California Penalties for Defaulting on Your Student Loans

The consequences of defaulting on a student loan are serious and long-lasting -- and may depend on where you live. Here is information for your state.

California Student Loan Default Penalties


Anyone who defaults on a student loan faces serious consequences, such as:

  • wage garnishment
  • loss of federal and state income tax returns
  • a ruined credit report, and
  • in extreme cases, a lawsuit. 

Unlike many other states that impose consequences such as suspension of professional licenses or seizure of state lottery winnings, California does not currently subject residents to state-specific penalties for defaulting on their loans. State law does place limits on how much money the government can take from your wages, however. To learn about California wage garnishment law, see the Wage Garnishment page at

For full details on the consequences of default, see "What Happens If I Default on My Student Loans?"

For help staying out of default, see "What If I Can't Pay My Student Loans?"

For information about rehabilitating defaulted loans, see "How to Get Out of Student Loan Default."