Miami college students who have racked up massive amounts of student loan debt can take heart from a recent ruling by a bankruptcy judge rooted in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed in 2009. According to a story by Time magazine, the judge ruled in favor of a former college student who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and who claimed that her condition prevents her from being able to repay the thousands of dollars in student loan debt she racked up during her college days.
The former student, who attended the University of Baltimore School of Law in the 1990s before dropping out, racked up nearly $340,000 in student loan debt. While arguing before a bankruptcy judge, the woman successfully argued that her disability prevents her from landing a job and, therefore, paying back her student loans. The woman has already struggled to earn a living.
Asperger’s is a type of autism disorder. Those who suffer from it struggle to interact socially with others. The judge in Maryland ruled that this condition does indeed make it highly unlikely that the woman would be able to ever repay her student loan debt. The Time story quoted the judge who said that it was unrealistic to expect the woman to “ever break the grip of autism” and earn enough money to pay back her college debt.
The judge’s decision provides hope to college students struggling with their own college debt. As the Time story reports, student loan debt thanks to a 2005 amendment to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, can only be discharged in bankruptcy only if the petitioner can prove that paying back the debt would cause undue hardship. That’s what the woman in this case was able to prove.
Source: Time, “Woman With Asperger’s Dodges Bullet on Nearly $340,000 in Student Loans,” Kayla Webley, May 30, 2012