Missing payments on your student loans is a surefire way to damage your credit score. However, it may be possible to save your score with a student loan goodwill letter.
Although a goodwill letter for student loans isn’t guaranteed to fix your credit, writing one is worth a shot. At worst, your loan servicer will reject your request. But at best, your servicer will ask the credit bureaus to remove those late payments from your record.
Here’s what you need to know, along with a sample of a goodwill letter for student loans that you can use as a template.
Goodwill letter for student loans: the basics
To learn what exactly a student loan goodwill letter is, and how can it lead to late payment adjustments, let’s answer the following:
What is a goodwill letter for student loans?
As its name suggests, a goodwill letter is a letter you write to your loan servicer requesting it remove late or missed student loan payments from your credit report in an act of goodwill. Late payments can seriously drag down your credit score. They are a red flag to other lenders that you don’t pay your debts on time.
So if you have late payments on your credit report, you could get slapped with high rates on a mortgage, car loan, personal loan or line of credit — or not even qualify in the first place. But if your goodwill letter is successful, your lender might remove those negative marks on your credit report. In that case, you’ll see your credit score improve right away.
Does a student loan goodwill letter work?
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that a student loan goodwill letter will work. The decision is completely up to the lender, who might not care about the circumstances that led to your missed payment.
But then again, you might get a sympathetic reader, especially if your late payment happened because of unexpected circumstances, such as an illness or a sudden job loss. If you can explain what happened in a polite and appreciative tone, your lender might be receptive to your request.
Make sure to word your letter carefully and explain what got you into this financial mess in the first place. Own up to your mistakes and assure your lender that missing a payment (or payments) was a rare occurrence for you that won’t happen again.
If, on the other hand, the reported late payment was an error on the part of your loan servicer, you can dispute it directly with the credit bureaus online or via phone or email. By contrast, a goodwill letter for student loans is your best bet if you made the mistake but want the chance to explain yourself and hopefully get another shot.
How long does it take to get a response to a goodwill letter?
You can expect to get a response to your goodwill letter within two to three weeks. If you don’t hear anything by then, follow up with a phone call.
Sample goodwill letter for student loans
While everyone’s goodwill letter will (and should) look different, this sample will give you an idea of what yours could look like. Remember to keep an appreciative tone while clearly stating your request.
To whom it may concern,
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. My name is Anita Favor, and my account number is 123456789. After checking my credit report, I discovered a late payment was reported on June 1, 2021.
I’ve always had a great experience with your company, and I’m committed to paying back my loan on time. Unfortunately, I experienced a sudden job loss during that time that stretched my budget to the point of breaking. I was unable to keep up with payments, which is a very unusual occurrence for me.
As you can see in my record, I’ve always made payments on time except for this one. Paying back my loan on time is important to me, and I resumed on-time repayment immediately when I was able to secure a new job and get my finances back on track.
At this point, I’m trying to obtain a mortgage and am worried about qualifying or getting stuck with high rates, which could cost me thousands of dollars over the years. I truly believe my credit report doesn’t accurately reflect my creditworthiness or my dedication to paying back my debts.
I humbly request that you make a goodwill adjustment and remove the late payment. Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you approve my request.
Important documentation to provide with your letter
Once you’ve found the right way to word your late payment adjustment request, make sure you’ve included all the necessary information:
- Your name, phone number, address and email
- Your account number
- Statements proving that you generally pay on time (if applicable)
Provide all identifying information so your loan servicer knows exactly what loan and late payment you’re referring to so that — if they’re so inclined — they can easily make the late payment adjustment for your student loan.
Tracking down the address of your loan servicer
Even though everything’s online these days, experts still recommend sending an actual letter to your servicer. To do so, you’ll need to find their address.
To save you some time, here are a few addresses for the biggest federal loan servicers:
For federal student loans:
Navient – U.S. Department of Education Loan Servicing
P.O. Box 9635
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9635
For private student loans:
P.O. Box 9640
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773-9640
P.O. Box 3229
Wilmington, DE 19804-0229
P.O. Box 82561
Lincoln, NE 68501-2561
P.O. Box 7860
Madison, WI 53707-7860
FedLoan Servicing Credit
P.O. Box 60610
Harrisburg, PA 17106-0610
633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Other steps to build your credit
Although there’s no guarantee a student loan goodwill letter will work, writing one is worth a try. If the servicer takes back that late payment report, your credit score could increase significantly.
But if it doesn’t, you’ll have to take the slow and steady route of rebuilding your credit in other ways. Keep paying back your loans on time, and do your best to chip away at your debt.
“Amounts owed” make up about one-third of your credit score, so lowering your debts will increase your score. You should also be careful not to close any old accounts, as “length of credit history” also plays a role.
As you know, falling behind on student loan payments can be a hard slap to your credit rating, so try your best to pay them on time. If you’re struggling to keep up with bills, contact your loan servicer about adjusting your payments.
You might be able to put your federal student loans on income-driven repayment or adjust payments through refinancing. You can also explore your options for deferment or forbearance until you can get back on your feet.
By contacting your loan servicer before you miss a payment, you might be able to reach an agreement and avoid damaging your credit.
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