Private student loans would no longer be exempt from protections when borrowers file for bankruptcy under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The effort, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and signed by 12 other senators, comes as the White House and lawmakers are working on multiple fronts to attack what is being called a student-debt crisis.
Roughly 40 million Americans currently carry student-loan debt, starting out with an average bill of $29,000, according to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
Since 2005, people filing for bankruptcy protection haven’t been able to get student loans cleared. Before that, only government and secured loans were exempt.