What happens if I miss a student loan payment?

Student loan payments can be expensive, particularly as interest starts to add up. There are some months where you may just not have it in your budget to make your payments. Here’s what you need to know about missing student loan payments and what your options are. 

Late Fees

If you miss a student loan payment, you will usually be charged additional late fees. These fees vary depending on your loan provider and the type of loan you have. If you miss multiple payments, these student loan fees can add up very quickly, making it even harder to pay them off. 

Drop In Credit Score

Missed payments can also have a negative effect on your credit score, which can prevent you from borrowing money again in the future. Once your payment is 30 days late, your lender will likely report the missed payment to credit bureaus. Once your credit score drops, it can be very difficult to bring it back up again. This can also make it very difficult for you to take out a mortgage or car loan in the future. 

Default

If you miss your student loan payments for more than 270 days in a row, you will officially default on your student loans. At that point, you will need to pay your loans in full. From here, the government may choose to take legal action and turn part of your paycheck over to pay your student loans. 

Talk to Your Loan Provider

If you have missed a student loan payment or think you might miss one in the near future, talk to your loan provider about your options. You might be able to work out a payment plan with them that won’t negatively affect your credit score. Clear communication can prevent negative financial consequences later on. If you haven’t missed a payment in the past, they may be willing to waive your fees as long as you get back on track right away. You may also be able to apply to defer your loan payments until you are in a more stable financial situation.