Most college graduates understand the benefits a degree can provide, with increased employment opportunities and higher earnings potential. If you financed your own college education, you likely also understand the strain your student loans can place on you as you try to make your way in the world after graduation.

If you are drowning in student loan debt, it’s important to know that it is very challenging, but not impossible, to dismiss student loans in bankruptcy. The criteria are very strict, but a lawyer can review your financial circumstances to determine whether you are eligible.

If you are not able to dismiss your student loans in bankruptcy, you may still be able to get relief from other debts such as medical bills or credit card debt you accumulated during and after college. In some cases, discharging these other debts allows people to make their student loan payments.

3 ways filing bankruptcy can help improve your life after college:

  1. Peace of mind. Once you choose to file bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, preventing actions by creditors. This will allow you to focus on earning income to repay your debts according to the terms of your bankruptcy, rather than getting increasingly frustrated with things like wage garnishment or a court summons to collect on your debt.
  2. Clear other debt so you can make your student loan payments. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to remove or reduce other expenditures, allowing you the ability to pay off your student loans. While that may include driving a “beater” or taking public transportation for a bit, bankruptcy may provide the opportunity to get out from under other debts, so you can afford to pay back your college loans and increase your credit score.
  3. Clear your credit. Bankruptcy can help you focus on rebuilding your credit and showing creditors that what led to your bankruptcy will not happen again. You can do this by making regular payments and avoiding late charges. It won’t lessen the amount of time the bankruptcy stays on your credit report, but it can go a long way in earning back trust with creditors.

While student loan debt is now reportedly second in command to mortgage debt in the United States,  it does not need to control your life and your ability to establish yourself. Even as it pertains to your other debts, bankruptcy may still provide the financial restart you need to move forward financially.