Bill protects professional licenses from student loan defaulters

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

Representative Natalie Higgins, who introduced one of the many bills (H 3161) to the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee that would decouple professional certification from paying student loans, said to the panel that a bipartisan coalition supported proposals to amend or revoke the 1990 law.

While Higgins said most councils don’t appear to be enforcing license denials or revocations at this point, 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 more difficult for them to be able to pay off their student loan debt,” said Higgins, a Democrat from Leominster.

Republican Senator Ryan Fattman of Sutton also introduced a bill (S 2053) repealing the current policy of denial of license to practice for defaulting students, while his Republican colleague David Muradian of Grafton proposed a legislation (H 3208) that would limit revocations only to those who default on loans in three months during a period of 12 months.

In the last session, the Oversight Committee for State Administration and Regulation favorably recommended an earlier version of Higgins’ bill, but it never emerged from the Ways and Means Committee of the Bedroom.

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