"As overall student loan indebtedness in the United States has increased over the years, many borrowers have found themselves unable to repay their student loans. Ordinarily, declaring bankruptcy is a means by which a debtor may 'discharge'--that is, obtain relief from--debts he is unable to repay. However, Congress, based upon its determination that allowing debtors to freely discharge student loans in bankruptcy could threaten the student loan program, has limited the circumstances in which a debtor may discharge a student loan. Under current law, a debtor may not discharge a student loan unless repaying the student loan would impose an 'undue hardship' upon the debtor and his dependents."
CRS Report for Congress, R45113