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What Happens to Student Loan Debt When You File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is a difficult decision, especially when student loan debt is involved. No one wants to take on a burden of debt that they cannot pay off, but understanding the implications of filing for bankruptcy with student loan debt can help you make an informed decision about your financial future.

Consult with Melanie Tavare, the founding attorney at The Law Offices of Melanie Tavare, to find out what happens to student loan debt when you file for bankruptcy, including if and how you can eliminate it through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Melanie Tavare is a skilled bankruptcy attorney with offices in Oakland and Hayward.   

Can You Eliminate Student Loan Debt Through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Generally speaking, student loan debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. According to the American Bar Association, student loans are considered “non-dischargeable” debts, meaning that they must still be paid even after filing for bankruptcy. There are exceptions to this rule in certain cases where repaying the student loan would cause an “undue hardship”—such as if paying back the loan would prevent an individual from being able to support themselves or their family—but these cases are rare and difficult to prove in court. 

Understanding how different types of bankruptcies can impact your ability to eliminate student loan debt is essential in making an informed decision about filing for bankruptcy to get debt relief.  

Can You Eliminate Student Loan Debt Through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

It may be possible to discharge some types of student loan debt through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In order to do so, you must demonstrate that repaying your student loans would cause an “undue hardship” and that you have made a good faith effort to repay the loans over a period of five years or more. The court will then determine whether or not discharging your student loans is warranted. If approved, the court will issue an order discharging your eligible student loan debt. 

Before filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 with the goal of eliminating student loan debt, it’s a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to understand all of your options and their implications.

What Other Debts Are Non-Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

In addition to student loans, there are several other types of debt that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. This includes secured debts, such as car loans and mortgages, which are backed by collateral. If these debts are not paid off in full during the bankruptcy process, the lender can repossess the underlying collateral to cover their losses.

Other non-dischargeable debts include unpaid child support and alimony, as well as most federal, state, and local taxes.

Concerned About Your Student Loan Debt? Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney

Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision and should not be taken lightly. However, bankruptcy may be necessary for individuals struggling with unmanageable levels of debt due to job loss or other unexpected circumstances beyond their control. Contact a skilled bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of Melanie Tavare if you need assistance filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and eliminating any eligible student loan debt in the process. Call 510-255-4646 to receive a free consultation. 

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"Melanie is the best she very responsive and helpful throughout the process everything was taken care of smoothly. If you are thinking of going through bankruptcy she is the best attorney for you. I will forever be grateful having the chance to work with her. She is very honest too."


"I can't thank Melanie enough for helping me through a challenging process and doing so with incredible knowledge, professionalism and tenacity! She went to great lengths to keep me informed, she responded quickly to my questions, and communicated in terms that I could understand. I highly recommend getting in touch with Melanie should you have the need."


"Choosing to work with Atty. Melanie has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. She was a very patient professional to work with and attentive while providing valuable solutions to all of my concerns. If you are searching for of an Attorney who is knowledgeable, transparent, and diligent - well that's Atty. Melanie."


"What I liked about working with Melanie was how prompt and easy to work with she was. She made the process clear and understandable with as little stress as possible. I would work with her again and recommend her to others."