Just because your so-called private student loan uses the term, “student loan” it doesn’t necessarily mean it is one. In fact, for purposes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, a student loan must be from an “eligible educational institution” to be considered non-dischargeable. If it does not qualify, discharging the loan can be easier than you think.
A student loan must meet specific bankruptcy code requirements. U.S. Bankruptcy Code states a private student loan must be a “qualified education loan, as defined in section 221(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”
The student loan must be from an “eligible educational institution.” The Department of Education publishes a list every year of the qualifying schools. If an institution is not on the list, the loan is not considered a “student loan” under the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, it can be automatically discharged in bankruptcy.
So how do you know whether your student loans are from a qualified educational institution?
- Make sure you know what type of loan you have. This argument only works for private student loans. Just because your loan is with Sallie Mae or Navient does not signify whether it is a federal or private loan. Go to the National Student Loan Data System, and check if your loan is there.
- If your loan is a private rather than a federal student loan, the next step is to see if the loan is from an “eligible educational institution.” The Department of Education publishes a list every year. You will need to locate the list for the year you received your student loans and see if your school is on there.
- The law is not always “black and white” when it comes to discharging student loan debt. Oftentimes, it is left to the interpretation of judges on a case-by-case basis. Private student loan debt is the most problematic debt in America. Many courts are finding private student loans should also be considered as an “educational benefit” as that term is understood in the Bankruptcy Code.
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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.