Title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”) generally provides for a broad discharge of pre-petition debts, resulting in a “fresh start” for debtors post-bankruptcy. However, section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code provides that a debtor may not be discharged from student loans unless there is a showing of “undue hardship.”
“Undue hardship” is a term of art largely dependent on the circumstances of the debtor. One common circumstance is the age of the debtor. The effect of a debtor’s age on their ability to pay can vary, so the role age plays in undue hardship analyses is unclear. This memorandum examines the role age plays in the undue hardship analysis. Part I examines section 523 and discusses how courts generally approach undue hardship analyses. Part II explores what role age plays in undue hardship analyses. Lasty, Part III discusses how courts approach the discharge of student loans when age is considered as a factor.