Consumer debt declined from 2010 to 2011, from 1.55 million bankruptcy filings to 1.37 million - a 12 percent drop, CreditCards.com reports. This could be attributed to a variety of factors, such as more cautious consumer spending, a decline in credit card debt and a lack of people who could benefit from filing. Typically bankruptcy is used by businesses and consumers to "get back on their feet after experiencing irreplaceable economic loss," says the news source. It lets people restructure their debt, so long as it's paid off within two to five years. However, this protection doesn't apply to college graduates with student loans, which exceeded $845 billion in 2011. "People burdened by educational loans don't get any help from bankruptcy," David Epstein, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, tells the media outlet. This can lead to debt collection services coming after debtors, and many do. According to the Epoch Times, debt collectors are pursuing about 30 million Americans, while credit agencies such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have collected information on more than 200 million U.S. residents as of February.