Currently, you cannot discharge any student loan debt in a bankruptcy.

Private student loans may soon be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

That means you are saddled with student debt, both private and federal, until it is paid off or until you die.

However, a proposal introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pension Committee, as part of a larger education package would make private student loans dischargable in bankruptcy.

Currently, student loan debt, both federal and private, is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

There is a big push from Democrats to ease the burden of student loan debt on borrowers. They have proposed the ability to discharge private (but not federal) student loans in a bankruptcy. This means that loans you have taken out to pay tuition from private lenders like Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, and Discover Student Loans may be dischargeable in the near future if you are in the midst of a financial disaster.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, debtors with private student loans typically carry more debt than the average American. Though private student loan debt makes up only 15% of national student debt, the interest rates are typically much higher than a federal student loan, making them more difficult to pay back. And unlike federal student loans, private student debt has no required protections or options- such as income-based repayment or extended repayment plans – for struggling borrowers.

The Brunner Test will be used to determine if a borrower has made good-faith efforts to repay the loan in question. It takes into account means, expenses, and disposable income left over. If you cannot afford to repay your student loans, and foot the bill for other essential expenses while still maintaining a minimum standard of living, your private student loans may be discharged in a bankruptcy.

This is exciting news for the millions of Americans struggling with student loan debt. If action is taken, many Americans may be able to breathe more easily when the crushing burden of their debt is forgiven.