MADISON, Wis. — The campaign against the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis and the effort to raise awareness about the devastating effects of it on students, workers and the economy has gained a prominent new advocate. Following a unanimously approved resolution sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO brings its 12 million members across the nation to fight back against the crippling effects of student loan debt.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President of the One Wisconsin Now Board of Directors commented, “Student loan debt is a direct threat to the American middle class. No one should be denied access to higher education and no one should endure a lifetime of student loan debt simply to get the education and tools to succeed in the economy.”
During its most recent national convention, the AFL-CIO pledged to support federal legislation and policies to help reduce student loan debt, demand that private student loan lenders increase flexibility in repayment options for borrowers of private student loans and include loan forgiveness and income-based repayment options, among many other resolutions that would aim to ease the burdens brought on by student loan debt.
Original research conducted by the One Wisconsin Institute found that student loan debt’s impact is not confined to students and their families, but is a significant drag on the entire state economy. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree report making average monthly payments of $350 for an average term of 18.7 years. The economy-wide detrimental impacts of this debt include over $200 million in lost new auto sales every year and significantly lower rates of home purchasing and ownership among graduates earning solid middle class incomes but are saddled with student loan debt.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross concluded, “The support from the AFL-CIO is a huge boost in the campaign to raise awareness and implement solutions to the clear and present danger that the trillion dollar student loan debt crisis is to our economy.”