Attending college in Georgia is not cheap, and many students — even those with scholarships — have to take out loans just to afford tuition. Most expect to secure a good, well-paying job after graduation, which would ideally make paying off their student loans easier. Unfortunately, this is not most people’s reality. As more and more people struggle with their student loans, some may be wondering whether bankruptcy can help.

Whether through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, bankruptcy allows people to discharge certain debt. With Chapter 7, unsecured debt is completely wiped away at the end of proceedings. Someone who files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will reorganize his or her debts according to a court-approved plan, then pay some of them back for a period of three to five years. Once the last payment is complete, remaining unsecured debt is typically discharged. However, student loans are rarely included in discharged debt.

In general, the only way to have student loans discharged is to prove that having to pay them back would create an undue hardship. An undue hardship is when paying back a student loan would make it impossible for the borrower to also afford food and a place to live. This might be applicable to someone who is either unable to work, or who can only work in a limited capacity.

An undue hardship cannot be a temporary situation, either. Someone must demonstrate that his or her hardship will likely continue for a significant period of time. A medical student in Georgia struggling with loans likely could not argue for an undue hardship because he or she is likely to secure a significant income in the future. Still, those who are rapidly falling behind on student loan payments may want to explore their options for bankruptcy. Often, relief from other debts can create an income stream to satisfy student loan obligations.