My husband had a private student loan from US Bank for about 67k. It originated in 2004 and was charged off in 2012. We've been paying a collection agency every month since then. A few months ago, the debt was moved to another collections company (Apelles). I received a letter and called to start making payments on it. The representative explained that they actually cannot collect on it because it reached the Statute of Limitations and that we had to call US Bank.
I googled Statute of limitations but I'm not sure how this debt relates to the student loan. And I'm not sure how the Statute of limitations applies since I have been making monthly payments.
Statute of limitations is going to vary by state - And then it can take multiple states into consideration (where you are, where the debt was obtained, and where the company holding the debt is located).
Since your student loans are private, they would fall under any 'regular' consumer debt provisions, and whatever the law is would apply. Usually, the SOL doesn't start until the payments stop, so I'm surprised they say it's past the SOL when you've been paying, but I'm only knowledgable about my own state.
That said - SOL only applies to how companies can try to collect the debt - it doesn't remove the debt. If they own the debt and you were setting up payment, that shouldn't have been a problem for them. Maybe it was a canned statement they always use because more often than not, people are outside of SOL?