My Boyfriends Boise State University Art Education Has Made Him Lose Hope


Dear Steve,

So my boyfriend attended a Boise State University in pursuit of a degree in Art. He was using all of his student loans to pay for living expenses because he was going full-time and also had a toddler.

During his last year, his tuition expenses were higher than the loans he was eligible for, and he had to pay the school roughly $1000, which he couldn’t do, and so they sent him to collections.

He had to drop out and all of his student loans went into default with Navient (about $77K). It’s made him lose hope that he will ever get out of debt, and he’s getting more and more depressed about the lack of a future for us and his daughter. I also don’t want to fall into the same trap because I’m at about $45K myself…

I need to find a way to help him.

Can he file for bankruptcy? I tried to read a couple of your articles on this but I don’t understand most of it.

Is there a way to have his loans forgiven at all?

What are the appropriate steps for us to take to get through this?

I really would appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks!!



Dear Jordan,

Much of what I wrote in this Q&A seems to apply here as well.

But from what you shared, your boyfriend took out what seems to be private student loans and then used them to live on.

I’m not sure where exactly to start here and be compassionate and polite at the same time.

If I’m right that these are private student loans, they are the WORST kind of loan to use for school. They offer no income based repayment options and there is no requirement for any private lender to enter into any payment arrangement.

That being said, if the loans were used for expenses other than a “qualified higher education expense” then he might have some basis for pursuing a possible discharge of that part of the loan balance above the qualified expense. See this article.

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He would need to find a bankruptcy attorney who is licensed in Idaho that has experience with this type of situation. They are few and far between so you will have to search hard to find one.

His mental health situation is critically important. Unless you get him some counseling or prescription medication to deal with the depression, he will remain stuck in a hopeless rut. I find that dealing with the depression is a critical first step to eventually dealing with the debt.


If these are private student loans, as I suspect they are, there is no mechanism to have the loans forgiven. If these are federal student loans then there are income based repayment plans. Details here.

So if I had to weigh the order of tasks I would do it in this order.

1. Mental health treatment and help.
2. Talk to an Idaho licensed bankruptcy attorney to get relief if available.
3. Find a job and get to work.

Once he does that stuff then we can begin to look towards the future and figure out where he can go.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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