Student Loans

Do I Have to Pay Back a Student Loan if My Credit Report Shows No Balance?

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

Student loans: Many are reporting zero balances on their student loans (I am assuming federal loans) as shown on their credit report. One person I know called the reporting agency and asked if they had to pay it back. They said that he didnt.

Do you know why many are reporting zero balances on their student loans in the past month?



Dear Lisee,

If these are federal loans this could just be a reporting error created by the Department of Education because of the temporary pandemic relief efforts that will expire.

“To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.”

Your credit report is not a legal statement of the status of your account. It is a reporting of account data shared by a reporting party.

There is no way a credit reporting employee could make a definitive statement about if a loan is payable and no consumer could determine that as well.

All questions should be directed to the student loan creditor or servicer for federal loans. Federal loans also have the ability to be confirmed by logging into the National Student Loan Database System to find the status of loans.

There is nothing you’ve said that would make me believe the loans have vanished and won’t return.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


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