A person who files for bankruptcy must take two educational courses before receiving a bankruptcy discharge that will wipe out qualifying debt. The filer, or “debtor,” will complete the first course—called credit counseling—up to 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. A certificate of completion gets filed with the court along with the official bankruptcy paperwork that starts the process.
The filer will take the second course—called debtor education—after filing for bankruptcy. The debtor education course provides the filer with financial management tools, such as tips for creating a budget and rebuilding credit after bankruptcy. You’ll prove that you’ve completed the course by filing the certificate of completion with the court (or the provider might do so for you). The certificate must be filed within 60 days of the date first set for the meeting of creditors—the one court appearance all filers must attend—or the court will dismiss the case.
(You’ll find more details in the article The Predischarge Debtor Education Requirement in Bankruptcy.)
Your bankruptcy jurisdiction must approve the particular course that you take. You can find an approved provider by visiting the U.S. Trustee’s website. Click on the link entitled “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.” After the list populates, be sure to scroll down until you find your court’s jurisdiction. You’ll want to choose a provider that falls in that section to ensure that you get credit for the course.
(Learn more about both bankruptcy courses individuals must take by visiting Nolo’s topic page Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)