Friday, January 24, 2020
Some states allow people to have professional licenses suspended or even revoked due to student loan debt, and these occupations widely and include nurses, doctors, and even truck drivers. Typically, these statutes only kick in if a borrower is delinquent or in default on their student loans.
Other occupations require a character and fitness exam or background check to obtain a professional license, including becoming an attorney. For Cynthia Marie Rogers, her student loan debt played a major role in the Ohio Board of Bar Commissioners denying her admission to the Ohio bar to practice law as an attorney there. When she graduation from law school, her student debt topped $300,000. Combined with her husband's student loan debt, their balance was nearly $900,000.
The amount was not the only factor, of course. The Board noted testimony from Rogers where she stated that neither she nor her husband were repaying their loans because their income was too low to require making payments. Under these types of programs borrowers earning below 150% of the poverty level for their family size are not required to make any payments on their federal student loan debt and after 25 years on the program the remaining debt will be forgiven. Rogers said she "knew there was no way for twenty years that I would ever be able to pay all that back" and that she would only work in legal services part-time.
This seemingly obvious dedication at not paying back her federal student loan debt coupled with the fact that she had filed nearly 60 civil lawsuits during the course of her lifetime, many of them frivolous, and that she failed to disclose this full history to the people who had recommended her for admission to the bar, was enough to deny her entry.
See Adam S. Minsky, Esq., Court Cites Student Loans as Reason to Deny Bar Admission to New Lawyer, Forbes, January 22, 2020.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.