Student loan debt has become a crisis in America, but for many Florida borrowers, this crisis has hit close to home. Over 100 Florida healthcare workers have now lost their license to practice medicine due to their inability to repay their student loans. A recent crackdown by the state board of health was initiated in an effort to get student loan borrowers to pay back their loans.
For years, federal student loan companies have pushed states to enact laws that were tougher on borrowers who defaulted on their student loan obligations. One of the suggested penalties has been taking away professional licenses from defaulting borrowers. Florida is the only state that has begun enforcing these types of laws.
The Florida State Board of Health reported that approximately 900 healthcare workers were at risk of losing their license over the past two years. The board worked out repayment plans with the great majority of those workers, leaving 90 to 120 license suspensions since November 2016. These licenses include professional certifications for registered nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, opticians and pharmacists.
However, now that these workers have lost their ability to earn an income, the question remains: how will they be able to pay their loan obligations? That argument is being made by area student loan attorneys. The decision to take away professional licenses for nonpayment of students is being questioned as putting a strain on employers and patients in an already short-staffed industry. Healthcare workers are already in short supply but taking away additional workers who have struggled paying their loan obligations will make the field even scarcer. Additionally, now that these workers have lost their ability to earn an income, it is more likely than not that they will end up depending on welfare benefits to survive.
Under the Florida law, the state has the power to garnish up to 100 percent of the healthcare worker’s wages before his or her license can be reinstated. Also, once the worker’s license is suspended, the only way he or she can get back the license is to pay a fine that is equal to 10 percent of the balanced owed. Critics of this law argue that it is entirely too unreasonable and makes it essentially impossible for the worker to get back on his or her feet.
It is estimated that over 10 percent of all student loan borrowers are now in default on their loan obligations. Approximately $1.2 trillion is owed nationally in student debt. Tuition costs seem to be rising every year, and the average student graduates with a large amount of debt, well up to $30,000 or higher. If the student continues on to graduate school, law school or medical school, the loan obligation can get as high as six figures. It comes as no surprise that these students, after graduation, struggle with meeting their monthly debt obligations, especially if they struggle finding employment after graduation.
The Florida law does require a 45-day written notice be issued to the borrower before his or her license is suspended. If you receive one of these notices, it is recommended you not ignore the notification but immediately contact your lender to discuss a possible repayment plan.
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For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.