A new report finds bankruptcy filings are becoming less and less affordable for those who need them the most. 

The report, from three major universities, including Columbia, finds the very poor in many cases lack the $1,500 average cost of a bankruptcy filing for paperwork and legal fees. The study was prepared for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Part of the report also says another 200,000 consumers will be forced to use much-needed tax refund money to pay for a bankruptcy.

It is even more troubling for desperate households who have seen their debt spiral out of control from job loss, foreclosure or a medical emergency.

Rider University finance expert Maury Randall says the bankruptcy filing is desirable for those who want a clean slate. But if some people cannot find some way to get the money, he says, they may just be stuck where they are.

The study found a major stumbling block is the $300 cost of Federal paperwork under regulations passed in 2005 to curtail the high number of bankruptcies nationwide.