Student loans have been easy to come by. We’ve all heard of the large number of people who are falling behind in their payments. We’ve also heard of efforts to crack down on the delinquent loans.

The New York Times made a study of the student loan problems. It revealed that in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work.

“Firefighters, nurses, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, barbers, psychologists and real estate brokers have all had their credentials suspended or revoked,” The Times revealed.

The total number of people who have lost their licenses is impossible to determine because many state agencies and licensing boards don’t track the information. However, The Times identified at lease 8,700 cases in which licenses were taken away or put at risk of suspension in recent years, although that tally almost certainly underestimates the true number.

It has been too easy to obtain a loan for education, and the education costs are out of line also. Colleges and universities have gone overboard in providing facilities for students. Many students live much better at college than they ever did at home. But the institutions of higher learning have had tough competition in landing students so they have made their campuses as attractive as possible to get students to enroll. That has driven up the costs of an education at many of the institutions.

Tougher actions were bound to come in time because of the number of loans that were in default. But if you take away their licenses to work, how are they ever going to make good on their loans?