Student Loan Goodwill Letter: True To Its Name

Learn about what student loan goodwill letters are. Includes details on when to write one, how to write one, how to send it, what documents to attach with it and even what to avoid when writing one. Also includes a sample student loan goodwill letter for your reference.

Updated by B Harshitha on 24th January 2020

We all know the consequences of missing payments and being late to making payments. Besides late fees and and the fact that you will have to face higher APRs in the future, your credit score is likely to tank in a devastating manner. The record of your late payments are likely to stay on your credit report for a long time to come. It can also make it incredibly hard for you to avail loans and good interest rates on them in the future. 

So, what exactly is a “goodwill letter” and how is it relevant to late payments. A goodwill letter is your best shot at appeasing your student loan lender if you ever find yourself missing payments due to any number of reasons. It is not guaranteed to mend your credit score, but it is definitely worth giving a shot. Your servicer, in the best case, may ask the credit bureaus to erase the late payments from your record. 

Learn more about how student loans work, what constitutes a late payments and what are the consequences that entail a late payment. This way you can be wary of stepping your boundaries. Student loan goodwill letters can be used for both federal and private student loans.

You will learn more about what is a student loan goodwill letter, how to write one and when to use one.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is a student loan goodwill letter?

A goodwill letter is a letter that you write to your student loan lender requesting them to erase any records of late or missed student loan payments from your credit report This can be considered to be an act of goodwill on their part towards you, hence the name. It is no secret that missed or late payments can be very damaging to your credit score  and as already mentioned, borrowers who make tardy payments or miss a few face the repercussions for up to a period of seven years in the future. Such records can make it very difficult for you to get a mortgage or a loan in the future since they act as a red flag to other lenders. Chances of you qualifying for mentioned loans in the future are very slim. But even if you do, the interest rates that you get offered are likely to be very high.

But if your goodwill letter is appreciated by your lender, they may remove these poor records from your credit history. You may even notice an immediate spurt in your credit score. One thing to bear in mind is that there is no guarantee that your goodwill letter will succeed. It is completely up to your lender as to on what level they empathize with your situation.

If you are fortunate enough to have a sympathetic audience, especially if your payments were late due to personal hardships, such as the loss of a job or medical issues, then you may benefit.

When writing a student loan goodwill letter, ensure that you use a polite tone. Articulate your letter appropriately and explain your predicament correctly. Make sure that you confess your mistakes and come across as apologetic and assuring regarding future payments.

Student loan goodwill letters can be used for both federal and private student loans. You can also send a student loan goodwill letter if your late payment report was an error on the part of your servicer. For example, you may be in deferment or forbearance where you are ot required to make any payments, but then you find reports of late or missed payments on your credit history. In such cases, you can either write a student loan goodwill letter or directly contact the credit bureau and inform them of the error.

The following are some other scenarios when you might want to think about sending a student loan goodwill letter:

  • Technical issues: Sometimes your payment may not get recorded properly due to technical issues either on your end or on the servicer’s end. If this happens, write a goodwill letter to your lender explaining what happened.

  • Your bill was dispatched to the wrong address: It is important for you to update your address details if you ever move with your student loan servicing company. But if your bill arrived to a wrong address or when you were in the process of moving, you might want to consider writing a goodwill letter.

  • If you hold a negative closed account: If you have an account that was closed and charged off and it still shows up on your credit report, you might want to write a goodwill letter to your lender. Closed accounts do not leave your credit report soon. And for as long as they show up on your credit history, your credit score will continue to drop.


Documents to provide with your student loan goodwill letter

Merely sending a goodwill letter is often not sufficient. Be sure to attach the following documents with your letter:

  • Details of your name, phone number, address and email

  • Your account number and other important banking details

  • Previous statements showing your general ability to pay on time

  • Provide all identifying information. This way, your student loan loans has no trouble in identifying which loan and late payment you’re referring to. This will make it a hassle-free activity for them to erase reports of your late payments.


How to write a student loan goodwill letter?

Before delving into the part where you talk about your late payments in your goodwill letter, be sure to mention that you are a borrower who often makes payments on time. Briefly explain the reason why your payments were late. If your reasons are legitimate and warranting of sympathy, your lender may be moved to help you. Include above mentioned documentation and details. This will help your lender identify easily.

It is important that you sound assuring to your lender about your future payments. Talk about what steps or measures you are planning to take in order to ensure timely repayments in the future.

For other reasons such as technical issues or an address-change, provide relevant documents.

An appreciable goodwill letter must include the following:

  • A polite tone: Your letter should come across as grateful and conscientious. Adopt a polite tone and let your lender know how pleased and thankful you are to work with them. Explain your predicament in the same manner.

  • Responsibility on your part: Be honest with your student loan servicer. Bear in mind that they are also human and are more likely to understand your situation and help you out rather than reprimand. Own up to your late payments and explain what led to your situation. It is important to gain their sympathy over just giving them reasons.

  • Recent payment history: Along with their sympathy, it is also important for you to gain their trust. They need to be assured that you will continue to make timely payments in the future. Your payment history is the only record that can help you out here. Your lender will be convinced that you are capable of making timely payments only if you display any consistency from your past. This way your lender will be hopeful about progress in your repayments after your spell of hardship is over.

  • Relevant documents: If you’re reporting an error that occurred in your letter, it is still important that you maintain an amiable tone. Provide the needed documentation. 

  • Keep it simple: Send a well articulated letter. Keep it short and simple. Do not write an elaborate letter.


What to avoid while writing a student loan goodwill letter?

Avoid making the following mistakes when writing a goodwill letter:

  • Elaboration: Be concise with your letter. Make sure you are to the point. Avoid rambling. Your servicer might not be interested in knowing far too many irrelevant details about why you were late.

  • Taking a negative tone: Always maintain a polite tone, regardless of whether the mistake was yours or not. If it was your fault, be honest and apologetic. If it wasn’t be courteous and explain where the error occurred.

  • Address it to a specific department. Do not be impersonal in your references.


Sample student loan goodwill letter

The following is a sample of a student loan goodwill letter:

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Account number]

[Last four digits of your Social Security number]

 

[Date]

 

To [Student loan lender],

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss my issue with you. My name is [You Name], and my account number is [your account number]. I learned that a late payment was made on [date] after checking my credit report.

It has always been a pleasure to work with your organization and I have always maintained a good repayment record. Unfortunately, I experienced a sudden [hardship] which rendered me incapable of making my payments on time. I found myself unable to keep up with my payments

I request you to take a look at my records. I have never missed or been late with any payments before. Being timely with my repayments is very important to me. I would also request you to note that I started repaying per usual after my situation improved.

Since I’m trying to obtain a mortgage, I am worried about qualifying for one or getting stuck with impossibly high rates. High rates can end up costing me thousands of dollars. I believe that my credit report fails to be an accurate representation of how creditworthy I am or my dedication to repaying my loans.

I humbly request that you make a goodwill adjustment and remove report of the late payment from my credit history. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I sincerely hope you approve my request.

 

Sincerely,

[Your name]


How to send a student loan goodwill letter?

Here are some things to consider when sending a goodwill letter:

  • Send through a hard copy: You may want to type your goodwill letter and send through a hard copy. This is the most common way to get it across. Emails may get lost and may be hard to read. Phone calls are not appropriate, neither are text messages, because personal as these means are, they are not appropriate for attaching documents.

  • Address it to the customer service department: For correspondence, you might have to contact the customer service department and not the billing department since they mainly work with payments. You may want to hand deliver to the manager if it is a credit union or a local bank.


In conclusion

The success of your student loan goodwill letter is not guaranteed. But it is definitely worth a try. Bear in mind that lenders have very little reason to be hostile to good customers. There is a good chance that they might want to help you out. Patiently wait for a response from your lender to your letter. If you do not hear from them in a long time, make sure to follow up, again politely. Remember that the lender is not obligated to help you. It will simply be an act of “goodwill” if they choose to. Pay your late fees and the debt once you get back on your feet. This is one way by which you can try to improve your credit score. Keep an eye on your credit score to see if your lender has worked to help you. If there is no response in a while, you may even contact them via a phone call. If the missed payment is still present on your report, do not lose heart. Continue to be persistent with your payments as it is the only means by which you can help yourself and the consequences of doing nothing would be regrettable. Learn more about student loan repayment and educate yourself to avoid missing any payments. You might also want to learn about different student loan servicers and how they deal with late or missd payments.