02272018CM0063SPRINGFIELD – Nearly one-third of Americans today must be licensed by the government in order to do their jobs. As debt levels rise, creditors are taking increasingly tough actions to chase the 44 million people who have outstanding student loans. To prevent that debt from being used to deny professional licenses, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) introduced a measure today to combat this and protect graduate students from losing their jobs.

“It should be obvious that taking away someone’s job if they fall behind on student loans is counterproductive,” Bennett said. “If you aren’t able to work, you won’t be able to pay back your loans and will sink further into debt.”

Senate Bill 2439, the Career Preservation and Student Loan Repayment Act, will put provisions in place to prevent licensing agencies from denying, revoking, or suspending licenses to individuals with student loan default in 38 professions such as occupational therapists, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

Illinois is currently one of 22 states that have laws in place to suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event an individual must default on their student loans.

“It’s tragic that so many of our graduates have seemingly insurmountable student debt, and of course it’s appropriate to hold people accountable for their loans,” Bennett said. “However, we need to be empowering people to go to work, not taking away their ability to earn a living.”

SB 2439 passed the Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.

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