Discharging Student Loans Under §523(a)(8)? Don’t Consolidate After Filing!

If you intend to seek to discharge student loans under §523(a)(8), do not consolidate the loans after the case is filed.

Prebankruptcy planning is most important if one wishes to discharge student loans. A recent Texas Chapter 7 case highlights the pitfalls if one does not act accordingly. Debtors obtained 27 separate student loans prior to when they filed their Chapter 7 in 2019. After they received their discharge in 2019 they obtained three additional student loans and then in August, 2022 consolidated all the loans. The consolidated loans extinguished and paid off all of . . .

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Scott Waterman
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Scott F.Waterman, Esq. graduated from Tufts University in 1991 with a dual major in history and political science. He received his J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1994. He is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and his office is located in Reading, Pennsylvania.  Previously,  he had his own private law practice focusing on consumer bankruptcy and commercial collection matters. Mr. Waterman is a former Chairof the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference and is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.  He is a member of the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees and the Berks County Bar Association.  Mr. Waterman volunteers his time as a current board member of the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project which provides free legal assistance to indigent bankruptcy clients.  In 2014 Mr. Waterman was appointed to be a member of the Local Rules Advisory Committee of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in helping to draft new and updated local bankruptcy rules. That same year he served on the Bankruptcy Judge Merit Selection Committee for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to which he was appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Waterman has two sons and enjoys sailing, playing softball and watching baseball.  He spends his free time driving his kids back and forth to their various sporting activities.

Cohen
The Student Loans Lawyer

Joshua R.I. Cohen, The Student Loan Lawyer, started his legal career in October 2008, when he passed the bar and founded his own firm. Through his law school experience, he had worked for both legal aid and a private firm doing consumer protection work. Once on his own, he continued with consumer protection but quickly began a niche in student loan work. Within nine months of opening his firm, he filed his first-class action against the student loan industry.  His practice helps students maneuver the rocky terrain of student loans, including understanding how to get loans out of default, how to obtain affordable payment plans, defending student loan collection lawsuits, bringing affirmative claims for violation of student loan law, and discharging loans through bankruptcy adversary proceedings. In addition to helping borrowers, Josh also helps attorneys. His Student Loan Law Workshop, a 2-day intensive workshop teaching attorneys how to incorporate student loan law into their existing practice, is now in its 11th year. Josh is also the creator of software that helps attorneys better prepare and counsel clients regarding their student loans, found at www.studentloantoolbox.net.  He’s been a speaker at the National Consumer Law Center’s Consumer Rights Litigation Conference and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney’s national conference. He also frequently appears for CLE’s for Bar Associations.  Josh was born and raised on Long Island and has lived up and down the East Coast before finally settling down in Vermont, where he’s been since 2012. He holds a BA in Psychology from Brandeis University, an MBA, and a JD from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He has three children and is an avid skier, glamper, and model builder.

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