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When Unpaid Student Loan Bills Mean You Can No Longer Work

Source Date: 
Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fall behind on your student loan payments, lose your job.

Few people realize that the loans they take out to pay for their education could eventually derail their careers. But in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work.

As debt levels rise, creditors are taking increasingly tough actions to chase people who fall behind on student loans. Going after professional licenses stands out as especially punitive.

Firefighters, nurses, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, barbers, psychologists and real estate brokers have all had their credentials suspended or revoked.

Determining the number of people who have lost their licenses is impossible because many state agencies and licensing boards don’t track the information. Public records requests by The New York Times identified at least 8,700 cases in which licenses were taken away or put at risk of suspension in recent years, although that tally almost certainly understates the true number.

“This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
– Earl Wilson
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
– Marie Curie
“What I would like to do... once I take care of all my kids' student loans, is buy a red 1965 Mustang and fully restore it.”
– Mike Quigley
"Bankruptcy laws allow companies to smoothly reorganize, but not college graduates burdened by student loans."
– Robert Reich
The road to success is always under construction
– Lily Tomlin
"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going."
– Irwin "Professor" Corey
"There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt."
– P. T. Barnum