Skip to Content Top

What is Zombie Student Loan Debt?


For many college graduates, a major milestone to be proud of is finally paying off your student loan debt. Student loans can take years and even decades to pay off in full, as they collect interest each month. As of 2020, total student loan debt is now about $1.56 trillion, making it the second-highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, the average student loan debt for members of the Class of 2018 is $29,200.

But many individuals report that their paid student loan debts have come back to haunt them through contact from creditors. Zombie debt, as it’s referred to, is any debt that has been paid or expire, only to return.

Statute of Limitations on Federal Student Loans

While most kinds of debt are subject to a statute of limitations, meaning there’s a limit on the amount of time creditors can sue you for debts, federal student loans haven’t had a statute of limitations since 1991. This means that creditors can pursue you for a loan that has been paid off, demanding proof that you have satisfied your loan in full.

Dealing with Creditors

There are several ways you can handle your zombie student loan debt with creditors come knocking:

  • Ask for proof of the debt: Send a formal letter to ask for information regarding your loan, including the account number and entire payment history. It’s important to not acknowledge if the debt is yours, and refrain from signing any documents.
  • Settle the debt: If it’s true that you do still owe payments on your zombie student loan, ask for a settlement offer in writing to determine that there aren’t any traps hidden in the fine print.
  • Hire an attorney: To make your creditor issue go away, you need a foolproof plan that not only resolves your issue but ensures that you won’t find yourself in more trouble. A qualified attorney can help you read between the lines of documents and create a strategy that protects you and your rights.

How to Prepare in Case of Zombie Student Loans

Want to avoid being contacted by a creditor after you’ve paid off your loans? Save all your loan paperwork. If a creditor does come after you, you can have the evidence you need to prove your case. This will also help your lawyer in your initial consultation.

Offering Personalized Solutions for Each Client

Atlas Consumer Law understands that each situation is unique, which is why our attorneys work personally with each client to form a plan that works for them. We accomplish this by taking the time to learn about your concerns, educate you on your rights and the laws governing those concerns, and being honest with you about your options. Whether you’re being chased down by a creditor or are facing foreclosure, rest assured knowing we’ve helped countless clients facing the same legal issues, and we know how to help you find a resolution.

If you’re experiencing conflict with a creditor, our creditor harassment and consumer defense attorneys have the skills and resources you need. Call our team today at (312) 313-1613, or contact us online. As a debt relief agency, we can provide you with creative options that can improve your future.