Student loans can be removed from credit reports when the information is inaccurate. But negative marks — late payments, default status, collections, etc. — will stay if correct.
Student loans generally stick to your credit reports until they’re paid off, or it’s been seven years from the point the debt went delinquent. But if you’re working on building your credit score to finance a house or car, you may want them off sooner than that.
Ahead, discover how to remove student loans from your credit report.
Can you remove student loans from a credit report?
You can legally remove student loans from your credit report if the information is inaccurate. But if negative information listed on your credit report is correct — for example, your student loan servicer is reporting a late payment or a default status — there’s little you can do to remove it quickly. Generally, the only thing that can repair a bad credit history is time.
However, because of how credit reporting laws work, people have successfully gotten accurate-derogatory information removed — at least temporarily — by asking the credit bureau to verify the information. The bureau will then ask your student loan servicer to supply verification. If the company can’t do so within 30 days, the item is removed from the report. But all student loan account information, including the payment history, makes its way back onto the report once verification is obtained.
Learn More: Why Student Loans Disappear From Credit Reports
What about paying to delete student loans
If you’re wondering, “pay for delete” doesn’t work for federal student loans in default. The collection agency doesn’t own your debt; the Education Department or guaranty agency does. So any agreement you reach won’t stop the loan holder from listing accurate information with the credit reporting agencies.
Private student loans are different. While working as a student loan consultant, I’ve had clients receive letters from collection agencies promising to delete negative information they reported in exchange for a lump-sum payment. However, the payment wouldn’t remove the missed payments or delinquencies reported by the original private lender.
Can defaulted student loans be removed from a credit report?
Defaulted student loans are removed automatically from your credit report after seven years. If the default is still showing on your credit report, you can get the default status removed by completing the student loan rehabilitation program. However, the late payments will stay on your report no matter if you get out of default with settlement, consolidation, or loan rehabilitation.
One other thing.
Even if you get the default removed from your credit report, you'll still need to get your federal student loans out of default before you can buy a home using an FHA, USDA, or VA home loan. All delinquent federal debts are listed on the CAIVRS report. The only way to clear that system is to return the loan to good standing.
Learn More: How Student Loans Affect Credit Scores
What student loan information can be removed
Inaccurate student loan information can be removed from credit reports. Common mistakes that can be deleted include:
- A student loan you paid in full reporting as open and active.
- The reported loan balance is different from your actual balance.
- The loan origination date is wrong.
- The loan status shows the account is in forbearance or deferment, but it’s actually in repayment.
- The servicer reported a late payment that was made on time.
Note: The balance you owe for student loans isn’t one of the factors the credit reporting agencies use to calculate credit scores. Student loans hurt your credit score when you pay late or skip a payment.
How to remove student loans on a credit report
Step 1: Check your credit reports.
Look for inaccurate information, which can be errors with the account balance or number, disbursement date, or payment status. You can pull a freed credit report from the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — at annualcreditreport.com.
Step 2 - File a dispute.
You can dispute online or through the mail by sending a dispute letter to the bureau showing inaccurate information. You’ll want to attach evidence supporting your case, which can be a copy of a student loan statement, and proof of identity (e.g., passport, utility bill, Social Security card, etc.).
Consider mailing your documents “return receipt requested” for proof that the credit reporting company received it. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. You can click here to download a sample student loan account dispute letter from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Step 3: Wait for a response.
Federal law gives the credit reporting bureau 30 days in most cases to respond depending on the type of dispute. During that time, the company is supposed to investigate the dispute by checking its records and contacting the source of the disputed information (aka, the data furnisher), your student loan servicer.
From start to finish, the process to remove student loans from your credit report can take nearly two months.
If you lose the dispute…
You can dispute more than once. But the next go-around, make sure to include additional information. Resubmitting the same information could get the dispute denied automatically for being frivolous.
If the second attempt doesn’t work, you have two options.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Hire an attorney specializing in Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) laws. You can find one through the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ website.
Where to file the student loan dispute
- Equifax Dispute Online: https://www.equifax.com/personal/disputes/
- Mail: Equifax Information Services LLC, PO Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
- Experian Dispute Online: https://www.experian.com/disputes/main.html
- Mail: Experian, PO Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion Dispute Online: https://dispute.transunion.com/
- Mail: TransUnion LLC, Consumer Dispute Center, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
So can student loans be removed from credit reports? Absolutely — if the information is inaccurate.
But if that negative mark for a missed monthly payment or default status is correct, then the information can stay until it completes its credit life cycle, which can take up to seven years.