Student loan bebt is an extremely difficult debt to discharge, and only a few hundred people a year even try. In 2015, 884,956 personal bankruptcy cases flowed through the courts. Only 674 sought to discharge student debt.

Student loans are the second-biggest form of household debt in the United States. More than 43 million borrowers hold over $1.6 trillion in student loans, a sum that has more than tripled in 13 years. It exceeds what Americans owe on credit cards or auto loans and trails only mortgages.

Sixty-two percent of students who graduated from nonprofit colleges in 2019 had student loan debt. Their average balance was $28,950 — not including borrowing by their parents.

Many struggle mightily to pay: Before the government’s coronavirus relief efforts paused federal student loan payments, 7.7 million borrowers were in default and nearly two million others were seriously behind.

About eight million additional borrowers use income-driven repayment plans, which can be challenging to enter. And while the plans lower payments, borrowers accrue interest on the unpaid difference.

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