Student Loan Disputes (Option 1)

Use this information to dispute student loans in default when you dispute the amount, or you do not owe the money at all.

I do not believe I owe the student loan because:

1. This loan has my SSN, but not my name, and I did not sign a promissory note for this loan.

Send photocopies of the following to the agency that holds the loan:

    • Social Security Card
    • Driver’s license or government-issued ID card
    • Passport or Birth Certificate

2. This loan has my Name, but not my SSN, and I did not sign a promissory note for this loan

Contact the agency that holds the loan and describe your problem.  They may require you to submit examples of your signature if your date of birth matches that of the borrower, or if you attended the school associated with the loan.

3. This loan has my Name and SSN, but I did not sign a promissory note for this loan

Somebody else may have used your identity!   Submit photocopied examples of your signature from around the time the loan occurred (e.g., tax returns, driver’s licenses, canceled checks) so the agency holding the loan can compare the signature on the promissory note to the signature examples you provide.

Alternatively, provide proof that you could not have attended the school associated with the loan, such as proof that you were employed, enrolled elsewhere or were living in another location, etc.)

If you are unable to provide such proof, but the signature is not yours, you can provide an affidavit from an independent hand-writing analyst.

4. The loan was discharged (forgiven) in bankruptcy

Federal student loans are not automatically dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Whether your loan was dischargeable depends largely on when you filed for bankruptcy, and how old your loan was at the time you filed.  The chart below will help you understand the requirements for discharging student loans based on when the bankruptcy date.  If the court dismissed your bankruptcy petition, then your loan would not be dischargeable.

If you filed for bankruptcy

Then

Before 9/30/1977

Your loan is probably dischargeable

Between 9/30/1977 and 11/5/1978

Your loan was only dischargeable if you made payments on the loan for at least five years before the date you filed.

Between 11/6/1978 and 8/13/1979

Your loan is probably dischargeable

Between 8/14/1979 and 5/27/1991

Your loan was only dischargeable if you made payments on the loan for at least five years before the date you filed.

Between 5/28/1991 and 10/7/1998

Your loan was only dischargeable if you made payments on the loan for at least seven years before the date you filed.

On or after 10/8/1998

Your loan is probably NOT dischargeable unless the bankruptcy court specifically determined that requiring you to repay the loan would constitute an undue hardship for you or your dependents.

There are exceptions to the above general guidelines so, to be certain whether or not your student loan can/was discharged in a bankruptcy, do the following:

Submit the following items and proof of your bankruptcy to the agency that holds your loan:

    • Copy of the notice of the first meeting of creditors (341 Meeting)
    • List of creditors (schedule A-3)
    • Final Discharge Notice
    • Cover letter stating your name, social security number, and the account number(s) of the loan(s) you believe should be discharged (in many cases, your social security number is your account number).

Mail the above proof to the address on the most recent payment demand letter or bill for this loan; if the address to which you are requested to send payment is the National Payment Center in Greenville, TX, submit your documentation instead to:

U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 1920
St. Paul, MN  55101

5, 6 & 7. I am disputing the balance, or I previously paid in full

First, check to be sure the amount you paid, equaled the amount of interest and fees added as a result of accrued interest and, if in default, collection costs, and fees.

Second, if you had multiple loans, check to see if they mistakenly applied your payments to a loan different than the one you are disputing.

If neither of the above situations applies, or the balance is higher than what you borrowed, do the following:

Keep in mind that a Federal student loan, like most loans, accrue interest over time. Also, the balance on defaulted student loans may increase because of collection costs and fees that are allowed for in the promissory note that you signed. As a result, the balance that you currently owe will be larger than the amount you borrowed if the amount you have paid does not equal the amount of interest and fees added. You should also keep in mind that you may have taken out multiple loans that were serviced by different agencies after you graduated. Thus, payments that you made may have applied to a different loan than the one you are currently disputing.

Send a copy of your proof that the loan was paid in full, discharged or otherwise satisfied, to the agency that is holding your loan.

If you believe they did not credit one or more of your payments, send proof to the agency holding the loan(s).  The documents you submit depend on how you made your payment(s).

If you sent payment via:

Then you need to submit the following proof

Personal check

A copy, front and back, of the canceled check.

Cashier’s check, money order or Western Union Quick Collect payment

A copy, front and back, of the canceled payment instrument.  You will have to obtain this from the bank or agency that issued the check or money order.  A copy of your receipt is not sufficient.

Federal Treasury Offset Payment

A copy of the notice from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Management Service (FMS), or the Internal Revenue Service, notifying you that they offset your federal payment.  If you do not have this notice, you may obtain a copy by calling FMS at 888-304-3107.

Credit Card

A copy of the credit card’s billing statement that shows the transaction in question.

Send the above proof with a cover letter that includes your name, address, and social security number. Mail it to the address on the most recent payment demand letter or bill for this loan; if the address to which you are requested to send payment is the National Payment Center in Greenville, TX, submit your documentation instead to:

U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 4222
Iowa City, IA  52244-4222

8. Can I be charged interest when I was not even aware that I owed this loan?

When you signed for your student loan, it became your responsibility to let your lender know whenever your address changed.

If you failed to do so, the lender or other agencies that have held your loan might not have been able to reach you, but you are still responsible for repaying the loan as well as any accrued interest and collection costs and fees.

Certain debts may not be enforceable if the lender fails to attempt to collect them for some time, and debtors may invoke a legal principle called the “defense of laches” to get out of paying the debt. However, you cannot use this defense against Federal student loans.