Student loan forgiveness is a divisive topic. On one hand there are people who paid them back and are adamant that they should be paid back — and on the other hand, people are ending up on public assistance because their student loans are more than their rent. What I would like to highlight as a middle ground is…the status quo. Hear me out.
Despite what you may have heard, it is absolutely possible to erase your student loans if you can prove it would be an undue hardship to pay them back. An undue hardship is defined as being unable to pay for the minimum standard of living and pay back the loans.
Proving your undue hardship to a bankruptcy court is not exactly as easy as checking off a box. First off, bankruptcy is handled in federal court, so your lawyer is going to be fairly expensive. You will have to amass an enormous amount of paperwork and pay for even more, behind-the-scenes billable hours. You will be required to contact all of your debtors, and take out notices in newspapers for those you can’t find. Your debtors will meet with the court to figure out who gets paid first, second, etc.
Even after those financial and organizational hurdles, 50% of student borrowers who go before a bankruptcy judge get all or part of their loans discharged.
The current system, as expensive as it is, ensures that student loan forgiveness will be done on a case-by-case basis, and only those who are serious about it will succeed. Perhaps Congress can simply amend the current system to address the concerns of their constituents — but the point is, if you’re eating Ramen every day, there is something you can do about it.