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After 20 Years, My Old Crappy Student Loans Resurfaced

Written by Steve Rhode


Dear Steve,

I have student loans that are nearly 20 yrs old. I stop paying them because the school i attended went bankrupt and my degree was basically useless as it was a Technical school.

I went thru a chapter 13 bankruptcy and tried to include the loans but they were not dismissed.

I never got an email or phone call regarding my student loans until yesterday? 20yrs and just got contacted? what do you suggest i should do?



Dear Al,

Bummer these resurfaced. You might be eligible for the Closed School Discharge. There are a number of criteria to look at but it might just be that you qualify. Click here.

The fact it has been so long could be both a blessing and a curse in trying to gather the needed documentation for this full loan discharge.

I’m assuming these are federal student loans. If these are private student loans then the best things to do might be to do nothing. It’s quite possible these loans are outside of the statute of limitations if they are private loans. While the collector can try to collect, they may not be able to sue you.

If these are private loans and this might be an approach you take to deal with the debt, I would strongly advise you pay for a consult with an attorney who is licensed in your state to understand what not to say or do with the collector.


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.

READ  My Student Loans Just Keep Getting Bigger as I Get Older. - David

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.

1 Comment

  • I am a tad bit confused… Steve mentioned that IF the loans were private loans, then you may be able to just ignore them? Then in the next to last paragraph Steve says: “I’m assuming these are federal student loans?”. But then in the last paragraph Steve says: “If these are private loans and this might be an approach you take to deal with the debt, I would strongly advise you pay for a consult with an attorney who is licensed in your state….” So which is confusing to me. If the loans are “Federal” I would agree that you may need to seek some type of legal counsel. My suggestion is that you first get the name of the people calling you and contact addresses, phone numbers etc. Get as much detail on WHO it is who is asking for you to pay this debt. Perhaps you should contact the Ombudsman for the Department of Education (DOE). And also check with the DOE directly? The contact for the DOE ombudsman is here:

    To see if your loans are Federal and still in the system of the DOE check here: and once you register, you may be able to locate a page that lists your loans if they are still in the system. Click on the “My Account” tab on that page… then a pop up will open which says: “You must have created an FSA ID Username and Password on the page pictured below to log in.” Go ahead a create an account and you should be taken to a page that lists your school debts if they are indeed in the system. If there is nothing listed, I would seriously question the identity of the callers asking you to pay the loans. Make THEM prove that you OWE the money! Visit my web site for help as well… Best of luck, Richard Allan Precht

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