- Federal student loans have not statute of limitations.
- Private student loans are subject to state statutes of limitations.
What is the statute of limitations for student loans?
If I took out a student loan 10 years ago and haven't paid it off yet, do I still have to pay it? What is the statute of limitations for student loans?
Thank you for your question about statute of limitations on student loans.
You did not specify whether your loans are federal student loans or private student loans. This distinction is huge, as the statute of limitations for federal student loans and for private student loans are not the same.
Check the Dept. of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to see if the loan is federal. State statutes of limitations do not apply to federal loans, and are subject to collection indefinitely. Student loans not backed by federal grants or guarantees do not appear in the NSLDS, and are therefore private. Private student loans are subject to state statutes of limitations.
Federal Student Loans
The bad news: Due to changes in federal laws in 1998 and 2005, collection on federal student loans now have no statute of limitation and — with very limited exceptions — can no longer be erased though bankruptcy.
The good news: There are many options available for student loan resolution, some of them quite flexible. Depending on the specifics of the situation, student loan borrowers may be eligible for programs that offer extended repayment periods, modifications that are income-sensitive (income based repayment or income contingent repayment, or graduated (starting small and rise over time). Some plans also offer possibility of "rehabilitating" a defaulted loan, so that some or all negative information about the loan is expunged from the borrower’s credit report if certain criteria are met.
Several federal and state agencies offer programs to help you cancel or reduce all or a portion of your student loan debt. Student loan forgiveness programs involve you making and honoring a long term commitment to teaching, nursing, or military service. To learn about some of the specific forgiveness programs available and how you can apply, visit the Federal Student Aid Web site.
Struggling with debt questions? Let the Bills.com Debt Coach review your debts and give you your options to resolving these debts.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans have entirely different rules for statutes of limitations. Unlike federal student loans, private student loans are subject to state’s statute of limitations for taking legal action to collect on written contracts. Once the statute of limitations expires, you can raise the statute of limitations as a defense, if the creditor attempts to take legal action to collect on the debt. However, just because the statute of limitations passes does not mean that a creditor or collection agent cannot try to collect on the debt. If you make a payment on a debt whose statute of limitations has passed, you can bring an expired debt back to life.
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The statutes of limitations start running 30 days after your last payment on the debt. If you think that the statute of limitations for a private student loan debt is about to expire, I encourage you to consult with an attorney in your area to discuss the implications of an expired statute, and what actions you need to avoid to prevent the statute of limitations from being tolled or restarted.
The statute of limitations for a written contract no longer apply if the creditor or collection agency sues you, before the statute of limitations expires, and obtains a judgment against you. If that happens, you will be subject to wage garnishments, bank levies, and liens.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.