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Carol Todd's Student Loans Forgiven Because She Has Asperger Syndrome

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Even if you go bankrupt, it's nearly impossible to shake off your student loans.

But a lawyer for a former law student trying to "discharge," or obtain forgiveness, for more than $300,000 in student loan debt recently found a way.

Last week a Maryland judge forgave Carol Todd's $339,361 loan bill because she suffers from
Asperger Syndrome, considered a high-functioning form of autism.

According to the legal news site Law.com Todd argued that her disability prevented her from paying back the $339,361 she borrowed in order to attend the Baltimore School of Law. Todd, who has a high school equivalency degree and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school, began law school in 1992 and later dropped out. She filed for bankruptcy in 2009 at age 63.

While credit card debt and other kinds of loans are forgiven in bankruptcy, shaking off student loans is much more difficult. Debtors seeking forgiveness from education debt must prove the loans will impose an undue hardship on themselves or their dependents.

Sometimes even death is not reason enough to have education debt forgiven.

The judge in Todd's case ruled that her disability prevented her from working and was thus reason enough to discharge her loans, according to Law.com.

As college tuition rises and wages fall, and increasing number of people are defaulting on their student loans.

And as outstanding student debt in America balloons to more than $1 trillion, some law makers are questioning the strict, unforgiving bankruptcy laws that were put in place in 2005 to deter students from abandoning the loans they took out to pay for college.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) has introduced legislation that would make it easier for private student loans to be forgiven during bankruptcy.

Clarification: An original version of this story misstated Todd's age when she began law school.