In a ruling that could make it more expensive for law students to get loans for bar exam preparation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found borrowers can discharge private, for-profit loans when they file for bankruptcy.

Fewer students have been able to get private bar exam-prep loans since the 2008 recession introduced challenges to getting private credit, said Chris Chapman, president and CEO of AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit that works to improve access to affordable legal education. If lenders like Navient Corp. know their loans are dischargeable in bankruptcy, they could begin charging students more for the loans.

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