Tag Archives: debtors’ prison

Default on Student Debt–and Lose Your License

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Remember debtors’ prison–they throw you in the clink until you pay off your debt? Really stupid idea, wasn’t it? Eventually they discovered that it’s next to impossible to pay off anything while you’re in jail.

But if we really do know better nowadays, how come 22 states revoke your driver’s license, or even your professional license, as punishment for failure to pay off your student debt? (http://www.jwj.org/in-22-states-your-student-debt-could-cost-you-your-job) You could read all about it in this recently updated Jobs With Justice article, if only WordPress hadn’t killed all my news links.

Let’s see, now… You go to collidge and run up a $200,000 student debt–and when you can’t keep up with the payments, they take away your right to drive a car, or even revoke your professional license. Either way, you probably lose your livelihood and certainly lose your ability to pay down the debt. Bad enough you’ve got a master’s degree in Gender Studies or Superhero Studies and it isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. But just try to get and keep a job if you can’t drive to work. And just try paying down a debt if you haven’t got a job.

America would be better served if there were some other punishment for student debt default–suspending the defaulter’s right to vote, that would be a good start. Refusal to grant student loans in the first place to anyone “studying” completely useless subjects.Why should the taxpayers loan anyone money to get a degree in Lesbian Chicano Studies?

But it’s just plain mean to take away some poor collidge grad’s ability to eke out a living serving up slurpees at his hometown Seven-Eleven.


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