In full transparency, the following is a press release from Senate President Karen Spilka’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – On Monday, November 21, 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.
“Student loan debt disproportionately affects young, low-income individuals who are making the kinds of investments in their future that we should be encouraging,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Revoking professional licenses that they obtained with a student loan does nothing to solve the problem of loan defaults, and it actively makes the problem worse by preventing new professionals from having the means to pay off their loans. I want to thank Senator Eldridge for his attention and determination in seeing this common-sense bill over the finish line.”
“I am proud to announce that the Senate has passed the license revocation ban bill, known as an act prohibiting license revocation for student loan default. Nearly one million Massachusetts residents are struggling because of student loans. As the federal moratorium approaches its end, we must recognize Covid-19’s continuous impact on employment and borrowers’ financial situations,” said Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. “The bill will ensure that borrowers, who are heavily burdened by student loans, can still continue their career and work towards repayments of their educational loans. Thank you to Representative Higgins for her leadership on filing and fighting for this legislation. Congratulations to the hard-working advocates, and staff.”
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 previously passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill goes to the Governor for his consideration.