Regent University

Student loans discharged because debtor has Asperger's

A Baltimore County woman had about $340,000 in student loan debt discharged by a federal bankruptcy judge this month because Asperger's syndrome prevents her from holding a job.

Carol Todd of Nottingham pursued college degrees "as a stepping stone toward a measure of liberation … and perhaps to help her achieve something closer to a normal life," according to the May 17 opinion of Judge Robert A. Gordon, a bankruptcy judge for the District of Maryland. Asperger's is an autism-spectrum disorder that is typified by problems with social interaction.

But the debt Todd racked up ended up complicating her life, Gordon said. He took a rare judicial step by deciding that the...