A core function of bankruptcy law is the "fresh start" that occurs with the clearing of debt from a individuals financial balance sheet. When you are so far behind on your bills, and there is a constant barrage of collection letters and phone calls, it can become psychologically taxing, in addition to economically demoralizing.
Getting student loans discharged in a bankruptcy case is very difficult. For the most part, one must show that repayment would cause "undue hardship." Many courts use a three-factor test, called the Brunner test, to determine if you can meet the undue hardship requirement for student loan discharge. However, not all courts use this test. Some bankruptcy courts will look at the totality of the circumstances -- meaning they will consider all factors relevant to the hardship argument. Below are the factors that a court will consider if it uses the Brunner test.