Why Have My Private Student Lenders Not Sued Me Yet?

Dear Steve,

I went to a public school and obtained 2 degrees. A good portion of my student loan debt were in private loans.

The economy crashed in 2008 and I couldn’t find work in 2009 so I went back for more education to hide from the economic realities (I had no way to pay on the loans).

Sallie Mae – however, put half of my private loans into default (now around $40k) even though I sent the deferment sheet in. I have another $50k in private loans I’ve been paying down that I have cosigned with my mother.

My public loans have been in deferment. I’m just starting to look to pay on those. I have around $30k in federal loans.

I know I can’t get rid of the private loans, and I don’t know why they haven’t come after me in court yet.

It will be 6 years in September since my default. I had no idea I was even in default till the spring of 2013.

What do you suggest?


Dear George,

It would be prudent for you to meet with an attorney licensed in your state and get a clear understanding if the statute of limitations has expired on those unpaid private student loans. If so, then they can’t sue you to collect anymore but they could continue to report you delinquent on your credit report for another year. The reality is you simply may be able to walk away from those loans if that’s what you want to do.

If the loans are past the statute of limitations don’t be surprised if a future debt collector calls you and tries to get you to pay. Collecting on out of statute debt is a tactic some debt collectors try. But this is a tactic the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and others are closely studying.

I fully expect we will see new regulations and rules in the near future regarding collecting this expired debt. Soon, debt collectors will have to notify consumers when debt is no longer legally enforceable. For now, they can try to trick you into paying it.

On the federal loans, you might want to consider getting those out of deferment and into a better repayment option. There are some good ones that can result in a low or zero dollar monthly payment, For details on those programs, click here.

Before I go I wanted to leave you with three easy action items you jump on right now to address your situation. Just click here.

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If you have a credit or debt question you’d like to ask, just click here and ask away.

This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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