#1 Student Loan Lawyer
Updated on October 6, 2022
A promissory note is a contract that explains the rights and responsibilities for repaying student loan debt. Borrowers can request a copy from the loan holder.
If you’re a student loan borrower, it’s essential to understand what’s in your promissory note. This contract outlines the terms of your loan and explains, among other things, how you’re expected to repay the debt.
Ahead, learn how to get a copy of your federal or private student loan promissory note.
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How to request a copy of a promissory note for student loans
Federal student loans
You can find a copy of your Master Promissory Note online at the Federal Student Aid website, studentaid.gov. That site replaced the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and studentloans.gov. It has a lot of the information you need to learn about the disbursement date for your loans and what school the loan funds were sent to.
Step 1: Log in to studentaid.gov. You’ll need an FSA ID to access the site.
Step 2: Click on “My Documents”. The link is a hidden selection under your name in the upper right-hand corner of the menu bar.
Step 3: Select “Master Promissory Note (MPN)” from the dropdown.
Step 4: Download a pdf copy of the MPN.
You’ll have an MPN for your undergraduate studies. It will cover any Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans you borrowed. You’ll have a second note if you borrowed Direct PLUS Loans for graduate school or a Parent PLUS Loan to pay for your child’s education.
The Master Promissory Note is a contract that specifies the fixed interest rate, repayment terms, and conditions of your loans. It doesn’t contain your payment history, interest capitalization, or periods of deferment or forbearance that have been applied to your loans.
If you want copies of that information, you’ll need to submit a Privacy Act request to the U.S. Department of Education. Review the department’s Privacy Act checklist before submitting your request.
Learn More: Ways to Lower Student Loan Payments
Private student loans
Unlike the federal government, there isn’t a website you can visit to request a copy of your private student loan promissory notes. You’ll need to ask the creditor or loan servicer contacting you about the debt to provide you with a copy. Depending on the loan holder, it can take several attempts, and you may have to wait many weeks to get that paperwork.
If your loan has been transferred or sold to a new company, the packet that you get from the creditor should have documents showing each time the loan has changed hands. If it doesn’t, you may be able to attack the “chain of title” in a student loan lawsuit.
The documents you get may also have a copy of the account history that shows the monthly payments you’ve made towards the loans. If it doesn’t, ask the creditor to send it to you so you can verify the current loan balance.
Learn More: What Happens if You Default on Private Student Loans?
What if the creditor can’t produce a copy of the promissory note?
Your lender can still demand payment from you for the student loans even if it can’t produce the promissory note. A lost note doesn’t automatically eliminate your liability on the loans. The lender or current loan holder has the right to “re-establish” the note by providing clear and satisfactory information about the note’s contents.
If it sues you, the lender should attach a copy of the promissory note and history of assignments to its complaint. If it doesn’t, you can request both things in discovery.
After that, if it still can’t produce those documents, you may be able to ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit. The dismissal won’t get you off the hook for the loans unless the case is dismissed with prejudice.
Learn More: Can You Be Sued for Student Loan Debt?
Although it can be challenging to obtain a copy of a student loan promissory note, it’s essential to have the document in order to understand your loan repayment options. If you’re having trouble obtaining a copy from your lender or loan servicer, try contacting your school’s financial aid office to see if it has a copy. You also may be able to get help from a student loan lawyer.
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