- Federal law controls the behavior of credit reporting agencies.
- Delinquent federal student loans can be reported indefinitely.
- Become current on federal student loan payments to wash them from a credit report.
I defaulted on a student loan, which appears on my credit report. How do I remove this derogatory entry?
In 2009, I consolidated my four student loans with William D. Ford’s income contingent program. Background: Since 2005 I have lost two jobs and both times my student loans went into default with two different servicers. I’ve been back to work for one year now. I had made five payments under the Ford ICP until they received my tax info from the IRS — my current temporary job pays 60% less than I was making and therefore they have set my monthly payment at -0-. But I expect that to change this year. Is there anything I can do to remove Nelnet (the last servicer) and the guaranty agency from my credit report? Anything I can do to make it better? Is it true that if I make 12 consecutive payments (or even "non-payments" at 0.00 with Ford that Nelnet will be removed from my credit report? Nelnet also sent me to a collection agency; I set up the Ford ICP through the collection agency. Am I screwed because I failed to rehab my loans before switching to the ICP? Nelnet and the guaranty agency are hurting my FICO and I am at a loss as to fix it. Thanks a million for any advice.
Let us start with a look at the rules for what can appear when on a credit report.
Federal law (US Code Title 15, §1681c) controls the behavior of credit reporting agencies (CRAs). The specific law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under FCRA §605 (a) and (b), an account in collection will appear on a consumer’s credit report for up to 7½ years. To determine when an account will be removed by the CRAs (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian and others), add 7 years to the date of first delinquency. The date of first delinquency is shown in credit reports. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt or one debt collector selling the debt to another collector, is irrelevant to the 7-year rule.
Some debts have a reporting period longer than 7 years, including:
- Tax liens: 10 years if unpaid, or 7 years from the payment date
- Bankruptcy: 10 years from the date of filing (15 U.S.C. §1681c)
- Perkins student loans: Until paid in full (20 U.S.C. §1087cc(c)(3))
- Direct and FFEL loans: 7 years from default or rehabilitation date (20 U.S.C. §1080a(f)(1) and 20 U.S.C. §1087e(a)(1))
- Judgments: 7 years or the debtor’s state statute of limitations on judgments, whichever is longer
The FCRA 7-year rule is separate from state statutes of limitations for debt issues.
According to the Dept. of Education Web page Repaying Student Loans Held by the U.S. Department of Education, to get a negative credit report made by the Department removed, you must successfully complete the Dept. of Education’s loan rehabilitation program.
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The William D. Ford income contingent program concerns direct loans. According to the Dept. of Education loan rehabilitation page I just mentioned, "To rehabilitate a Direct Loan, you must make at least nine (9) full payments of an agreed amount within twenty (20) days of their monthly due dates over a ten (10) month period to the U.S. Department of Education (Department). Payments secured from you on an involuntary basis, such as through wage garnishment or litigation, cannot be counted toward your nine (9) payments. Once you have made the required payments, your loan(s) will be returned to the Direct Loan Servicing Center."
At the risk of stating the obvious, it would appear that the best way for a person to wash a delinquent student loan from their credit report is to become current on payments.
You might be curious if bankruptcy will resolve a student loan. Alas, no, unless there is a hardship involved. See the Bills.com resource Student Loan Bankruptcy to learn more.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.