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 are no student loan forgiveness options for private loans. 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 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 student 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.
Why are my student loans not on my credit report?
Your student loans typically don’t show on your credit report after you’ve defaulted and more than 7 years have passed from the date of default.
When that happens, the 3 major credit bureaus remove the student loans and late credit history from your credit report.
This removal eliminates the negative impact your defaulted loans were having on your credit score, but it doesn’t get rid of your student loans.
There’s no statute of limitations for federal student loans.
There is, however, a statute of limitations for private student loans.
Federal Family Education Loans made by a private lender are an exception. Loans made under the FFEL program are federal student loans even though they were made by a private lender.
The easiest way to find out what type of loans you have is to check both the US Department of Education’s studentaid.gov and your free credit report. The loans listed on the studentaid.gov website are federal student loans. Any student loan accounts listed on your credit report and not on the studentaid.gov website are private student loans.
One thing people ask me is, “will my student loans show up on my credit report when I bring them back in good standing?”
The answer is yes.
So if you’re about to close on a home with a conventional mortgage, then you may want to wait until you close before you get your student loans out of default.
But if you’re getting an FHA or VA loan, you’ll need to bring your loans back into good standing to get out of the CAIVRS system before you close.
Do student loans fall off your credit report?
Both federal and private student loans fall off your credit report about 7.5 years after your last payment or date of default.
For federal student loans, you default after 9 months of nonpayment. So you'll have the negative information for those 9 months plus 7.5 years of negative information before the loans fall off your credit report. Remember, there's no statute of limitations for federal student loans. So even after they fall off your credit report, you still owe the debt and can be garnished for them.
Private student loans usually default or are charged off around 120-180 days of nonpayment. Once that status appears on your credit report, it will be another 7.5 years before the loans are removed.