In many countries across the world, a college degree is considered necessary to enter a majority of job markets, and a bachelor’s degree is often viewed as the minimum standard for education. In the U.S., over 65% of high school graduates attend college, university, or other forms of higher education. The experience and certifications higher education provides are important to many students, but with the rising cost of tuition, a college degree can lead to financial troubles down the road.
Under the weight of large student loans, many college graduates are finding it difficult to keep their heads above financial waters. If you’re struggling to meet monthly debt requirements for any reason, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you determine whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice. If you’re considering filing, our expert attorneys can guide and protect you from start to finish during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.
Student loans rates have increased significantly over the past ten years in the U.S. A recent study showed that 32% of yearly bankruptcies in the U.S. were driven primarily by student loan debts. Those that filed on the basis of student loan debts reported that almost 50% of their debt was made up of federal or third-party student loans. The total of U.S. student loan debt in 2019 is hitting a record high at $1.5 trillion and averaging at about $30,000 per student. According to a July 24, 2018 Forbes article, the cost of attending a university and obtaining a degree has increased 8 times faster than wages.
With the highly competitive job market and the requirement of even further education within many career paths, new graduates are struggling to repay loans while facing the additional financial requirements of adult life. For many individuals, this struggle meets a breaking point, and bankruptcy or other forms of debt relief must be considered. According to a May 24, 2012 Forbes article, the cost of higher education has risen 500% since 1986.
Student Loans and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In any type of bankruptcy, it is possible to discharge student loans. However, the process can be protracted, difficult and expensive. In order to have student loans discharged in bankruptcy, you must actually sue the student loan lender in bankruptcy court and alleged uncommon financial and personal circumstances which would demonstrate undue hardship. If one proves up circumstances demonstrating undue hardship, the bankruptcy court will discharge one’s student loans. Typically, the process is unavailable to someone, however, because of the costs and time involved. So why would filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy help college graduates with 50% of their debt in student loans?
Put simply, Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges the majority of other common debts, including credit card debt, car loans, mortgages, medical bills, and personal loans. The process resolves these debts with a liquidation of non-exempt assets in exchange for debt discharge. Typically, in most cases, the bankruptcy exemptions one has available in bankruptcy are very generous and are sufficient to protect all of one’s property and the only things that one loses in bankruptcy are ones debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly filed and the most directly effective process of debt relief. However, it’s not a process everyone qualifies for. To be eligible for Chapter 7, filers must pass the Means Test to prove their debt-to-income ratio is severely out of balance. With the high numbers student loans censuses show, almost all college graduates struggling financially can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you’re having a hard time meeting your debt payments due to student loans or other factors, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 to learn more about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN.