Bankruptcy does not exclude you from receiving financial aid for your college education.
If you are planning to attend college or return to college after filing for bankruptcy there is some good news. You can find financial aid and even some student loans to help fund your education, even after bankruptcy.
You’ll want to start by filling out your FAFSA form online. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application will allow the school along with the federal government determine what kind of financial aid you are eligible for.
As long as you don’t have any drug or crime related convictions on your record, you will usually be eligible for at least some financial aid and federal loans regardless of your bankruptcy status or credit history.
Many schools give out financial aid in the form of need based grants or merit based scholarships. Both of these types of aid do not need to ever be repaid. Need based grants are based on your household income and scholarships are given based on academic achievement, athletic skill, or other speciality based merits.
As far as student loans go, the federal government offers a wide range of federal grants and loans for college students of all ages. Grants do not need to be repaid and the federal loans, while needing to be repaid, often carry far lower interest rates than private student loans.
Bankruptcy will not affect your ability to be eligible for school and government grants and scholarships. Bankruptcy will generally not affect your ability to apply for and receive federal student loan.
Private loans on the other hand are issued by privately held businesses and banks. Therefore private lenders issuing private loans may consider your credit history when determining eligibility and rates for private loans. Having a co-signer may help your chances of getting private student loans if you are turned down for private loans initially.
Therefore it is always best, regardless of your credit history or bankruptcy status, to fill out a FAFSA and apply for federal grants and loans first.
As a side note for after you’ve completed your education:
Keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy does not free you from repaying student loans. So while those in bankruptcy can apply for and get some federal loans and grants, those already carrying loans can not use bankruptcy as a way to avoid paying back those loans.