The Student Loan Bankruptcy Gap

43 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2020 Last revised: 24 May 2021

See all articles by Jason Iuliano

Jason Iuliano

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: October 21, 2020


Each year, a quarter of a million student loan debtors file for bankruptcy. Of those, fewer than three hundred discharge their educational debt. That is a success rate of just 0.1 percent. This chasm between success and failure is the titular Student Loan Bankruptcy Gap, and it is a phenomenon that is unprecedented in the law.

Drawing upon an original dataset of nearly five hundred adversary proceedings, this Article examines three key facets of the Student Loan Bankruptcy Gap. First, it establishes the true breadth of the gap. Second, it explores why the gap has persisted for more than two decades and, in doing so, uncovers a creditor case-selection strategy designed to deter debtors from bringing legitimate claims. And third, it identifies solutions that have the potential to close the Student Loan Bankruptcy Gap and bring debt relief to millions of individuals.

Suggested Citation

Iuliano, Jason, The Student Loan Bankruptcy Gap (October 21, 2020). 70 Duke Law Journal (2020), Available at SSRN:

Jason Iuliano (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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