Avoiding Student Loan Default

If you are having trouble paying your student loans, there are options.

Once you’ve taken out a student loan, whether a federal student loan or a private student loan, you are responsible for repaying it, even if you drop out of school or become unemployed. In most cases, you cannot declare  your loan in bankruptcy. That means the debt will always stay with you — either in good standing or in default (when your loan is considered a "bad" debt).

Defaulting on a SunTrust federal or private student loan occurs when your loan has gone a certain number of days without an agreed upon payment (as early as the 120th day of delinquency). Defaulting on any student loan is something you really want to avoid, since it can have major repercussions that will affect your credit history for years to come.

  • Damaged credit rating — If you default, it will affect your credit score and can make it harder to get other loans or credit in the future. So, if you wanted to buy a house, you might not qualify for the credit to get a home loan. It may also affect your ability to get a job, if a prospective employer does a credit check.
  • Debt collection — If a student loan goes into default, it could result in collection action such as garnishment of wages. For federal student loans, if a loan is in default, it could also mean that tax refunds are withheld to pay the student loan debt.

What to do if you have trouble paying

  • Contact your loan servicer
    Student loan servicers manage repayment relief options, deferment requests and inquiries. AES is the servicer for all of SunTrust private student loans – they can be reached at 800.233.0557. If you have a SunTrust student loan but are not sure who the servicer is, call 800-552-3006.
  • Student loan forgiveness
    In the event of an unfortunate circumstance involving death or total and permanent disability of the student a student loan can be forgiven. Loan forgiveness, however, does not apply in the event of death or total and permanent disability of the cosigner.
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On a positive note, defaulting on your loan can sometimes be avoided if you stay in close contact with your loan servicer. It’s understood that life happens, and from time to time you might have difficulty paying. Student loan servicers are there to help you find a solution. The important thing is not to wait too long to contact them!

  • Deferment or forbearance
    Deferment and forbearance options exist for circumstances such as going back to school, military service and financial hardship. Federal student loans have additional deferment options.
  • Consider an alternative repayment plan
    You may qualify for an alternative repayment plan, which generally allows borrowers to pay interest only for periods of time (such as 12-24 months). Interest continues to accrue during this time and the principal loan balance will increase, but an alternative repayment plan may help avoid further difficulties.

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Important Information

Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. View and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans.

Union Federal is a federally registered trademark of Cognition Financial Corporation used by SunTrust Bank under license. The Union Federal Private Student Loan is funded by SunTrust Bank and is not offered in connection with any other lender or the federal government. Cognition Financial Corporation is not an affiliate of SunTrust Bank.

Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue these programs without notice. These loan programs are subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.

Want to refinance a private student loan?

Apply for a new SunTrust private student loan and you may be able transfer the balance of an existing loan.

Loans Resource Center

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      SunTrust incoming wire instructions are also available by calling 800.947.3786 - option 1

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