Can I Discharge Student Loans?

Many people wonder when filing bankruptcy if they can discharge their student loans. The short answer is "no." Generally speaking, if you have student loans, you do have to pay them and a loan company can come after you for the money it is owed after your bankruptcy is complete. There are a few, very limited circumstances having to do with hardship in which a person can discharge his or her student loans.

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Student Loans Are Typically Exempt From Bankruptcy Discharge

Generally, neither federal nor private student loans can be discharged during bankruptcy. However, the question "Can I discharge student loans?" comes up frequently, especially for people who are barely scraping by.

The courts will consider discharging student loans under certain "hardship" circumstances, including:

  • Based on current income and expenses, the debtor is unable to maintain a minimal standard of living if forced to pay back the student loans.
  • The debtor's circumstances are unlikely to change during the life of the loan because of circumstances beyond his or her control.
  • The debtor has made good-faith efforts to pay the loan.
  • Any other relevant facts or circumstances

If you try to discharge your student loans in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must prove to the court that you cannot pay them and will not be able to pay them. This is very difficult to do.

Our lawyers have many years of experience dealing with the bankruptcy courts. They will tell you honestly whether your circumstances can be considered genuine hardship and, if so, how to proceed.

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