Statistics on America’s mounting student loan debt is the headline news but what about the humans lying underneath that huge pile of debt? Are we thinking about them and what their families are going through? How does it affect our society?

A woman walked into my office and described her student loan nightmare as a ball and chain on her leg for 20 years. She is not only lugging around the growing student loan debt and getting collection calls every day, but she told me the worst part was the guilt and shame inside her. It eats at her every single day. She is stuck. The ball and chain is only a portion of it.

I have had the opportunity to talk with more folks grappling with student loan debt and I have heard stories of their emotional pain, humiliation, and feeling they will never, ever climb out of this hole. They tell me it is impossible. These feelings have impacted people’s lives that simply does not seem to go away.

Student loans are almost impossible to discharge in Bankruptcy, so people come to me to file Bankruptcy so they can relieve their medical bill debt and credit card debt. This allows them to devote their family’s piggy back change at the end of the month to pay their student loan debt. We are fortunate to have our Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida implementing new ways to deal with this crisis. They have started an exciting new program that was just launched.

Sherry Ellis