Talk Justice, an LSC Podcast: Upsolve’s New Student Debt Relief Tools

Carl Rauscher             
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WASHINGTON– Guests from the online bankruptcy service Upsolve and Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) discuss a new, free web resource for people struggling with student debt on the latest episode of LSC's “Talk Justice” podcast, released today. LSC President Ron Flagg hosts the conversation with guests Jonathan Pyle, contract performance officer at PLA, and Ben Jackson, chief product officer at  

PLA received funding from a 2023 LSC Technology Initiative Grant for the project and brought on Upsolve to develop the tools. Their goal is to raise awareness of available debt relief programs and provide guided assistance for qualified borrowers to pursue student debt elimination.  

Pyle, the developer of Docassemble, originally met Upsolve Co-Founder Rohan Pavuluri at the Equal Justice Conference in 2016, where they discovered a shared interest in leveraging automation to improve access to legal help. This led to PLA tasking Upsolve with automating chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. Their collaboration has continued ever since, with the latest project being Upsolve’s step into student debt relief.  

“It's just been so great watching Upsolve's tool evolve, you know, it's not just document assembly—it's the whole thing, it's like up to the last mile of assistance, which is precisely what low-income people need,“ says Pyle. “They don't just need a document, they need 

ongoing help, they need customer service, they need somebody to review things—and so Upsolve provides all that. I just love it.”  

Jackson says receives 3.5 million annual site visitors who find them primarily by searching Google with various debt questions. Formerly focused exclusively on bankruptcy, Upsolve’s recently updated screening process now also analyzes if users would qualify for student debt relief by meeting specific hardship criteria. If they do, Upsolve walks them through submitting the proper forms for consideration of debt relief.  

“[When] you enter [the debt relief tool] a screener immediately screens you for bankruptcy and then also for student loan hardship,” says Jackson. “We now do intake where we're assessing what sort of pain does the user feel related to their debt, and then what type of debt are they struggling with, and then based on those answers, we move them into different product services or education models that we have live.”  

Pyle says that working in legal aid is like drinking from a fire hose: the stream of requests for help they receive far outnumbers the services that they are able to provide. He sees Upsolve as an example of an important type of additional resource that can help reduce that volume.  

“I think the more we have tools like Upsolve that are the assisted pro se variety, we can sort of deal with that fire hose of need by taking some off that can benefit from the written materials or the assisted pro se and then what we're left with as legal aid are the more complex cases that really do require an attorney,” Pyle says.  

“I don't feel like we're far enough in pursuing that type of approach but I just think Upsolve is a big step forward and I’m really glad they're branching out to student debt relief as well as bankruptcy,” Pyle continues.  

Talk Justice episodes are available online and on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and other popular podcast apps. The podcast is sponsored by LSC’s Leaders Council.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974. For 50 years, LSC has provided financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.