Chapter 7 and Student Loans

Student loans are not automatically discharged in a bankruptcy. It requires an adversary proceeding, which is a lawsuit within a lawsuit, in order to determine if student loans are discharged. The factors that have to be met make discharge of student loans relatively rare. However, that is not the purpose of this post. Rather, I wanted to explain what does happen to the student loans.

Once the holder of the student loan is notified of the Chapter 7, the loan is recharacterized in their computer system and no action will be taken until the bankruptcy ends. Sometimes the characterization of the student loan as in bankruptcy never gets changes back, which can cause problems later on. However, the debtor can still make payments on the student loan during the Chapter 7, but they will be provided a different address to send the payments. Unfortunately, this notice may take months to be sent out.

If possible, I recommend that the debtor continue to make payments voluntarily during the bankruptcy. This avoids the interest piling up and increasingly the total amount due. It also helps satisfy one of the factors if the debtor later attempts to discharge these loans, even if the payments are less than the full payment due.

Troutman & Napier, PLLC