(WSVN) - Student loans follow college graduates years after they receive their diplomas. But a mix-up involving missing paperwork could mean that $5 billion of loan debt could be forgiven.

Fox Business reports that private loans issued by the National Collegiate Student Loans Trust are missing critical paperwork.

According to the New York Times, the 166,000 loans that total $5 billion are now in the middle of a legal battle.

The loans in question were originally granted by banks, then later bundled and sold to National Collegiate. That makes it unclear who exactly owns the loans, and if National Collegiate cannot provide documentation, a judge can throw out the loan.

Judges have already started clearing debts in several states, including New York, Texas, and Ohio. According to Fox Business, student loans account for $1.4 trillion in debt nationwide.

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