“I Put My Student Loan Debt on Credit Cards”

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Question: I have to file bankruptcy soon. I just got in over my head with the credit cards. I used the credit cards to pay for my college education. I didn't take out student loans, I just used credit cards. I used Visa, Discover, American Express and MasterCard. I paid for just about all my student debt including tuition, meals, books and dorm expenses with my credit cards.

But now I can't pay anything back. I lost my job at the restaurant I managed on Warsaw Road and I'm worried about what to do. I was making minimum payments on all the cards every month. But since I heard that student loans are not included in a bankruptcy filing I'm scared. I don't know what to do if I can't get rid of my student loans.

I live in Roswell and I need some help. What should I do? Now I have a lot of medical debt because of a motorcycle accident on Old Roswell Road and I'm not going to be able to pay it. And I'm dealing with an eviction from an apartment on Holcomb Bridge Road and a car repo from a dealer on Highway 9.

M.P. in Roswell, GA.

Answer: Fortunately for you, it does not sound like you have student loans. It appears that you paid for your education using credit cards, not by taking out a student loan. The fact that you utilized your credit cards to pay student debt does not make that debt into a student loan.

Credit card debt is dischargeable in a bankruptcy filing. Again, the fact that you utilized the credit cards for your education is irrelevant. The credit card debt is likely dischargeable in bankruptcy. It appears that you are confusing student loans (which you do not have) with credit card debt (which you do have).

Student loans fall generally into the categories of federal and private student loans. Private student loans are borrowed from private finance companies. With private student loans, interest rates, credit requirements and repayment schedules are set by the lenders, not by the Department of Education. Federal loans (or government loans), on the other hand, are available to both students and parents, and have uniform rates and requirements. Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans are all examples of federal loans.

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