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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. It has my SSN, but not my name and I did not sign a promissory note.
  2. It has my Name, but not my SSN, and I did not sign a promissory note.
  3. It has my Name and SSN, but I did not sign a promissory note.
  4. The loan was discharged (forgiven) in bankruptcy
  5. I dispute the balance or I paid the loan in full
  6. The balance is higher than what I borrowed
  7. I made payments that have not been credited to the balance
  8. Can I be charged interest when I was not even aware that I owed this loan?

Up 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

Up 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 for which the loan was borrowed.

Up 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 that the loan was made (e.g., tax returns, driver's licenses, cancelled 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 for which the loan was made, 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 clearly not yours, you can provide an affidavit from an independent hand-writing analyst.


Up 4. The loan was discharged (forgiven) in bankruptcy

Federal student up 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 up based on when the bankruptcy was filed.  If your bankruptcy petition was dismissed rather than discharged, 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 had been required to make payments on the loan for at least five years prior to 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 had been required to make payments on the loan for at least five years prior to the date you filed.

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

Your loan was only dischargeable if you had been required to make payments on the loan for at least seven years prior to 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

Up 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/or fees that may have been added as a result of accrued interest and, if in default, collection costs and fees.

Second, if you had multiple up, check to see if your payments were applied to a different loan than the one you are currently disputing.

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

Keep in mind that a Federal student loan, like most up, accrues interest over time. In addition, the balance on defaulted student up may be further increased by the addition 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/or fees that have been added. You should also keep in mind that you may have taken out multiple up 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 that one or more of your payments have not been credited, send proof to the agency holding the loan(s).  The documents you should 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 cancelled check.

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

A copy, front and back, of the cancelled 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 from the Internal Revenue Service, notifying you that your federal payment was offset.  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

Up 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 may not have been able to reach you, but you are still responsible to repay the loan as well as any interest that has accrued and any collection costs and fees that have been added.

Certain debts may not be enforceable if the lender fails to attempt to collect them for a period of time and debtors may invoke a legal principle called the "defense of laches" to get out of paying the debt. However, this defense cannot be used against Federal student up.