This is not an argument you'd expect the borrower to win, but in some cases judges have agreed with the student.
The Journal gave the example of a 37-year-old woman who filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and was able to discharge the unpaid portion of a $15,000 Citibank loan she needed to study for the bar exam. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carla Craig ruled that loan debt for bar exams is comparable to consumer debt and does not fall into the category of student loans that remains with a borrower even after bankruptcy.
"We are seeing higher personal debt now than before the Great Recession," Willis continued. "That played a factor in the Great Recession, right? People had big amounts, we thought it was huge personal debt. Now they have even more when you look at their mortgage, their college debt, their auto loans, you add those together it's a lot of money."
Unlike credit card debt, student loan debt had in the past been thought to be good debt, like a mortgage.
"It's turning out to be the worst kind of debt you can have because you can't discharge obviously in a bankruptcy, typically that's always been the rule. And people aren't really, I don't think, getting what they think they were paying for. They're not getting a job, they're not locking in a future, they can't even pay for rent these days," Willis added.