Your responsibility to pay student loans doesn't go away after 7 years. But if it's been more than 7.5 years since you made a payment on your student loan debt, the debt and the missed payments can be removed from your credit report. And if that happens, your credit score may go up, which is a good thing. But your responsibility to repay the student loan debt may remain unless you pay them off or qualify for a loan forgiveness program.
And that brings me to another question student loan borrowers ask:
Do student loans go away after 10 years?
Private student loans don't go away after 10 years. There aren't any private student loan forgiveness programs. You're stuck with them until you pay them off, negotiate a settlement, or the statute of limitations runs out (more on that below).
Federal student loans can go away after 10 years. Technically, it's not 10 years. It's after you make 120 monthly payments under a qualified repayment plan.
This loan forgiveness program is only open to public service workers — people that work for the government (state or federal) or a qualified nonprofit.
Here's a list of qualified public service employers.
This program is called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Here are the program requirements.
- work full-time for a qualifying employer
- make 120 monthly payments
- make those payments under an approved income-based repayment plan (PAYE, REPAYE, IBR, etc.)
- make those payments towards loans made under the Direct Loan program (FFEL and Perkins Loans don't qualify).
Denied PSLF applications
You may have read or heard that many student loan borrowers had their applications for loan forgiveness denied by their loan servicer.
Many of those borrowers had their applications denied either because they made payments under a non-approved student loan repayment plan or they had the wrong loan types.
The federal government tried to help people who made the payments under the wrong student loan repayment plan by passing the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Under the terms of that program, student loan borrowers may still qualify to get their federal student debt forgiven.
Click here to learn how the TEPSLF program works.
When do student loans go away?
Let me start with this:
The time limit for credit reporting and the time limit for the statute limitations are two different things.
Your student loan debt can no longer appear on your credit report, but you can still be liable to pay it back.
Now that we're on the same page, let's talk about when do student loans go away.
Private student loans go away when the statute of limitations runs out
Private student loans go away when the statute of limitations runs out. Identifying when that time frame will pass is a complicated question.
The statute of limitations may be based on:
- what your promissory note says
- where you signed the promissory note at
- where the bank that made the loan is based out of or
- where you live now.
Federal student loans never go away
Federal student loans, on the other hand, never go away. They have no statute of limitations. as a result, they can appear on your credit report forever. (The late payment history can be removed, however. More on that below.)
The one time that changes is after you default on a student loan.
Here's what I mean.
Let's assume you defaulted on a federal loan, and 8 years go by without you making a payment or having your tax refund or Social Security benefits offset.
Then in year 9, you contact the Department of Education to get the loan out of default through the loan rehabilitation program. After you make your final payment under that program, the federal loan will reappear on your credit report. None of the late student loan payments, however, should reappear on your credit report — just the loan.