As you say, student loans cannot be discharged for bankruptcy. For me, the big impetus for paying down any debt is if somehow I was unable to work (if I got sick or disabled, or long-term unemployed), I'd be miserable having this debt grow. I recently re-financed my mortgage to a 10-year term to get it paid off sooner. I don't even want to think about foreclosure or short-sale, I just want it paid off so I don't even have to go there. I do understand that in many cases education and housing are good debt, incurred for long-term gain rather than short-term whimsy, and that a Roth could be borrowed against. But for my peace of mind I like to pay off things if I'm able.