The cost of a college education in the United States is very high, and continuously on the rise. As costs go up, so do the amount of loans that students.
Getting the right job is important but in many situations, sometimes after getting that job, a graduate still can't afford loan payments. Student loans are intended to kick-start somebody's progression up the ladder, not serve as a burden that complicates a career.
What is undue hardship?
US bankruptcy law protects consumers against overly burdensome debt, but student loans are very difficult to dismiss in the same way that a mortgage, business loan or credit card debt can be reconfigured. Earlier this month, the Department of Education began accepting comments about this problem. Many interpret the listening session as a first step toward reform.
The main issue is the concept of "undue hardship," the base principal that a person declaring bankruptcy needs to prove how debt payments affect his or her quality of life. The law puts undue hardship as the standard measure in a bankruptcy case, without a clear definition of what, exactly, it means.
The debt cycle keeps spinning
The new comment system seeks input from student loan holders about how loan payments are affecting other aspects of life. This can include lateral or backward movement in employment, living with one's parents instead of purchasing a home, and other challenges of living in debt.
Any form of debt is a setback for the debtor, often leading to extra credit card borrowing, medical debt and other loans. One purpose of bankruptcy law is to get out of the debt cycle. When student loans cannot be dismissed, they keep the cycle spinning.
Anyone with mounting debt that affects your daily life should consider a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney to learn about options for debt relief, restructuring of loans or other solutions to lighten the burden.