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Student loan debt leading to more bankruptcy filings

Student loan debt is increasingly driving people in California to file for bankruptcy. According to a study conducted by LendEDU, 32 percent of people who file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 have student loan debt. Among those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and carry student loan debt, that debt made up, on average, 49 percent of their total outstanding debt. LendEDU examined 1,083 bankruptcy cases in the study.

Generally speaking, student loan debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but filing for Chapter 7 protection can get rid of other debts so people have money to make student loan payments. College tuition has more than doubled since the 80s, according to Business Insider, and Millennials have more than 300 percent more student debt than their parents had. On average, Baby Boomers had to work 306 minimum wage hours to pay off a four-year college education; Millennials have to work 4,459 hours.

Nationwide, student loan debt is higher than it has ever been, totaling around $1.5 trillion. The average student debt load of those who graduated in 2018 and had loans was $29,800. When combined with rising costs of living and the recent recessionary period, Millennials are struggling to save money or pay down debts. The LendEDU study included only Chapter 7 filings and did not examine Chapter 13 filings. Which type of bankruptcy will be the most effective depends heavily on the person's specific circumstances.

People in California who are having trouble paying back debts might want to speak with an attorney. An attorney who practices bankruptcy law might be able to help by examining the facts of the client's situation and setting out the different debt reduction or elimination options available. In many Chapter 7 cases, the petitioner is allowed to keep certain assets while his or her debts are discharged.

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