Not all loans are alike.
A tuition bill is not a student loan. As a general rule, student loans are non-dischargeable debts, which means that you will still have to pay the loan off even after filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under current law, this is true for both federal and private loans, even if it’s a private loan from for-profit lenders such as Citibank or the student loan specialist Sallie Mae. Private student loans (also called the alternative student loans, e.g., FFELP and FDSLP) are generally given to supplement federal loans (Stafford loans, Perkins loans or the PLUS loans.)
If you default on your student loan, the U.S. Department of Education can have money deducted from your federal income tax refund to collect on defaulted federal student loans (tax offset) or force your employer to withhold a portion of your pay (wage garnishment) or both.
Ordinary tuition bills have different considerations. Generally, so long as the family did not sign a promissory note (which would cause them to be considered educational loans), unpaid tuition bills and other college bills can be discharged in bankruptcy. A Florida Bankruptcy attorney should review of all documents signed in connection with the unpaid tuition bills to determine whether they are dischargeable in bankruptcy.
There are remedies.