Personal Bankruptcy Education Available

Individuals filing for personal bankruptcy can turn to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach for the education that is required during the bankruptcy process. “Financial Success: Recovery after Bankruptcy” is available through the national website at a cost of $20 per person.

Since 2005, anyone filing for personal bankruptcy has been required to participate in a two-hour educational workshop before the bankruptcy is discharged. The online workshop is designed to help participants strengthen their financial management skills to prevent future problems.

“While dealing with bankruptcy may build awareness and motivation to take control of your finances, the skills, tools and strategies for being in control do not appear out of nowhere,” said Phyllis Zalenski, an ISU Extension and Outreach family finance specialist.

“The online workshop covers skills and tools for planning and controlling spending, for finding money to save for emergencies and specific goals, and for monitoring and controlling debt. These skills improve a family’s ability to maintain stability and get ahead, despite the financial challenges that every family faces occasionally,” Zalenski  said.

To access this online workshop, go to and type “debtor education” in the search box, or go directly to . The course is available 24/7, and certificates of completion are emailed to participants the next business day after they complete the course. At a wide variety of financial education and information is also available to anyone interested.

The $20 fee for the online workshop can be waived in cases of financial hardship, Zalenski said, if household income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level or if the bankruptcy case is being handled pro bono by an attorney.

To find information about all approved providers of workshops that meet the educational requirements outlined in the bankruptcy law, go to the U.S. Trustees website, . Some courses are available via telephone or face-to-face workshops, in addition to online courses. Courses are available in languages other than English, as well.

Contacts :
Barb Wollan, ISU Extension and Outreach Family Finance Specialist, 515-832-9597,
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775,

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