Bill Would Prevent State From Suspending Professional Licenses of Defaulted Student Loan Borrowers

A bill has been introduced in the Georgia legislature that would prevent the state from suspending the professional licenses of individuals who default on state or federal government-backed student loans.

The bill was introduced by state Rep. Scot Turner, a Republican.

“This is a really terrible way to collect debt,” said Turner, in a published report. “There are plenty of other opportunities for debt collection in the state of Georgia.”

Among the professional licenses that would no longer allowed to be suspended are: exterminators, nurses, pharmacists, insurance agents, accountants, real estate appraisers, and nurses. The bill is limited to student loans guaranteed by the Georgia Higher Education Loan Program or the federal government.

According to Turner, only a handful of individuals have been unable to obtain a license or had one suspended or revoked for non-payment of student loans. But there are 16,538 individuals living in Georgia who have defaulted on their student loans, and the intention is to try and make sure that each of those individuals have the chance to earn a living in their chosen profession, which should help them repay their student loans.

“We should not remove somebody’s ability to earn a living if they fall behind on their student loans,” Turner said at a hearing last week. “Then they will not be able to pay their student loans,”

The bill is expected to be voted out of the state legislature’s House Higher Education Committee this week, according to the report.

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