Does Student Debt Die With You?

Chloe Meltzer

March 04, 2021

Wondering if your student debt will outlive you?

Summary: You already know how difficult it is to make student debt go away. But does your student debt die with you? Find out if student debt lives on when you're gone.

Over 43 million people owe student loan debt in the United States totaling over $1.7 trillion. This means that student loans are a serious problem for many people, leading them to feel like they may never pay it off.

If you die, your student loan debt may either be discharged or passed to a loved one. Although this is a sad topic, it is important to consider who might share responsibility for your student loans should you pass away before they are paid off. To understand if your debt will die with you, you must examine the type of student debt you have acquired.

Federal Student Loans

When it comes to federal student loans, all are dischargeable upon the death of the borrower. This is one of the main benefits of student loans because they will not be passed onto your family should you die. Upon your death, your debt will be completely forgiven. Should this occur, someone will be required to submit proof of death to the student loan servicer who is managing the debt.

Parent PLUS loans are also considered federal loans. This means that if you have a parent PLUS loan and your parent dies, the loan will discharge with them as well. The same is true should you die as well.

Respond to debt collection lawsuits in 15 minutes with SoloSuit.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are afforded less protection than federal loans. This is because private lenders have no legal obligation to cancel or discharge student loan debt if the borrower dies. Although some private lenders, such as Sallie Mae, will discharge the current balance after death, not all will agree to this.

Should you be faced with this situation, review your lending agreement. There should be a clause that states how your private student loans are handled in the case of a death.

It is good to note that if the lender will not discharge the loan, then the balance will be passed on. This means that the debts will be passed on to the estate, and be settled through a probate process. If there is not enough money in the estate to cover the cost of the debt, then typically it will simply not be paid rather than be passed on to a family member.

Co-Signed Student Loans

If you die and someone has co-signed on your student loans, then they may be legally required to pay back the loan upon your death. This is especially common when it comes to co-signed private student loans. This is because the borrower and the co-signer are seen as equal borrowers in the eyes of the lender.

There are some situations in the case of co-signed student death that can cause issues for the borrower should the co-signer pass. Some private loan agreements include a clause for the lender to place the borrower into default should the co-signer die. The lender may then demand that the student loans be paid in full.

Use SoloSuit to file a response if youre sued for student loan debt.

Your Spouses Student Loans

Most often, a living spouse will not legally need to repay the student loans of their deceased partner. The only case in which this is legally required is if the loan is co-signed by the living spouse.

Another reason that you may be required to pay for your partners student loans is if you live in a community property state. Community property states require the surviving spouse to pay off the debt with property or monetary value shared by both partners in the marriage.

Community property states include:

  • California
  • Idaho
  • Wisconsin
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Washington

How to Report a Death to a Student Loan Lender

If someone you love has died, then there are various steps to settling the affairs. One step includes reporting the death to any lenders or creditors. When it comes to federal student loans, you must provide proof of death. Proof of death includes:

  • Death certificate
  • Verification of death from an official of the county clerk's office
  • Letter from a funeral director
  • Confirmation of death through a credit bureau

Depending on the creditor or loan officer, different documents may be required and each department may have a different process. If this is a situation that you are in, you can reach out to the lender to learn about their process. You should also work closely with the person acting as executor of the estate. This will allow you to ensure that the entire process is carried out in the manner that it should be, and by the person who is required to do so.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.

How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit: A Student Solution To Give Utah Debtors A Fighting Chance

How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection Guides for Other States

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.

Guides on How to Beat Every Debt Collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.

Win Against Credit Card Companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get Answers to These FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendant's Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouse's Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

You're Drowning in Debt — Here's How to Swim

Help! I'm Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands