Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal


The current state of bankruptcy law concerning chapter 13 educational expense deductions from a debtor's disposable income is cloudy at best. The vague guidelines provided by the drafters of the Bankruptcy Code have created a system where this issue is analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Bankruptcy judges possess great discretion in deciding whether a particular tuition deduction is "reasonably necessary," as required by 11 U.S.C. § 1325(b)(2), creating inconsistent decisions across jurisdictions. BAPCPA created even more chaos in this context, as it split debtors into two groups depending on their income and forced judges to use the new "means test" to evaluate certain debtors' tuition claims.