Student Loans are now bigger than credit card debt, and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy (except for the really destitute and hopeless; very hard to show). And the government has access to information and collection methods not available to other creditors. As a result, the New York Times reports, debt collectors are pursuing these types of collection accounts and making much higher collection percentages. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/business/once-a-student-now-dogged-by-collection-agencies.html?_r=1
In many cases, this situation is putting an enormous strain on some unfortunate borrowers.
But, as the article points out, there are some programs to help. These include income based payment programs and discharges for those in public service. http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation. The first step for anyone is to get, keep and save all your student loan applications and documents.
And even though a personal bankruptcy will not discharge all student loan debt, it can help. In some cases, a Chapter 13 can be used to funnel payment to these debts.
As I have written before on these pages, the whole student loan situation is a ticking time bomb…