In many states, failing to repay student loans could cost one a professional license to perform a job, and in the case of Iowa and South Dakota, even losing a driverâ€™s license.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in June introduced legislation that would prevent states from suspending, revoking or denying state licenses because borrowers default on their student loans, in the hopes of alleviating some of the financial burdens on Americans who are already saddled with student loan debt.
Americans owe a whopping $1.53 trillion in student loan debt, and almost 11 percent of the debt was at least 90 days delinquent or in default at the end of the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Meanwhile, almost 30 percent of workers in the United States need a professional license to perform their job, according to The Brookings Institution.
In recent years, six states â€” North Dakota, Washington, New Jersey, California, Oklahoma and Virginia â€” have repealed laws that allowed states to suspend or revoke professional licenses as a penalty for student loan default. The Warren-Rubio bill exercises such efforts at the federal level.
After reading state laws, MagnifyMoney found that as of Aug. 24, 2018, at least 16 states deny, suspend or revoke state-issued professional or driverâ€™s licenses if loan borrowers default on their student loans. In some states, such laws impact a wide range of professions requiring a state license, such as teachers, nurses and barbers; in others, only certain jobs are affected. Here are the states where these penalties exist and may be enforced:
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