Student loan debt has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Millions of young people, along with lots of middle-aged folks and older adults, are struggling with huge student loan payments that are dominating their financial lives and causing them a good deal of stress.
If you've spent any time researching student loans and Chapter 7, you may already know that it's very hard to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy unless you are, for example, very elderly, terminally ill or permanently disabled; even then it's not a slam dunk.
But are there other significant ways in which Chapter 7 could help you deal with the student loan monster? Maybe.
Are student loans your main problem?
If student loans are your only real financial problem, your strategy may have to focus on maintaining a stable job, earning as much as you can, living on a budget and making payments. Depending on what career you're in, future loan forgiveness could be a possibility. Certain government jobs and nonprofit careers provide a path to student-loan forgiveness, which is nice if you can get it.
What about other debts?
You may feel overwhelmed by your monthly student loan bill. However, if you are also struggling with a lot of credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans or other unsecured debts, you may want to look at Chapter 7 as an option.
It's possible that discharging your unsecured debts through Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- which may be rooted in a divorce, an illness or injury, a job loss or another serious setback -- could free you up to pay your essential bills while slowly chipping away at your student loans. It’s not a magic solution, but it makes a big difference for some consumers.
Get the advice you need
You've probably heard this before: No two debt situations are exactly alike. No two student loan profiles are the same. If you're struggling with debt and considering Chapter 7, get the legal advice you need.