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February 28, 2018

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN APPLAUDS COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF BILL TO PREVENT STUDENT LOAN BORROWERS FROM LOSING PROFESSIONAL LICENSES

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the Senate’s Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee for passing legislation to end the practice that would allow the suspension of the professional licenses of student loan borrowers who are behind on their payments.

Madigan and Sen. Scott Bennett initiated Senate Bill 2439, the Career Preservation and Student Loan Repayment Act, to prevent the state from suspending or terminating the professional licenses of student loan borrowers who are behind on payments. SB 2439 passed the Licensed Activities and Pensions Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.

“Revoking a student loan borrower’s professional license only makes it more difficult for them to repay the money they owe,” Madigan said. “We need to ensure borrowers can stay current with their payments – instead of punishing them when they fall behind.”

“If we want to make sure student borrowers repay their loans, why would we allow the state to take away their ability to work within their licensed profession?” Bennett said. “I appreciate Attorney General Madigan’s continued commitment to protecting student loan borrowers from a lifetime of unmanageable debt.”

Currently, people are in dozens of occupations impacted by Illinois law that allows a person’s professional license to be revoked for being behind on student loan payments, including teachers, dieticians, marriage and family therapists, occupational therapists, veterinarians, and engineers.

Attorney General Madigan is a national leader in investigating and enforcing consumer protection violations in the higher education field. Last year, Madigan initiated an Illinois Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect students from widespread abuses and failures by student loan servicing companies that prevent borrowers from being able to repay. Madigan also filed a lawsuit against one of the largest student loan servicers, Navient, for similar abuses in the student loan servicing industry.

Madigan has investigated for-profit schools for fraud and repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of Education to immediately forgive federal loans of students who attended fraudulent for-profit schools. Madigan has also testified before Congress and urged the U.S. Department of Education to crack down on the many abuses and scams facing student borrowers.

Madigan also instituted a free Student Loan Helpline to provide student borrowers with resources about repayment options, avoiding default or how to file a complaint about loan servicing at (800) 455-2456 (TTY: 1-800-964-3013). More information can also be found on her website.

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