Student loans have traditionally been very difficult for borrowers to discharge in bankruptcy, but this fact may soon change with legislation proposed this week in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it easier for student loan borrowers to cancel their debt in bankruptcy. The measure has been titled the “Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act of 2019” and has the support of 14 Democrats, one Republican, and one Independent Senator.
This legislation marks the first time that the Senate has proposed giving student borrowers the ability to discharge their federal student loans.
The average student will end up taking out $33,310 in 2018 to attend college, according to data from the Institute for College Access & Success. The total amount of student loan debt in the country is approximately $1.5 trillion. It is estimated that the country’s student loan balance will reach $2 trillion by 2022. Financial experts believe that a significant portion of the total debt will never end up being repaid. In fact, more than one-fourth of all student loan borrowers are either in delinquency on their student loan debts or are in default.
For people carrying federal or private student loans, their debts can only be discharged in a bankruptcy case if they can prove that the loans pose an undue hardship. However, no definite test has ever been given on what qualifies as an undue hardship, leaving it as a matter of interpretation for the bankruptcy judge to decide.
Student loan advocates have called for Congress to force the U.S. Department of Education to establish clear rules on when student loan debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. Many argue that the interpretation of what is an undue hardship depends on that specific judge’s interpretation of the law, which can be very unfair to the borrower if the judge hearing his or her case happens to be tough on discharging certain debts.
By making it easier to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy, it is a distinct possibility that lenders will be more willing to work with a borrower who is struggling to pay on his or her loans. If the borrower is not able to work out a payment plan with the lender, he or she should then have the option to discharge that debt just as easily as other debts in a bankruptcy case and receive a fresh financial start.
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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.