Student loans and bankruptcy

have huge student loans (near the legal limit) but a modest salary. Personal bankruptcy may be unavoidable. What are my options?

First of all, how does bankruptcy work in international situations? I am an American citizen but work here in Taiwan. American bankruptcy laws vary with each U.S. state, and as far as I can tell, there’s no way to do it from overseas. (American courts do not set up shop here, and judgments by Taiwan courts would not be binding on anybody back home.) I imagine I would have to return home to file–but how do I determine what state I am a resident of?

Is there any practical way for American creditors to go after my savings here? (I’m guessing not at the present, but it may become easier with time and tighter banking controls due to terrorism.)

Most important, the student loan issue. What’s the rule now on discharging them? Is it “after seven years” or “after seven years, if you can prove hardship to the judge’s satisfaction”? Or does it vary by state, or what?

Thanks to anybody who can help.


First of all dot hey know that you live in Taiwan? If so do they know your address?

To declare yourself bankrupt takes about 4 weeks but for your actual creeditors it takes much longer.It costs around $1500 US to delare someone bankrupt but they trty to avoid that becuase they have no gain from it. Sometimes people make an arrangement with who they owe money to and arrange a figure to pay back, sometimes a silly figure but they might agree becuase they get something back rather than none while bankrupt.

But the answer is YES, they can make you bankrupt without ever meeting you although this will take upto six months, maybe longer as you usually have to sign forms and they cannot find you to do so.

Speak to a lwayer about it, tell them the truth and they will give you all the available options, bankrupcy is the last option for banks, if it is mostly the bank you owe money to thinks look positive as it is not usually their thing.


Excuse the bad spelling as my keyboard is really poor and has a mind of its own, also I am at work and kind of rushing this :slight_smile:

They could probably find out my location easily enough if they really wanted. (Anyone could.) Why would that matter? Are they going to break my kneecaps? :wink:

I’m not terribly worried about someone else having me declared bankrupt in the U.S., because I have no significant assets there. I have some money here in Taiwan, but I can’t imagine them being able to negotiate the system here in order to take it from me. And it certainly wouldn’t be worth what they’d spend.

I suppose I could declare bankruptcy voluntarily (go to the U.S., pay 2000 dollars) but what’s the point? It’s the student loans that are the main thing, and they won’t be dischargeable through bankruptcy for years, if ever. (Anybody know the new rules?)

They will not be able to enforce judgements against you if you are in Taiwan. Relax. Let it slide.

hey there Vincent. I have a suggestion for you. Why don’t you get some jobs here and actually pay back what you owe?
Deadbeats wreck the student loan system. And we certainly don’t need more deadbeats in the foreigner community here. So why don’t you take responsibility for what you owe?

If worst comes to worst, you could join the US Army and have them pay off your loans. That’s what I did.

What do you need a clean credit history for? It’s only good if you plan to move back to the US.

What I would do is first consolidate all your student loans with the Department of Education. They’ll put you a 30-year payment plan, thus lowering the monthly payment. You’ll want to keep paying these, just in case you decide to go back to school and need to borrow again.

As for credit cards and other unsecured debt, pay this last. If you decide to declare bankruptcy, chances are you’ll have a tough time getting credit in the future anyway. So what’s the difference if you just screw the bastards? They won’t be able to find you in Taiwan, and eventually they’ll write the loss of anyway. You won’t ever be able to borrow to buy a car or house in the US, but your other option is to take all your savings from teaching English in Taiwan and retire in sunny Thailand.

Joining the army is a good way out too. They give you a signing bonus and debt relief. If you’re into languages you can join their prestigious language-training school in California and get an overseas posting afterwards.

Chessman, I appreciate your sympathy. I took out loans for medical school but some complicated things came up, and I just couldn’t hack it. I’m working now, but as I said, with a modest salary–not at all what I expected when I took the loans out.

The amount I owe is much higher than the army would ever pay for (and I’ve been warned they do lie to recruits about how much that is). Also, I think I’m too old.

Gosh (that’s a poster’s name, not my exclamation), I’m sure you’re right–as long as I stay in Taiwan or places like Taiwan, no problem. But if I ever go back to the U.S., I won’t be able to keep savings there.

Does anybody know the specific information about to what extent student loans can be discharged?

Thanks to everybody.

I qualified for the Army Loan Repayment plan. They payed off 100% of my student loans (20,000US) in just three years, 33% for each year. And that was on top of my salary.

I was medical and a guy that lived down the hall from me dropped out of med school too. He also had the ALR and they payed 48,000US. The limit they’ll pay is 50,000. That’s a lot of money. And they made him a respiratory technician because of his background (he was 31). Not a bad deal at all. Good luck.


I. The federal gov’t (IRS) is the only body that has access to any personal accounts. So unless you owe the US gov’t no one can take your savings.

II. There are bankruptcy lawers who fees vary-but definetly not at the amounts mentioned by a previous poster.

III. You’ll have to choose which sort of bankuptcy you want to file. **File w/ a regulated repayment plan set up by the courts or file w/no intent to repay a cent. If you want to repay, the monies will be auto-deducted through your employer. I suggest this route if your total debts are under 50K.

***IV. If your only major debts are your student loans, then you may not be able to include them in your filing. So before considering filing check this out! I filed years ago but my students loans were not included-reasons why not elude me at the moment.

V. As far as discharging, it varies-you could possibly get it discharged before 7 years. But, if you are going to file now I would worry about discharging. You will be able to reestablish credit with extremely high rates of course.

Hope it helps