If I were to file bankruptcy, would my student loan debt be written off?

I understand there has to be a significant hardship in order for this to happen. I am a single mother of a newborn child and care for him would be significantly affected.

Asked on October 8, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The level of hardship required to be allowed to discharge ("write off") a student loan is nearly impossible to prove. It's not enough that you or your child would be significantly affected--of course, having to repay thousands of dollars of loans would significantly affect anyone not well-off or rich, and so if this were the standard, almost everyone could discharge their student loans. Rather, you must be essentially unable to afford *any* place to live, or a subsistence level of food, in order to show the required level of hardship. It's not even enough to show that you'd have to move to a much smaller home in a less-desirable area, for example; it must almost be to the level of if you had to pay the loan, you could not survive. Further, you have to show that even if you are currently experiencing this level of hardship, that it is not likely that your situation will improve (e.g. you could get a better job, a promotion, work extra hours, etc.) within a reasonable time frame. My understanding is that less than 1% of the people who claim this leve of hardship are able to discharge their loans, which may give you an idea of how difficult it is to show.

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