Can you face legal problems if you don’t pay your student loans?
Updated on October 26, 2020
The short answer to this question is yes, but it might not be what you’re expecting. While it is possible to go to jail for not paying taxes, you cannot face criminal charges for non-payment of student loans. However, you can be taken to civil court by lenders. Here’s what can happen:
1. Private lenders will file a lawsuit for non-payment
If you fail to make payments on a private student loan, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up facing a lawsuit. However, this is not likely to occur if you have federal student loans because the federal government does have other means of collecting the money you owe if you default.
2. Federal student loans go into default 270 days after the last payment
If you fail to make payments on student loans for 270 days, they will go into default, which means money owed can be deducted from your wages. Furthermore, the federal government can access your savings account(s) to pay the debt. However, student loan debt will be discharged if you’re unable to pay your basic living expenses and student loans at the same time.
3. If you owe money to a private lender, you’ll get an appearance date
You’ll be given a summons, which will be mailed to you. It’s important to make sure that you arrive on time for your hearing, present yourself well, and have legal representation. As with federal student loans, it is possible to get private student loan debt discharged if you can’t make payments and cover your basic living expenses at the same time.
4. You’ll face criminal charges if you don’t go to your hearing
Failure to appear in court is a misdemeanor, which can result in fines and even time in county jail. In addition, the charge will remain on your permanent record, and this can make it difficult to find a job or apartment. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you appear at your hearing.