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18 Jul 2012

Older Americans Grappling With Student Loans

Our Colorado Springs Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys have talked a great deal about the student loan debt trap that many young people have found themselves in over the last few years.

However, a new element of this crisis has recently emerged: That of older adults who are battling student loan debt. We're not talking about the parents of college students (although, they too are struggling).


These are individuals who have perhaps gone back to college either to change careers or boost their skill set. However, what certainly seemed like a smart move a handful of years ago has now left them burdened with debt and with fewer job prospects to boot.

It's important to note that unfortunately, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not erase student loan debt, except in extreme circumstances (your bankruptcy lawyer can help you explore whether that is a possibility for you). But what a bankruptcy can do is free you from the other debts that may have piled up as you worked your way through school.

These are not individuals who were careless about their future or reckless about their money. Here are some examples:

1. A 51-year-old who acquired nearly $90,000 in student loan debt after graduating from chiropractic college 15 years ago. Financial aid officers told her she could likely expect to repay it within five years. But with the economy tanking, she was never able to get her practice off the ground. Able to make the minimum payments, her loan has ballooned to over $150,000.

2. A 59-year-old attended school for arts administration back in the 1980s. He didn't finish his degree, but ended up taking various field-related jobs. As other financial obligations took priority, his student debt kept getting put to the back burner. He still owes$20,000.

3.  A 64-year-old who attended law school after earning a Ph.D. in immunology, and then sent two children to college at top universities. Collectively, the family owes about $120,000.

Not all of these individuals are in terrible shape, but many live paycheck-to-paycheck. That means one medical emergency or personal injury could send them into a tailspin of debt.

You do have the ability to take the reins on the situation before that happens.

We can help.

Stephen H. Swift

Managing Attorney
Law Office of Stephen H. Swift, P.C.

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