Security Clearance Denial

Failure to Pay Student Loans Leads to Clearance Denial

Financial considerations continue to be the top issue in the denial of eligibility for a security clearance. I have noticed a few recent appeals to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) where clearance applicants are using the President’s decision to hold student loan payments in abeyance as an excuse when submitting their appeals. Here are the highlights of two separate cases:

This DoD contractor has four student loans that have been delinquent since 2017. The DoD CAF issued the applicant a Statement of Reason (SOR) asking her to provide information as to why the loans became delinquent and what measures were or are being taken to address them. The applicant’s response to the SOR didn’t provide any information that mitigated the concerns and as a result, eligibility for a clearance was denied. In another similar case the applicant has four student loans delinquent since 2014, three of which she could not provide information on that mitigated the concern.

In both cases the applicants appealed to DOHA and cited the President’s COVID-19 emergency relief measure claiming they do not have to pay back the delinquent student loans at this time, therefore the concern is mitigated. The DOHA judges in each case pointed out that the loans were delinquent for several years prior to the relief measure and has no bearing on the fact they did not act responsibly in resolving legal just debts prior to the President’s issuance. One applicant also argued her career aspirations would be impacted if she was denied a clearance. That is not something taken into consideration when reviewing eligibility for access to classified information. In both cases the clearance denials were upheld.


  1. Which is stupid considering everything going on with student loans. This should not have been used against her.

  2. Note that the delinquency goes back to 2014 and 2017… that’s quite a while. Its a loan that they promised to pay back and apparently were not holding up their part of the agreement.

  3. Apparently you don’t know anything about a student loan. Things from that Era are why we are hear today. Something could have happen to make her late or not pay. Also student loan services don’t make it easy to pay such as if you lose your job and have no income you still have to find a way or you are placed in default and have wages garnished once you become employed. I should know it happen to me

  4. What debt stops coming due when you don’t have a job?

  5. How is student loan debt somehow different from a car loan or a credit card or any other kind of debt? You borrowed money and agreed to pay it back. There are various programs to offset or forgive student loan debt but you have to apply for them AND you need to stay current on the debt in the meantime.

    And while we’re on the subject, do you think the college is going to give back that money you borrowed if you default on the debt or have it ‘forgiven?’ Ha! No the bill will be passed to others… keep that in mind.

  6. You are misinformed there is no student loan forgiveness. Student loans are to be paid back regardless of circumstances. Also with mortgage and auto loans you can work with them on payment options not with student loan debt. You pay what they tell you and when they tell you and how they tell you. Student loans are the only loans no court order is needed and no bankruptcy can be filled. And once your late your in default until loans are paid off.

  7. Best way to not have to repay your loans is to not take any out in the first place.

    Works like magic!

  8. If you don’t have the funds or job doesn’t pay enough what are you going to do. You will get those loans to pay for school cause you want that high paying job or that clearance job that requires that expensive degree.

  9. Yes, being an adult is hard sometimes. It doesn’t get easier.

  10. There are definitely some cases out there where the schools and the loan managers have manipulated and defrauded the loan holders from the start. Navient just settled a case. Some of these school manipulated students who were not financially savvy into thinking that a $50,000 dollar student loan, to obtain an associates degree was worth the risk. Calculations on future earning and graduate employment were not truthful. Some of the stories I read reminded me of the check cashing industry, which also has a history of manipulating and distorting numbers to financially simplistic individuals who are looking for a way forward.