Federal student loans have no statute of limitations. This means that even if the loan is 30 or 40 years old, for example, and you have made no payments, the federal government can sue for payment. And trust us they are really good at this.
However private student loans vary state by state. But the most common assumption is that they have a 6 to 7 year old life to bring a lawsuit to force you into court ordered collections. So if you stopped paying in 2010 they can try to sue you for 6 or 7 years depending on your state if you haven’t paid.
AFter that time period has lapsed the debts you technically still owe but it becomes much easier to settle because the lender no longer has the ability to bring you into a court room as long as you haven’t made a payment.
So that puts you at a serious advantage to negotiate the debt into a much more manageable amount that you will be able to pay off. Even paying pennies on the dollar.