university of wisconsin bascom hall
Press Release
February 7, 2017
Media Contact
Mike Browne, Deputy Director
(608) 444-3483
One Wisconsin Now

Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act Introduced, Common Sense Reform to Help Student Loan Borrowers

State-Based Plan Would Help Borrowers Refinance Loans, Just Like You Can With a Mortgage

MADISON, Wis. — With student loan debt rising to record levels and Wisconsin ranking in the top five states in the nation for percentage of graduates with debt, it’s time for real solutions to help borrowers said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. A state based plan reintroduced today by Democrats in the State Legislature that would help borrowers refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage, would be a great step forward, according to Ross.

“Nearly one million borrowers all across Wisconsin have done the right thing, working hard to get an education and taking on the personal responsibility to pay for it,” commented Ross. “But billions of dollars in student loan debt is preventing too many of these Wisconsinites from reaping the rewards of their efforts. Now is the time for real reform to fix a broken system and deliver real help to those that have earned it.”

Legislation unveiled today by Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Cory Mason – the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act – would create a state authority to help borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interests rates, extend an existing state tax deduction to include student loan payments and provide additional information and loan counseling to borrowers.

Hansen and Mason have introduced similar versions of the bill in the 2013 and 2015 sessions. Despite the strong, bipartisan support by the public, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have blocked the measure.

Meanwhile, since 2011, under the policies of Gov. Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature, funding for higher education has been cut by record amounts, financial aid has been dramatically underfunded leaving tens of thousands of eligible students without help and tuition for University of Wisconsin students has been increased by double digits.

The result, unsurprisingly, has been a growing crisis of student loan debt. Wisconsin is in the top five states in the nation for the percentage of graduates with student loan debt. The state also ranks sixteenth for the amount of debt carried by graduates, with the average University of Wisconsin student matriculating with an average debt of nearly $30,000.

Steadfastly refusing to take any substantive actions to help Wisconsinites no longer in school and ease their student loan debt burden, Gov. Scott Walker has instead advised these borrowers to literally, “call a bank” and commissioned a state website to list bank phone numbers. At the federal level, the Republican-controlled Congress has blocked efforts to allow borrowers to refinance and now appear poised to loosen consumer protections and cut back funding for need-based financial aid.

# # #

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

dollar symbol
Press Release

Scott Walker's 2018 Election Bid Kicks Off With Bradley Foundation Once Again Writing Checks to Support His Ambitions.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/20/2017
wisconsin capitol protest
Press Release

The legislation as introduced would create broad new definitions of what constitutes a “riot” and threaten peaceful protesters with criminal penalties...
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Institute
10/19/2017
american flag hanging outside brick building
Press Release

The head of the Wisconsin Election Commission agreed that the state’s strict voter ID law targeted specific communities.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/19/2017
Press Release

A sleazy last-minute budget deal between Gov. Scott Walker and three GOP state senators has raised legal questions and drawn a request for investigation.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/18/2017
scott walker in front of stars and stripes and money
Press Release

Gov. Scott Walker first said he'd, “leave it up to them” whether to join peaceful protests of National Anthem, but yesterday reversed field.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/17/2017
wisconsin attorney general brad schimel
Press Release

A dangerous repeat drunken driver was still on the road at least in part because of the turnaround time at the state crime lab.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/16/2017
paul ryan
Press Release

Paul Ryan today is genuflecting before the state’s big business lobby about the Trump-Ryan plan to hand out tax breaks to the super rich.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/16/2017
scot ross roast toast
Press Release

There’s no better way to celebrate Scot Ross than to invite his friends to share out loud what we’ve been muttering under our breaths for a decade.
One Wisconsin Logo
One Wisconsin Now
10/13/2017