Smith Law Group Blog

Learn more about student loan debt relief and bankruptcy.

Student Loan Debt Relief – Bankruptcy Discharge Options Do Exist

It is true that student loan debt has traditionally been interpreted as non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. This is most likely due to a misreading and misrepresentation of the bankruptcy code 11 USC 523(a)(8) by the courts which is perpetuated by creditor collection practices post-bankruptcy. Student loan debts can indeed be difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, but it is not impossible to do so.

What types of student loans can be discharged?


While there are ways by which you may discharge Federal student loans such as through undue hardship, Smith Law Group focuses primarily on private student loan debt litigation and this blog post will therefore focus attention there.

There are three basic scenarios that can help you determine if your loan meets the debt relief criteria for private student loan debt dischargeability.

1.       You didn’t attend a Title IV school

2.       You borrowed debts in excess of the school’s cost of attendance

3.       You were not an eligible student

These criteria are explained in further detail here.

How do I check to see if my loans qualify?


If you need help determining whether or not your student loan debt can be discharged through a bankruptcy or reopening your bankruptcy there are a number of options. One means of doing so would be to submit further information here. Another option would be finding student loan analyzer tools for quick evaluations of your student loan debt.

My student loan debt qualifies for discharge – now what?


Once you determine that your student loan debt qualifies for discharge in bankruptcy, the next step would be to engage an attorney who is knowledgeable in the area of student debt litigation and is willing to assist you in moving forward on your bankruptcy or reopening your bankruptcy. Oftentimes, the attorney will need the following information and documentation so be prepared to present your case and facts: 

(1)          What school did you attend?

(2)          What years were you at said school?

(3)          Your federal student loan borrowing history (in a printout form/PDF) from NSLDS: https://nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/.

(4)          Your private student loan borrowing history (in a printout form/PDF) and/or loan summary from the Navient website, or Nelnet website, or AES website, or whomever you pay your private loans to each month. Please note, that you will likely need to expand the view in order to send the attorney the proper information (see the picture below to indicate where to click to expand the view).

Sample student loan - Navient.png

Since this area of law is relatively new, it is important to find attorneys well-versed in this area of law in order to achieve best outcomes. Please note that prior results with like-clients does not guarantee a similar outcome in other cases.

Smith Law Group attorneys have been focused on student loan debt litigation since 2014. Our principal, Austin C. Smith’s article, The Misinterpretation of 11 USC 523(a)(8), was foundational in articulating the proper scope and application of the student loan non-dischargeability provision of the Bankruptcy Code, and its arguments and reasoning have been adopted by bankruptcy courts all across the country. To find out more about the firm or to contact us, please go here.