MADISON, Wis. — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan today unveiled a plan he entitled “A Better Way” to address a number of policy issues, including college affordability. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross said it was appalling Ryan would call his plan a better way while refusing to help any of the 43 million Americans with over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt by including a proposal that would allow for the refinancing of those loans.
“Allowing people to refinance a student loan just like you can a mortgage is more than just common sense, it’s real policy solution to a growing economic crisis in Wisconsin and across the nation,” said Ross. “How can you call refusing to help millions of Americans with student loan debt a better way?”
According to statistics from the federal government, allowing borrowers to refinance their federal student loans would provide relief to over 500,000 of the roughly 800,000 borrowers with debt in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. Nationally over 25 million student loan debt borrowers would benefit from being able to refinance a federal student loan, just like you can with a mortgage.
The economic costs of student loan debt are staggering. Studies have found student loan debt keeps entrepreneurs from starting new businesses, results in lower rates of homeownership and new car purchasing and restricts the ability of borrowers to save for things like their retirement or a child’s education.
Original research by One Wisconsin Institute found that in Wisconsin over $200 million in new car purchasing is lost because of student loan debt and borrowers are much more likely to rent versus own their own home.
Ross noted that despite the common sense of allowing student loans to be refinanced and the windfall of economic benefits that could be reaped, Ryan and his fellow Republicans in Washington D.C. have consistently voted against bills to do just that.
He concluded, “The student loan borrowers in this country have worked hard for their education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. That the federal government makes massive profits off the interest on student loans is obscene and it is appalling that anyone touting a proposal as helping on college affordability would deny any help to millions of student loan borrowers by allowing them to refinance.”