Gov. Walker on Student Loan Debt Crisis: ‘Tweeting Instead of Leading’

Still No Help for Wisconsin Graduates As Walker Holds Out On Endorsing Common Sense Reform to Allow Loan Re-Fi

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker has taken to social media to share his thoughts on how to address the student loan debt crisis. Unfortunately for residents of the state with the 3rd highest percentage of college graduates with debt in the nation, Walker continues to reject the common sense reforms of the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act to help borrowers to refinance student loans at lower interest rates.

“Wisconsin graduates who worked hard to get their education and job training and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it aren’t being treated fairly by the system right now. That needs to change,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Allowing borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage is a common sense way to help, but Gov. Walker is tweeting instead of leading.”

A comprehensive 50 state study on student loan debt for 2014 released by The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) finds seventy percent of Wisconsin’s graduates have student loan debt, the third highest percentage in the nation, and the average debt load of over $28,800 ranks Wisconsin seventeenth nationally. The study also found over the last decade Wisconsin graduates were saddled with a seventy four percent increase in the amount of debt upon graduation and that ten percent more graduates were leaving school with student debt.

“There are only two things Gov. Walker can do to reduce existing debt on student loan borrowers: forgive the debt, or allow students to refinance their loans at lower rates under the ‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt, bill,” said Ross. “The first would cost $19 billion, the other, costs nothing.”

Ross noted that the policies pursued by Walker and legislative Republicans – slashing state support for higher education, hiking tuition by double digits and failing to provide enough funding for financial aid for eligible students – have predictably resulted in students and their families finding themselves deeper in debt to pay for their higher education.

Meanwhile legislation that could help, allowing increasingly burdened college grads to refinance student loans, just like you can with a mortgage, and extending a state tax deduction to payments on student loans is currently being stalled by the GOP controlled legislature. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act, has the support of 50 members of the state legislature but is being held in committees instead of being allowed to be considered by the full Senate and Assembly.

“Neither Gov. Walker’s tweets nor his policies are helping to solve the student loan debt crisis for borrowers in Wisconsin. It’s going to take common sense reform, like allowing borrowers to refinance their loans just like you can a mortgage, to start us on the way to providing real relief,” concluded Ross.Welcome to EditPad.org – your online plain text editor. Enter or paste your text here. To download and save it, click on the button below.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.