Bill will prevent individuals with outstanding student loan debt from having their professional licenses revoked
BOSTON — On Monday, November 21, 2022, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation to prevent individuals who default on their student loans from having their license or professional certification revoked as a result. As of Fall 2022, approximately one million Massachusetts residents hold a combined total of nearly $31 billion dollars in federal student loan debt, with an average debt of $34,146 per borrower. Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) supported the legislation and applauded its passage by the Legislature.
“Across our state, we are seeing a significant shortage of workers, especially in the healthcare sector, leading to significant barriers to tackling some of our biggest needs,” said Senator Friedman, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. “Taking away an individual’s ability to work due to financial hardship makes little sense, and beyond that, stripping the workforce of talented, qualified professionals is equally as senseless. This legislation will support our workforce and allow Massachusetts residents to continue to work to correct defaults on student loan debt, rather than inflict further financial challenges.”
Under current Massachusetts law, residents can have their licenses or professional certification revoked, denied, or refused for renewal as a result of defaulting on their student loan debt. Massachusetts is one of only 14 states with such a law. The bill does away with the law and blocks any state agency or board of registration from denying or revoking any license or professional or occupational certificate or registration based on an individual’s default on an educational loan.
The bill does not change the state’s ability to use traditional loan collection tools.
Having passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill goes to the Governor for his consideration.