030216CM0460RSSPRINGFIELD- Student loans are the largest source for consumer debt in the United States, surpassing mortgages and credit cards debt.

More than 20 states including Illinois currently have laws in place that suspend professional licenses and certificates in the event a consumer must default on their student loans.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced an initiative to prevent licensing boards from denying, revoking or suspending individual professional licenses due to student loan default in Illinois.

“Taking away someone’s ability to work is counterproductive,” Bennett said. “The fact is 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 2236 will put provisions in place to prevent individuals with student loan default from experiencing licenses being denied, revoked, or suspended in 39 professions such as occupational therapists, roofers, teachers, structural engineers, home inspectors and real estate agents.

“We should be empowering people to go to work, not taking away their ability to earn a living,” Bennett said.   

Student loan debt is the only type of debt in the U.S. that is not eligible for bankruptcy except in severe instances.

Senate Bill 2236 passed the Senate’s Committee on Licensed Activities and Pensions and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

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