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Can I discharge my student loan debts under Chapter 13?


The pursuit of higher education is expensive. It is not unusual to hear about Tennessee students accruing hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just to obtain college, professional and other advanced degrees. While some student are able to find high paying jobs that allow them to manage their periodic student loan payments, others find themselves with degrees that are simply unable to generate the income they need in order to satisfy their debts.

In the past, the ability of a student to discharge his student loan debt in bankruptcy depended upon what entity secured it. For example, a loan made by a private loan backer could be discharged in bankruptcy while one backed by the federal government survived the bankruptcy process. About a decade ago the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act passed, making it more challenging for any student loan debts to be discharged in bankruptcy.

Student loan debt, regardless of whether it is backed by the government or a private lender, can be very challenging to have discharged through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. A student must demonstrate that paying off a student loan would subject him to undue hardship. The standard of meeting undue hardship is high, and individuals who have questions about whether their circumstances may qualify may speak with a bankruptcy attorney about their particular cases.

Student loan debts, whether backed by government or private lenders, generally cannot be discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They may be satisfied through a repayment plan. However, individuals struggling to stay ahead of their debts may have other debt relief options at their disposal. Nevertheless, unless an individual can demonstrate that his debts impose an undue hardship on him or her, he or she will remain responsible for his or her repayment.

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