Document Type

Research Memorandum

Publication Date




Under title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”), a debtor’s student loan debt is not dischargeable unless “excepting such debt from discharge . . . would impose an undue hardship on the debtor.” A majority of courts apply a three-prong test, known as the Brunner test, to determine if student loan debt may be discharged. Under this analysis, courts will generally consider a debtor’s prospects for future employment in deciding whether a student loan debt should be discharged. In connection therewith, courts will often take into account a debtor’s educational background and possession of a professional degree, a debtor’s transferrable job skills, and a debtor’s employment history and efforts to find employment.

This memorandum addresses these factors that courts analyze when determining if a debtor’s potential future employment is considered under Brunner. Part I focuses on the debtor’s educational background and possession of an educational degree. Part II concentrates on a debtor’s possession of job skills to indicate a potential for future employment. Part III examines a debtor’s previous employment history and adequate efforts at seeking current employment.


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