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Can I use bankruptcy to clear away student debt?

Students across Pennsylvania often gain more than a diploma when they graduate from college — they also gain a sizeable student debt. Some are able to find great jobs right out of school and are therefore able to pay back their student loans with reasonable ease. Others, however, may find they feel like they are drowning in debt. While it is rare, student loans can sometimes be partially or completely discharged through bankruptcy.

In order to qualify for student debt discharge through bankruptcy, you must be able to prove paying the loans back causes undue hardship. This means more than not being able to afford to live your dream life, filled with luxuries. It means not being able to afford even a minimal standard of living, based on your income and expenses. While some graduates may feel they are enduring undue hardship for a few months after college while they are starting their careers, you must be able to prove the situation will likely not change for the majority of the repayment period. Often, this is caused by medical debt and other sudden life changes.

Finally, you must have made good faith attempts to pay your loans back for at least five years and other options have been exhausted before a discharge will even be considered. This requirement may be waived if you become disabled or suffer other extenuating circumstances.

If you feel your situation matches any of the above, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness. It is important to speak to a bankruptcy law attorney, who may be able to give you further counsel on the matter. 

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