You can discharge your student loans by filing for bankruptcy if you can establish that paying back the student loans will create an undue hardship to you and your dependents.

In plain English, a discharge of a debt means that the debt is no longer legally enforceable. However, some debts are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy filing.  A student loan debt, for example, is not dischargeable unless, not allowing the discharge will create an undue hardship to you and your dependents.

Undue hardship is more that just a basic hardship. The case law that controls Pennsylvania residents and the residents of a majority of states holds that “undue” hardship exists if all of the following three elements are satisfied:

(1) the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a “minimal” standard of living for himself or herself and his or her dependents if forced to repay his or her student loans;

(2) additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for the significant portion of the repayment period for the student loans; and

(3) the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans.

These factors require a detailed examination and they have had varying interpretations by the courts. Don’t assume, however, that you do not qualify for a student loan discharge. I was able to obtain a discharge for a client of a student loan in excess of $300,000.00 as a result of a case decided by now United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito before whom I appeared.

Aside from a bankruptcy filing, you may have other options for dealing with your student loans.

Please call me to discuss your situation at (570) 823-9400 or send an e-mail to me at You may also write to me at 69 Public Square, Suite 700, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.

Want to know more about bankruptcy? Visit my page on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy!