Featured News 2013 Filling for Bankruptcy and Eligibility for Student Loans

Filling for Bankruptcy and Eligibility for Student Loans

For five years after filing for bankruptcy, students will be ineligible for certain student loans. Especially for students seeking to enroll in grad or professional school, this could pose a serious obstacle to those goals, and it could mean taking on even more debt. Parents who file for bankruptcy will be denied PLUS loans for five years too. But this can actually help their children who are seeking student loans. Learn more about how bankruptcy affects student loans, and how you can plan for school and even minimize your school debt.

For many, bankruptcy offers people the opportunity to eliminate debt and get a fresh start. More than some people, actually, as almost 1.2 million people entered bankruptcy proceedings last year, based on data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Of course, while bankruptcy offers that golden discharge, it also leaves stain on your credit score that will take several years to come out. While it is often worth the tradeoff, there are several things for students to be aware of when it comes to bankruptcy.

First of all, if your parents file for bankruptcy, then they cannot take out a PLUS loan, not until five years have passed since the bankruptcy finished. And while Parent Direct PLUS Loans may be off the table for five years, some private lenders will be unwilling to accept a loan for 7 to 10 years after a bankruptcy. Of course, if someone needs to file for bankruptcy, their credit score was probably already going to get in the way of any loan applications, in which case, bankruptcy is helpful. While your parents might be denied a loan, this makes you the student eligible for higher loan amounts.

If your parents cannot get a PLUS loan, you might be able to get more from a Stafford loan, and the interest on a Stafford loan is less than it is for a PLUS loan. You would also still be eligible for Pell Grants, Perkins loans, and other federal financial aid. That is for undergraduate studies though.

If you want to go to graduate or professional school, and you file for bankruptcy, you will be ineligible for five years for a Graduate PLUS loan. With credit problems, private loans can be hard to obtain as well. That being said, you could always get someone to cosign your PLUS loan, someone who has a strong credit score.

Of course, the thing with student loans is that you would again be plunging yourself in debt. Keeping this debt to a minimum will be high on your priority list. So here are some ways, provided by U.S. News, to help you reduce the amount of debt you accumulate throughout your schooling:

  • Go to as local a school as possible. Students who attend college out of state pay on average an extra $10,000 compared to students who stay in their home state, according to U.S. News.
  • Community college is another great way to slash costs. If possible, go to a junior college while you are in high school, or in the summer right before college, and you can enter a four-year school with credits already under your belt, saving you time and money.
  • Do not forget to research scholarships available in your area; plenty of local scholarships could mean little boosts toward your funding, and they would be far easier to win than a national competition would.
  • Make sure that you know exactly what classes you need to take, so that you take those courses and no more. Do not take a light semester unless you actually can; paying for any extra semesters can really cause debt to add up. So be sure to pass your classes too.
  • And while cafeteria food is not exactly four-star material, if you have a meal plan, you need to use it to the full. Do not be one of those students who ends up with unused meals—that is money down the drain. Even if you have to take every meal to-go, just be sure you take advantage of those funds.
  • Before you buy anything, find out which places where your student ID card will get you discounts. All manner of stores and eateries will offer this discount.

Getting a game plan before you apply for a college can help you get the most from your financial aid, and can save you from debt too. If you or your family need to discharge debt, and you want to be sure that you are not detracting from your future, be sure to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today!

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