In most cases, it's near impossible to get rid of student loan debt in bankruptcy. There are some times, though, when discharging these debts in bankruptcy could be extremely helpful. For instance, if you're an older student and have too much debt, the weight of a 30-year repayment scheme on top of hard financial times may be too much to bear; with bankruptcy, there may be a way out.
In a story released on Nov. 23, a law student talked about how he's trying to get rid of close to $300,000 in law school debt. He's only 10 years from retirement, and he has fallen on hard times. This is a story to watch, as the outcome could change the way student debts are handled in your own case.
Law school, in particular, is known for high costs. The school where this man went, the Florida Coastal School of Law, has gained some negative reviews due to the debts its graduates face. In fact, a 2014 average showed that 93 percent of the students had an average debt of close to $163,000. That's an extraordinary amount for a school whose students rank in the lower 25 percent of Law School Admission Test scores.
In this man's case, he failed the bar exam, can't get a job and even lives at home. He's living on social security, but he still faces crushing debt. Is bankruptcy an option? According to the law falling under 11 U.S. C. §523(a)(8), if the loans cause undue hardship, they can be discharged. What constitutes undue hardship, though? He's been denied the discharge in the Seventh Circuit, but there are claims that if he lived in the Eighth Circuit, which is in Arkansas, for example, the laws are different and he may have a different result.
Source: Bloomberg Business, "Law Graduate Tries to Shed Debt in Bankruptcy," Patrick Gregory, Nov. 23, 2015