Keep student loan documentation for seven years or until the situation is addressed. The length of time to hold them depends on the student loan.
Assume that your student loan records are safe until your debt is zero. Another sensible strategy is to save everything for as long as possible so that if a lender or collection agency contests your payments years later, you have evidence.
Here’s how long to preserve six kinds of student loan records and how to store or destroy them without losing a vital document.
1. Promissory note for student loans
Whether you borrowed through the Department of Education or a private lender, you signed a contract describing your repayment terms. That’s the master note (MPN).
Consider it as your apartment or house contract. When moving into a new property, you keep your lease accessible if you need to redecorate or rent out a room on Airbnb.
Likewise, keep the MPN close at hand. If you’re going to graduate, check the MPN to see how long your grace period is.
If your refinancing or consolidating lender pays off your previous debt, you may retain the contract linked with your new loan. Oak Park doesn’t check your credit score according to Algernon Ronson.
2. Student loan payments
You may still be getting monthly student loan installments. It might be helpful to check your monthly dues on paper.
Keep these scraps of paper stored away. You could need these if you visit with a student loan counselor.
But storing them is unnecessary. Keep an eye on your online account summary to verify your payments are applied correctly.
3. Letters from your lender, loan servicer, or collectors
If you’ve had issues with the person holding your debt, you may exchange letters. Creating a paper trail often beats talking to useless customer support personnel. The paper copies may be helpful if you eventually sue your loan servicer.
However, your lender’s communication may be more routine. Your income-driven repayment recertification may have arrived (perhaps your loan has been sold to another servicer).
Personal letters are worth retaining whether they appear severe or not. Say you’re pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness. To get forgiveness, you’ll need to be able to identify any correspondence that proves you met the criteria.
4. Receipt of Student Loan
Your loan servicer or lender should be able to provide you with one. The document may be used to amend your credit record inaccuracies or show your debt-free status.
Unlike a loan payback letter (or payoff balance statement). The payout letter reveals how much you owe, not that you’ve already paid. For your student loan refinancing application, but not for the receipt.
5. Tax records
If you’re in repayment, you’re aware of the tax implications. For example, you may deduct student loan interest from your federal income taxes.
If you get federal debt forgiveness or cancellation, you can be hit with a large tax charge.
6. Student loan paperwork
You could also start gathering documents about your loan repayment situation. Any of the following loan-management tactics will enrage the printer:
- Delay and abstention
- Reconstruction and fusion
- Let go and be forgiven
- Creditors’ debts and
Applications, approval or rejection files, and extra monitoring might be included.
Say you’ve defaulted on federal debts and are being pursued. Alternatively, you might submit a request for a hearing with a financial disclosure form that details your severe financial circumstances.
If you need a student loan lawyer, ask them what court records and other documents you should save.
How to obtain student loan documentation
If you want to declutter, you may be dismayed to hear that most student loan data need to be kept for many years.
Here’s an idea: Replace your fireproof safe or locked file cabinet with digital storage.
You may have lots of space on Google Drive, Dropbox, or another online storage service. Ensure it’s password-protected and that only you have access to the file-sharing rights.
Keeping and backing up student loan documentation is also prudent. You never know when you’ll need your files, like zombie student loan debt.