What you should know about student loans and bankruptcy

On Behalf of | May 20, 2019 | Bankruptcy |

If you are currently struggling under the weight of enormous debt, you are certainly not alone. In cases where debt becomes overwhelming and cannot be repaid, bankruptcy is a reasonable option to consider. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that some debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy – including student loans.

Millions of Americans take out student loans as a sound investment in their future. But despite our best laid plans, the difference between paying back a student loan and defaulting sometimes comes down to luck. When the economy crashed in 2008, recent graduates discovered that their expensive education could not yield a good-paying job in such a tight recession. This means that those who eventually needed to turn to bankruptcy for relief were unable to discharge perhaps their largest source of debt.

There was a time when student loans were dischargeable, according to Forbes. But between 1976 and 2005, lawmakers continually tightened statutes in favor of lenders. Some high-profile politicians are now trying to change that, including Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. She recently introduced The Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act of 2019. If passed, it would make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy like most other forms of debt.

Given just how divided our political system is right now, the chances of passing this bill seem slim. But the fact that student loans are being discussed on the national stage is at least a hopeful sign for millions of college grads who are facing financial hardship.

If you are considering bankruptcy but have a lot of student loan debt, filing for bankruptcy can still be a strategically wise option. If you file for Chapter 7, for instance, you can discharge things like credit card bills, medical bills and other unsecured debts, which would likely free up funds to pay your student loans. If you filed for Chapter 13, many of your debts could be renegotiated into a manageable repayment plan, again freeing up funds to catch up on student loan payments.

Bankruptcy is not an easy decision, and there are many factors to consider. That’s why, before making any plan of action, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about all of your debt relief options.