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Can paid student loans continue to report past negative payment history

Even though defaulted student loans can be pursued forever, negative credit reporting must be removed after 7 years with the exception of Perkins loans, which can remain until repaid.

Even though a student loan may be paid in full, any negative history can continue to be reported up to seven years from the date of first delinquency with the exception of Perkins loans, which can be reported until repaid.

QUESTION: So if I finished paying my students loans last year in March. But they are showing up on my report as one month terms, 120 days or more late, and garnishments. Do I contact the student loan people or credit bureaus for the status updates?

ANSWER: Paid student loans should report with a $0 balance and state “Paid” on your credit reports. Unfortunately, the default and negative notations can remain including the past late payment history and garnishment for 7 years from the original delinquency date. If your student loans became delinquent less than seven years ago, they still can still appear in your history.

You can write a dispute letter directly to the student loan lender requesting that the account be updated to paid; and, include in your letter a request for the past negative information be deleted. While they are not obligated to delete accurate negative information it doesn’t hurt to request a “goodwill” deletion of the negative history on the account since it is now paid in full.


There may be a chance, if the accounts have not been updated, that a dispute with the credit bureaus could result in a deletion of the negative history. But that all depends on whether or not the lender responds within 30 days of the dispute with the credit bureaus.

Your best strategy is more likely requesting a goodwill deletion of the negative information. I really wish more people knew about student loan rehabilitation. Student loan rehabilitation can really help in cleaning up your credit once monthly payments become consistent. Under rehabilitation the default notations and late payments are removed from your credit reports. More information on student rehabilitation can be found here.

In the meantime, build your credit scores by making on-time payments with your current credit accounts. If you have credit cards not only will on-time payments make a difference in credit scores but make sure you keep credit card balances low relative to your credit limit (less than 30%, or ideally, less than 10%). Also, monitor all three of your credit reports to ensure there are no errors or inaccurate information. You are entitled to free credit reports once a year at annualcreditreport.com

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