Q & A Session – Student Loan Debt


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


My security clearance is up for renewal in 3 years. Together, my wife and I have credit card and student loan debt that has been accumulating over the past 15 years from personal injuries and layoffs. My student loans are currently in voluntary forbearance but that will run out in three years and it’s the only reason they have not gone into default. What can I do to try and keep my security clearance? What type of background or information should I be accumulating?


Keep in mind that when your clearance is updated, your credit report will be reviewed. The existence of your student loans and your repayment history will be an issue.

The concern is whether you are living within your means and being responsible with your debts. Bankruptcy and garnishments are not necessarily disqualifying but they require a more detailed investigation to keep your clearance.

From your description of your student loan problems it sounds as if these loans are hurting your finance health and could cause a problem at your next security clearance renewal. Perhaps a voluntary restructure of your budget, other debts, and student loans with the help of a trained credit counselor would be the best way to convince a security clearance adjudicator that you are financially responsible.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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