With the onset on spring comes the time for families to take to the roads to visit college campuses with their teenage children. This is a time for excitement and hop, as young people in California plan for their future studies. This is a time of planning for parents, as well, as many consider how best to pay for the college dreams of their high school students. The means by which a college education if financed can be of serious consequence to both parents and students, and can lead some to seek debt relief in the years to come.

Perhaps the best way to avoid severe debt issues based on college funding is to establish a long-term plan. Knowing the full cost of a college education is the first step in mapping out how to cover those expenses. For many families, college is funded by a mix of savings, scholarships and loans, both public and private.

When all goes well, a student emerges with a new degree, a solid path toward a new career and a manageable level of student loan debt. In many cases, however, unforeseen events can bring financial hardship, especially to parents who took out loans to fund their child’s education. In the event of a job loss or illness, it can quickly become difficult to meet one’s loan obligations. Combined with other unpaid debts, a family can quickly find themselves in serious need of debt relief.

For many, the most viable path to debt relief lies in personal bankruptcy. Student loan debt is not allowable for discharge under existing bankruptcy law. However, by eliminating the majority of other forms of unsecured debt, filing for bankruptcy can give California consumers the chance to regain control over their finances and rebuild toward financial security

Source: National Public Radio, “Debt And The Modern Parent Of College Kids,” April 10, 2013