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When Can My Student Loan Debt Be Discharged Under the "Undue Hardship" Legal Theory?


As the student loan debt bubble continues to grow bigger, more graduates are finding themselves in difficult positions to repay these student loans. Students continue to graduate with $100,000 to $200,000 in debt, and they find that paying rent, buying groceries and making car payments is nearly impossible with owing so much in student loans.

In the Bankruptcy Code, student loans may not be discharged unless they create an "undue hardship" in the life of the student. This legal theory is the one that typically gives students trouble in attempting to file for bankruptcy. They think that it is a good idea to file for bankruptcy in order to eliminate the cost of repaying a student loan, but then they usually find out that they do not meet the "undue hardship" test. Each state interprets the test differently. Because the Bankruptcy Code provides no solid definition of the words "undue hardship," the courts are left to interpret these words according to their own tests.

If you are a student who has many outstanding loans and are unsure of whether you can file for bankruptcy, a good step in the right direction is to meet with a bankruptcy lawyer in your particular state. He or she will know the governing case law that will govern the way in which elements of the Bankruptcy Code are interpreted. However, beware that discharging student loans is no easy feat and will not be successful for a large percentage of people with student loans


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