By Jedidiah McKeehan

If you are under 40 years of age, there is a good chance that you have student loan debt.  Student loan debt is an unfortunate commitment that people make thinking it will pay off long-term, however, often times it cripples people financially.

Tennessee has done a good job in trying to help young people avoid student loan debt by offering the potential for two free years of college.  On top of that, individuals are realizing that going to college is not always a great idea and does not necessarily guarantee a good paying job after you obtain a degree.

There are some important things to know in regard to student debt.  It is not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  So unlike a credit card debt or a loan that you may have incurred, you are stuck with a student loan debt forever.  I am sorry, I feel your pain.

Okay, so what is the worst that can happen if you cannot pay your student loans?  The company who loaned you the money sues you and gets a judgment against you and then your credit is shot and they are trying to garnish your wages or levy your bank account to get the money from you that you owe.  Well, if you are not paying them then you may not have anything for them to collect anyway, plus you can always petition the court to allow you to pay your debtor by installments.  That would all be terrible and no fun at all, but you could get through.

Attorneys feel the pinch even more than others on student loan repayment as the legislatures have decided to enact a specific statute to “encourage” us to pay what we own in student loans.  Tennessee Code Annotated section 23-3-111 states, “The supreme court is encouraged to establish guidelines to suspend, deny or revoke the license of an attorney who is delinquent or in default on a repayment or service obligation under a guaranteed student loan, or when an attorney has failed to enter into a payment plan or comply with a payment plan previously approved by a guarantee agency.”

So not only do the legislators want attorneys to pay their debts, if they do not pay their debts, they will take away an attorney’s very ability to make money and prevent them from doing the job that they got by incurring student loan debt in the first place.  Yikes!

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.