College debt is one of the few debts that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, unless you have a really, really good reason. You pretty much have to be dead or have a debilitating disability that keeps you from working. So it caught the attention of the National Law Journal when a Maryland woman in her 60s had $339,361 in college debt discharged in bankruptcy court earlier this month.
Her journey into educational borrowing began after receiving her high school diploma at age 39. She started, but did not complete, law school beginning in 1992. Later, she eventually earned a master’s degree from a local university, and a PhD from an unaccredited online school. But none of this meant that she was employable, and she couldn’t even get through her own bankruptcy trial in 2010 without shutting down in fear.
The story here isn’t that a borrower got her student loans discharged in bankruptcy due to disability. It’s that borrowers were happy to lend more than three hundred grand to a student rather closer to retirement than to typical high school graduation, who is too disabled to find relevant employment and had no real chance of paying that amount back.
Asperger Syndrome prompts court to forgive former law student’s debt [National Law Journal]