Does Student Loan Debt Expire? Everything You Need to Know

Unfortunately, no, student loan debt does not expire.

Just because student loan debt does not expire doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with student loan debt forever. It also doesn’t mean you can simply stop making payments and the balance will miraculously disappear – in fact, it’s quite the opposite.

What happens if you stop paying your federal student loan debt?

After 270 days of not making the payments for your federal student loans, the loan goes into default. This could lead to a variety of consequences, such as:

  • Loan acceleration: the entire balance of your student loans becomes due immediately
  • You’re sent to collections which will negatively affect your credit score (which is very difficult to rebuild).
  • The federal government can withhold your tax returns, garnish your wages or even sue you to pay back your balance.
  • There is currently no statute of limitations for federal loans, which means collectors can pursue you for the rest of your life, and your credit may never recover.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unable to make payments, reach out to your loan servicer immediately. They may be able to work with you so and create a plan to help keep you on track.

What happens if you stop paying your private student loan debt?

After 3-months of not making payments on your private student loans, they go into default. While private lenders cannot garnish your wages or withhold your tax returns, the non-payment of these loans will directly affect your credit score.

After stopping payment, interest continues to accrue, and late fees are piled on – which means your debt will continue to grow until you resume payment.

If you’re unable to make payments, reach out to your loan servicer. Depending on your situation, they may be able to reduce your monthly payments so you can avoid going into default.

What is student loan forgiveness?

Those who work for the government, in the non-profit sector, and healthcare might qualify for Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

For those who qualify for student loan forgiveness, this doesn’t mean you never have to make a student loan payment or won’t have student loan debt. In fact, these individuals make 10-years of qualifying payments before being eligible for student loan forgiveness.

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