By Bob Katzen

The House and Senate on November 21, approved and sent to then-Gov. Baker legislation that would repeal a current state law which creates professional licensure consequences for anyone who defaults on their student loan. Under current law, a borrower’s state-issued professional or occupational certificate, registration or license can be suspended, revoked or canceled if the borrower is in default on an education loan.

“This draconian approach prevents an individual from access to the profession for which he or she has trained and has the perverse result of further hindering their ability to earn a living and making it more difficult to make loan payments,” said co-sponsor Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian (D-Melrose). “And as families work to recover from the financial fallout of the pandemic, the last thing the state should do is deny them access to their professional pursuits because of student loan defaults.”

Baker proposed an amendment to the bill on December 1. Baker’s amendment would allow the Division of Banks to consider student loan defaults in order to ensure that the Division will retain the discretion it has always applied when assessing an applicant’s fitness to provide consumer financial services to prospective borrowers.

“Precluding the Division of Banks from reviewing credit reports as part of its evaluation of an individual’s financial responsibility for a financial services license could ultimately result in harm to consumers,” said Baker.

The House and Senate had more than a month to act on the governor’s amendment but did ot do so.. As a result, the bill died on January 3, the final day of the 2021-2022 session.

“This is a common-sense bill that not only helps a student practice their profession but it is also likely to help a student earn enough money to pay off any outstanding student debt,” said co-sponsor Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). “I was hoping the bill would make it to the governor’s desk, and wish he had not filed an amendment to the already-passed bill.”

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