Another Blow to College Debt


In Pennsylvania parents are not required to pay for their children’s college education. In many instances, parents in an intact marriage agree to co-sign student loans to help their children obtain an education. If a divorce is filed any college debt the parents agreed to co-sign during the marriage becomes marital debt for which each parent may have responsibility to pay post-divorce. The Student Loan Forgiveness Program was an opportunity of forgiveness for $10,000 per borrower in student loans and up to $20,000 in some cases. The United States Supreme Court struck down President’s Biden’s plan to forgive student loan debt citing the program exceeded the President’s authority under the HEROES Act and other federal laws. With student loans back in the marital estate parents need to strategize their exposure to college debt. Although parents have no legal obligation in Pennsylvania to pay college costs, parents may have already put money aside for college or may have children starting college while the divorce is pending.

Parents need to have a conversation with their children as to expectations regarding payment of college costs. Parents may be able to limit their exposure to college education costs by agreeing to a cap such as paying the cost of in-state tuition even if the child chooses to attend college out-of-state. College tuition should be defined by the family as to whether it entails tuition, room, board and books. Additionally, parents should discuss whether their contribution is contingent upon a child maintaining a certain grade point average or working during the summer to pay for extra costs including spending money and travel costs. More importantly if the parties are in a divorce and college is looming in the background, it is important for both parents to discuss the college expenses and be careful not to sign onto too many loans for which you may not be able to afford to pay back post-divorce.

Media Contact

Valerie Lyons
Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
T: 267.765.4124

back to top