UPDATED: October 13, 2022

Many people consider student loans as their first dive into reality—the reality of debt. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to pay off. And now that you’re preparing for a big purchase, how do you eliminate the negative student loan information in your credit report?

Cleaning up your credit report and improving your credit score is essential, but one wrong move can worsen your standing and ruin your chances of getting approved for loans. 

To help you out, we’ve looked at sources about federal and private student loans, including reputable finance sites. 

We’ve also read people's experiences on trying to remove negative student loans from their credit reports via independent sites and gathered tips and best practices.

We also found the common misconception about student loans on credit reports and important reminders when trying to remove student loans. Don’t miss out! 

How to remove student loans from your credit report

It’s crucial to pay student loans in full and on time. If you miss payments, it’ll become delinquent. Moreover, the loan may go into default if it remains delinquent. These situations can affect your credit score negatively.

Your payment history is a significant part of your credit score. If you have delinquent or defaulted student loans on your credit report, your FICO credit score may decline and make it more difficult for you to get loans or open new credit lines.

Many mortgage lenders also look at your student loans and other debt before granting a mortgage.

Fortunately, there are ways to remove delinquent or defaulted student loans from your credit report. Here are some of the best ways to do so:

1. Rehabilitate the loan

If you have a federal student loan, one option you can try to remove a defaulted student loan is rehabilitating it. You may do so by contacting your loan provider and requesting it to arrange reduced monthly payments.

When you request to rehabilitate your loans, the requirements may vary depending on the loan holder and your loan type. 

For instance, loans in the Federal Perkins Loan Program may require you to do different things compared to William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans.

You can log in on the Federal Student Aid website and view your loan servicer details if you don’t know who the loan holder is. 

For Direct Loan and FFEL Program loans, you have to agree in writing to make nine voluntary and reasonable monthly payments (which your loan holder will determine) within 20 days and accomplish those nine payments within ten consecutive months.

When you complete these payments, your account holder can remove the default status from your credit record.

You can also lower your monthly payments based on the amount of your monthly income.

For private student loans, however, this method generally won’t work because private lenders typically don’t allow you to rehabilitate loans. 

Although you can opt to refinance loans with different lenders, doing so may be challenging due to a default record in your credit history.

2. Apply for loan forgiveness

You can also apply for loan forgiveness if you have a federal loan; private lenders generally don’t offer this benefit. 

Student loan forgiveness means you don’t have to pay for the whole or some of your student loans. This can help remove some of your negative records.

There are numerous types of student loan forgiveness you can apply for, which include:

Public service loan forgiveness

Public service loan forgiveness is available for Direct Loans, but it may also be possible for FFEL Program and Perkins loans if you’ve consolidated them into the Direct Loan program.

This student loan forgiveness program can forgive the remaining balance of your student loans if:

  • You work full-time for a government or approved nonprofit organization
  • You’ve made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan

Teacher loan forgiveness

This type of loan forgiveness is available for Direct and FFEL Program loans. To qualify for teacher loan forgiveness, you have to teach full-time in low-income educational institutions for five full, consecutive academic years.

Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

President Joe Biden recently announced his administration’s student loan forgiveness plan, stating that the government can cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debts for nearly 20 million qualified Americans.

To qualify for this plan, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You currently hold a federal student loan
  • Your yearly income is below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households)

If you’re a Pell Grant recipient and meet these criteria, you may be eligible for $20,000 in forgiven loans. However, the government may only forgive $10,000 if you’re not a Pell Grant recipient.

The White House announced that applications might open around early October.

3. Dispute errors

If you see any errors in your student loans records, such as incorrect late payments or default statuses, you can contact your loan provider to dispute them. You may do so regardless if you have a federal or private loan.

4. Write a goodwill letter

Goodwill letters are documents you can write to your lenders requesting to remove late student loan payments in acts of goodwill. 

You may do so if you have valid and unexpected circumstances that caused you to miss your payment, such as a sudden loss of income, an accident, or illness.

Do goodwill letters work for student loans? There’s no guarantee that they will, but they’re worth a shot—you may appeal to sympathetic lenders, and they may accept your request. Many people have done so successfully.

It’s best to remain respectful, appreciative, and clear in your goodwill letter and assure the lender that it will never happen again.

How long do student loans stay on your credit report?

Delinquent or defaulted student loan records generally go away after seven years. However, Perkins loans (which exist for students with exceptional financial needs) will remain on your credit report until you’ve fully paid your debts.

However, remember that even if you remove the negative entry from your credit report, you still have to pay for your student loans.

What happens if you never pay your student loans? Aside from the damaged credit score, you may also be subject to wage garnishment, late fees, and withheld tax refunds.

You may also lose your eligibility for future student loan aids, and your lender may sue you.

You can apply for a student loan deferment if you’re struggling to pay federal student loans. This enables you to pause your payments temporarily. You may also apply for forbearance, which can reduce the amount you have to pay for a given period. 

It’s best to contact your loan provider to discuss your options and whether it’s possible to change your payment plan.

How to dispute student loan errors on your credit report

As mentioned above, you may encounter inaccurate negative information regarding student loans on your credit report. Here’s how you can dispute these errors:

  • Gather evidence of the errors, such as receipts or emails of on-time payments, bank statements, and other documents that may support your claim.
  • Write a dispute letter containing relevant details and send it to your student loan holder. Having a written record of your claim can help you and the lender review the dispute.
  • Wait for the lender’s decision and follow up if necessary.

If you don’t hear from your loan holder, you may also gather evidence and send dispute letters to the major credit reporting agencies. 

They can investigate the issue and contact the lenders. They may remove the negative item on your report with enough evidence.

How keeping student loan information on your credit reports can be a good thing

Important to note: One common misconception is that student loan records are always a bad thing for lenders. However, this isn’t the case, as positive information can actually help you. 

Negative records stay on your credit report for up to seven years, but positive ones remain for up to 10 years. Paying on time can help build a strong payment history even if you’ve had a delinquency in the past.

What you can do about defaulted student loans

Defaulting on student loans can negatively affect your credit, but you can take steps to get out of it. Aside from paying in full, loan rehabilitation and consolidation are the two main ways of handling defaulted student loans.

  • Student loan rehabilitation: As we’ve highlighted above, rehabilitating your loan can bring it out of default if you adhere to the payment requirements.
  • Student loan consolidation: Loan consolidation entails combining multiple federal loans into one. You can do so to resolve the default right away, but it won’t remove the default record from your credit report.

Conclusion

Student loans can be challenging to deal with, and defaulted or delinquent loans are even more so. They can negatively affect your credit score and make it difficult to apply for other loans or open new accounts.

Thankfully, the guide above contains what you need to remove negative student loan records from your credit reports, such as loan rehabilitation, loan forgiveness, and error disputes.

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