Paying student loans on time can have a positive effect on your credit score and help build a good credit history. On the flip side, when you have a late or missed student loan payment, that can be reflected on your credit report as well. Delinquent payments can lower your credit score and have financial repercussions, such impacting your ability to qualify for a new credit card, car loan, or mortgage.
If you’re wondering how to remove student loans from a credit report, the answer is that it’s only an option if there’s inaccurate information on the report. Student loans are eventually removed from a credit report, however, after they’re paid off or seven years after they’ve been in default. Here’s what to know about student loans on a credit report, what happens when you default on a loan, and how to remove student loans from a credit report if there’s inaccurate information.
What Is a Credit Report?
Before considering the impact of student loans on your credit report, it’s helpful to review what a credit report is. It’s a statement that includes details about your current and prior credit activity, such as your history of loan payments or the status of your credit card accounts.
These statements are compiled by credit reporting companies who collect financial data about you from a range of sources, such as lenders or credit card companies. Lenders use credit reports to make decisions about whether to offer you a loan or what interest rate they will give you. Other companies use credit reports to make decisions about you as well – for example, when you rent an apartment, secure an insurance policy, or sign up for internet service.
Defaulting on Student Loans
It’s also worth reviewing what happens when a student loan goes into default. One in ten people in the United States has defaulted on a student loan, and 7.8% of total student loan debt is in default, according to the Education Data Initiative.
The point when a loan is considered to be in default depends on the type of student loan you have. For a loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program or the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, you’re considered to be in default if you don’t make your scheduled student loan payments for a period of at least 270 days (about nine months).
For a loan made under the Federal Perkins Loan Program, the holder of the loan may declare the loan to be in default if you don’t make any scheduled payment by its due date. The consequences of defaulting on student loans can be severe, including:
• The entire unpaid balance of your student loans, including interest, could be due in full immediately.
• The government can garnish your wages by up to 15%, meaning your employer is required to withhold a portion of your pay and send it directly to your loan holder.
• Your tax return and federal benefits payments may be withheld and applied to cover the costs of your defaulted loan.
• You could lose eligibility for any further federal student aid.
And you don’t have to default on your student loans to experience the consequences of nonpayment. Even if your payment is only a day late, your loan can be considered delinquent and you can be charged a penalty fee.
How Long Do Student Loans Remain on a Credit Report?
If your loan delinquency is reported to the credit bureaus, it will remain on your credit report for seven years. The exception to this is a Federal Perkins Loan, which is a low-interest federal student loan for undergraduate and graduate students who have exceptional financial need. This type of loan will remain on your credit report until you pay it off in full.
If you’re having difficulty making regular payments on your federal or private student loans, there are steps you can take before the consequences of defaulting kick in. One option is to apply for a student loan deferment—which allows you to temporarily stop making your federal student loan payments—or student loan forbearance, which temporarily reduces the amount of your payments. You can also contact your loan servicer to discuss adjusting your repayment plans.
Refinancing your student loans may also be an option—if you extend your term length, you may qualify for a lower monthly payment. Note that while these options provide short-term relief, they generally will result in paying more over the life of the loan.
How Do I Dispute a Student Loan on My Credit Report?
It’s a good habit to periodically check your credit report. You can request a free report from each of the three major credit agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—all are required by law to give you a free report every 12 months.
There are three reasons your student loan might have been wrongly placed in default and reported to the credit bureaus by mistake. Here’s how to begin the process to correct these errors:
1. If You Are Still in School
If you believe your loan was wrongly placed in default and you are attending school, contact your school’s registrar and ask for a record of your school attendance. Then call your loan servicer to ask about your record regarding school attendance.
If they have the incorrect information on file, provide your loan servicer with your records and request that your student loans be accurately reported to the credit bureaus.
2. If You Were Approved for Deferment or Forbearance
If you believe your loan was wrongly placed in default, but you were approved for (and were supposed to be in) a deferment or forbearance, there is a chance your loan servicer’s files aren’t up to date. You can contact the loan servicer and ask them to confirm the start and end dates of any deferments or forbearances that were applied to your account.
If the loan servicer doesn’t have the correct dates, provide documentation with the correct information and ask that your student loans be accurately reported to the credit bureaus. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a borrower may appeal the accuracy and validity of the information reported to the credit bureau and reflected on their credit report.
3. Inaccurate Reporting of Payments
If your loan has been reported as delinquent or in default to the credit bureaus, but you believe your payments are current, you can request a statement from your loan servicer that shows all the payments made on your student loan account, which you can compare against your bank records.
If some of your payments are missing from the statement provided by your loan servicer, you can provide proof of payment and request that your account be accurately reported to the credit reporting agencies.
Recommended: How to Build Credit Over Time
In all three cases, if you believe there is any type of error related to your student loan on your credit report, it’s best practice to also send a written copy of your dispute to the credit bureaus so they are aware that you have reported an error.
Named a Best Student Loan Refinance Company
by U.S. News and World Report.
Why Your Student Loans Should Stay on Your Credit Report
While you can’t actually remove your student loans from your credit report, you can dispute the student loans on your credit report if they are being reported incorrectly.
On the bright side, if you’re paying your student loans on time each month, that looks good on your credit report. It shows lenders that you are responsible and likely to pay loans back diligently.
When You’re Having Problems Paying Your Student Loans
If you’re having trouble paying your student loans on time, you may be able to make your loans more affordable, either with a federal income-based repayment plan or by refinancing with an extended loan term.
When you start making your payments by the due date each month, you may see that your student loans can become a more positive part of your credit report. Again, while these options provide short-term relief, they generally will result in paying more over the life of the loan.
How to Remove Student Loans From Credit Report
As mentioned earlier, you can only remove student loans from a credit report if they contain inaccurate information. If there’s information on your credit report that’s incorrect, you can reach out to the loan servicer to fix the errors, and it’s a good idea to send a copy to each of the major credit bureaus. A defaulted student loan is removed from a credit report after seven years.
If you made timely payments on your loan and paid it off in full, it may still appear on your credit report for up to 10 years as evidence of your positive payment history and can boost your credit score.
While you generally can’t remove student loans from a credit report unless there are errors, it isn’t a bad thing if you make payments on time. If a loan is delinquent, it will be removed from your credit report after seven years, though you will still be responsible for paying back the loan.
If you’re having trouble making loan payments, there are ways to make repayment easier. Borrowers with federal student loans can look into forgiveness, an income-driven repayment plan, or a change to the loan’s terms.
And if you qualify, refinancing your student loans with a private lender like SoFi allows you to consolidate multiple student loan balances into a single new loan, ideally at a lower interest rate. Keep in mind, however, that refinancing federal loans with a private lender means you’ll lose access to federal benefits like forbearance, deferment, and income-based repayment plans.
Is it illegal to remove student loans from a credit report?
There’s no legal way to remove student loans from a credit report unless the information is incorrect. If you think there’s an error on your credit report, you can contact your loan servicer with documentation and ask them to provide accurate information to the credit reporting agencies. It’s also a good idea to send a copy of the dispute to the credit bureaus as well.
How do I get a student loan removed from my credit report?
If you paid your student loan off in full, it may still appear on your credit report for up to 10 years as evidence of your positive payment history. It takes seven years to have a defaulted student loan removed from a credit report. Keep in mind you are still responsible for paying off the defaulted loan and you won’t be able to secure another type of federal loan until you do.
How can I get rid of student loans legally?
If you have federal student loans, options such as federal forgiveness programs or income-driven repayment plans can help decrease the amount of your student loan that you need to pay back. If you have private or federal student loans, refinancing can help lower monthly payments by securing a lower interest rate and/or extending your loan term. If you refinance a federal loan, however, you will no longer have access to federal protections and benefits.
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended to December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since in doing so you will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave up to $10,000 and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients unrefinanced to receive your federal benefit. CLICK HERE for more information.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
$500 Student Loan Refinancing Bonus Offer: Terms and conditions apply. Offer is subject to lender approval, and not available to residents of Ohio. The offer is only open to new Student Loan Refinance borrowers. To receive the offer you must: (1) register and apply through the unique link provided by 11:59pm ET 11/30/2021; (2) complete and fund a student loan refinance application with SoFi before 11/14/2021; (3) have or apply for a SoFi Money account within 60 days of starting your Student Loan Refinance application to receive the bonus; and (4) meet SoFi’s underwriting criteria. Once conditions are met and the loan has been disbursed, your welcome bonus will be deposited into your SoFi Money account within 30 calendar days. If you do not qualify for the SoFi Money account, SoFi will offer other payment options. Bonuses that are not redeemed within 180 calendar days of the date they were made available to the recipient may be subject to forfeit. Bonus amounts of $600 or greater in a single calendar year may be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as miscellaneous income to the recipient on Form 1099-MISC in the year received as required by applicable law. Recipient is responsible for any applicable federal, state, or local taxes associated with receiving the bonus offer; consult your tax advisor to determine applicable tax consequences. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate the offer at any time with or without notice.