Bill safeguards professional licenses of student loan defaulters

Boston Statehouse

(Getty Images)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Thirty-one years after the Legislature codified a policy allowing professional registration boards to deny or revoke licenses for those who default on student loans, a group of lawmakers are pushing their colleagues to ban the practice.

Rep. Natalie Higgins, who filed one of several bills (H 3161) before the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee that would divorce professional certification from paying student loans, told the panel that a bipartisan coalition supports proposals to amend or revoke the 1990 statute.

While Higgins said most boards appear not to be enforcing license denials or revocations at this point in time, she urged lawmakers to act now to ensure there is a “clear ban on this procedure.”

“We shouldn’t be punishing our student loan borrowers by making it even harder for them to be able to pay back their student loan debt,” Higgins, a Leominster Democrat, said.

Republican Sen. Ryan Fattman of Sutton also filed a bill (S 2053) scrapping the existing policy of denying licensure for student loan defaulters, while fellow Republican Rep. David Muradian of Grafton proposed legislation (H 3208) that would limit revocations only to those who default on loans in three months during a 12-month period.

Last session, the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee favorably recommended an earlier version of Higgins’s bill, but it never emerged from the House Ways and Means Committee.

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