Note that refinancing a student loan may be another option, as this may offer you a way to lower the interest rate and/or monthly payment. However, it is noted that an applicant for a refinance may find it challenging to qualify for a new loan with a current default on their credit profile.
What Data Can Be Removed From a Credit Report?
While legitimate student loan data cannot be removed from a credit profile, there are certain items that may be potentially removed -
- Late or missed payments while the student loan is in a deferment or forbearance status.
- Inaccurate account information reported by the servicer.
- Wrong accounts linked to your report.
- Late or missed payments have been reported inaccurately.
- Student loan defaults have been reported inaccurately.
How Long Will Student Loans Stay On A Credit Report?
Any late payment or credit blemish will remain on the credit report for seven years. If you have both late payments and a default on a student loan, the seven-year timer does not reset when the loan goes into default. The seven-year clock begins from the date of the first missed student loan payment.
How To Dispute Student Loan Information On Your Credit Report?
For those instances in which there are errors in your student loan payment history, there are established procedures to dispute these alleged delinquencies.
Write A Letter Explaining The Dispute.
Begin the process by putting your issues down on paper. The letter you compose should inform your loan servicer about their inaccurate reporting and request that they remove the erroneous data from your credit profile. Remember to retain a copy of the letter in case you need a paper trail in the future.
Gather Supporting Documentation.
Before sending the notification to your loan servicer, gather supporting documentation that offers evidence of your claim. It may include bank statements or emails documenting your on-time payments, to name a few.
Wait For A Decision.
Once the dispute letter has been sent to the servicer, it is important to be patient and wait for a decision that may take a few weeks. If, after three weeks, you do not hear from your loan servicer, it is smart to send a follow-up letter.
If the loan servicer does not respond to your written request, you can also file a dispute claim with the credit bureau, reporting the inaccurate information. This process can be done online but make sure you include copies of the supporting documentation for your claim.
Remember that each of the three credit bureaus has up to 30 days to look into your claim by contacting the loan servicer on your behalf. If the credit bureau rules in your favor, student loan delinquencies will be eliminated from the report.
Circumstances That Allow For A Student Loan Credit Report Dispute
While You Are Still A Student
While in school, student loans should be in a deferment status – meaning there are no payments due. So, if these deferred loans are reported as delinquent or in default, you can simply a) provide proof of your student status and b) request that they update their records accordingly.
If You Have Been Approved For A Forbearance or Deferment Plan
Forbearance and deferment are tools that can be used when you find yourself facing challenging financial circumstances. If granted, it is smart to check with the credit bureaus (give it a month or two) to see if the account reflects a current status.
If the loan servicer fails to update the account (and you have stopped making payments), the account could register as late or even default. Providing documentation about an approved forbearance or deferment offers a great chance that the credit blemish/error will be removed.
If Late Student Loan Payments Are Reported In Error
When the servicer reports any inaccurate loan information, submit documentation that you have made timely payments, with a request to have the bureau remove the erroneous loan data.
If Student Loan Accounts Are Closed
When a student loan has been paid in full, the contents of your credit profile (and resulting score) should reflect this fact. Submit evidence that the student loan balance is paid and request the credit bureaus update the incorrect information.
How Do Student Loan Late Payments and Defaults Impact Your Credit Profile & Score?
Student loan delinquencies and defaults can negatively influence your credit score. Delinquencies are triggered at different times, depending on the type of loan. For example, some federal loans are deemed delinquent if the payment is one day late, although most delinquencies are not reported until 90 days lapse. Accounts that go unpaid for 270 days are considered in default. The rules governing private student loans (and older Perkins loans) will differ from federal regulations.
Credit scores are algorithms based on several primary components that reflect your creditworthiness
As the graphic reveals, your payment history is considered the most essential factor when determining your credit score. In addition to credit problems, delinquencies can result in a garnishment of your –
- Tax Refunds
- Other Valuable Federal Benefits.
And, if you wish to borrow student aid for education in the future, you may find you are ineligible.
Private student loans that go delinquent may send the debt to collection or request payment from a co-signor, if applicable.
Dealing With Late Or Defaulted Student Loan Payments
It is essential to deal with delinquencies directly with the servicer – as soon as possible. If you fall behind, do not ignore the issue (it will only grow worse). Consider these suggestions:
Reach Out To Your Student Loan Servicer.
If you find yourself financially strapped, contact the servicer. Many lenders and servicers have programs available that are designed to help you get back on track.
Consider Extending The Payment Plan.
Refinancing your loan to a longer loan term (10 years vs. 25 years) will reduce payments to more manageable levels. This option may not be available on all loans, but it is an option that is worth asking about
Look Into Student Loan Consolidation.
Consolidation allows you to combine different loans into one loan, which usually can help lower the monthly obligation.
How To Improve Your Credit Score
If you have unsuccessfully submitted a credit dispute, there are other viable steps that can help raise your credit score, which may reduce the impact created by student loan delinquencies. Consider these simple yet effective suggestions regarding financial management -
Make It A Priority To Make Timely Payments.
As credit ages, its impact on a score lessens. So, positive recent payments can begin to boost your credit score as late payments begin to have less of an impact.
Bring Delinquent Accounts Current.
While it may take a few months, it is important to bring each account into good standing.
Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt.
Do not max out credit balances. Overusing credit will negatively impact your score.
Apply For A Secured Credit Card.
The financial arena offers credit cards secured by assets. This type of credit card reduces the lender’s risk and provides consumers with a viable way to rebuild their credit profile.
The Benefit Of Refinancing A Student Loan
Refinancing a student loan offers several potential benefits –
- A refinance may lower your interest rate and, therefore, your monthly loan payment.
- If the numbers work, you can shorten the repayment term. This decision would allow you to pay off your debt early and save interest on the loan.
- A longer-term may offer a lower monthly payment and offer relief from monthly burdens.
- You can consolidate multiple loans, which may lower monthly payments.
- You have the option to add (or to remove) a cosigner on existing student debt.
Remember, you can investigate refinancing without any obligation. Ask for a quote that won’t damage your credit. Use this quote and loan information to make an educated decision based on your loan specifics.
What can a credit repair company do that I can’t do?
Many credit repair companies are legitimate. However, many of these types of credit repair companies simply do the same thing you can do.
What can you do if a negative item is still appearing on your credit report after seven years?
A delinquency on a credit report that occurred more than seven years ago can be disputed.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee