Going through a bankruptcy, for whatever reason, can be an overwhelming and scary process. When you have student loans and need to file for bankruptcy, it can be even more complicated. Since federal student loans are not typically discharged through bankruptcy, you may feel like you have no options when it comes to repaying them.

The first thing you need to do is breathe – a reputable and capable attorney may be able to help you with your situation. There are some options available, and, if you qualify, you may still be able to get your loans paid off or even cancelled altogether. The following are some things you can consider when dealing with your student loans.

Repayment Options

The simplest solution to dealing with your federal student loans is to pay them every month. Obviously, this may not be an option for you right now since you are going through bankruptcy proceedings.

However, there are some payment options that you can consider to help make the payment of the loans a little easier to deal with.

The first thing you can do is to delay your payments. Your student loan provider will have forbearance and deferment options that you can utilize until you are in a better financial decision to begin paying them again. These options are easy to apply for and are often granted due to financial hardship.

You can also request a repayment plan based on your income. If you have little or no income, this is a great option for you because it will keep your monthly payments low. If you do have an income coming in, you will receive a payment schedule that is best suited to the amount of money you have available each month.

Consolidation is also an option. If you have more than one federal student loan, you can consolidate them into one single loan so that you will not be racking up multiple finance charges. This will help at least reduce the monthly finance charges that will add up while you are in the process of paying back your loans.


Under the current federal law, discharging federal student loan debt is not an option unless there are some severe circumstances that prevent you from paying your debt. There are some tests that you can undergo to determine whether or not you can qualify for discharge in bankruptcy.

The Brunner test is one such test. It is run by courts and requires that you meet three factors in order to have your federal student loans discharged.

The first qualification is poverty. Using the current income you bring in combined with your outgoing monthly expenses, you must show that you will be unable to adequately provide for yourself and your dependents if you are required to pay back your student loan debt.

You will also need to show that your financial circumstances are not going to change for a very long time, therefore rendering you unable to pay the debt.

A show of effort to pay is also required. You must show that you have made every effort to repay your student loans up until this point.

There are other tests utilized by courts in different jurisdictions. You will need to discuss those tests with your attorney to see which, if any, can be run to help aid your student loan repayment.

Dealing with bankruptcy and federal student loans can be an uphill battle. If you need assistance with bankruptcy or dealing with your student loan debt during bankruptcy, please contact Olson, Kulkoski, Galloway & Vesely, S.C. They will do all they can to help you during this process.