April 3, 2010

Scott Walker on Higher Education: Not on Your Side

Unfortunately for many families, college tuition costs are getting out of hand, if not completely out of reach.

In his latest brown bag gimmick ad, an idea he recycled from a campaign in Ohio, Scott Walker references saving money to pay for his kids’€™ college education. Given the $50,000 raise he gave himself back in 2008, I would guess his savings is probably going pretty well.

Unfortunately for many other families, college tuition costs are getting out of hand, if not completely out of reach. And for those who go and utilize student loans, the debt they’€™re saddled with upon graduation is absolutely crushing, putting the purchase of a home, or a new car, out of reach for potentially decades.

But Scott Walker doesn’€™t care about that.

Walker has repeatedly proven he’€™s not on the side of middle class and poor families when it comes to higher education. He opposed the 2009-11 state budget which protected Wisconsin students and their families from tuition increases at UW institutions, and provided additional support for low income students at all Wisconsin colleges and universities.

He also opposed increasing funding for the technical college system, the front line for worker retraining efforts in our changing economy.

And, in the midst of his gubernatorial campaign, while he’€™s had time to send out press releases condemning the state for moving forward with the job creating and local-economy building passenger rail between Milwaukee and Madison, Walker has remained silent on the recently passed Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act that will save taxpayers $61 billion over 10 years, and makes college loans more affordable for students to pay off.

SAFRA will even lower the federal budget deficit by at least $10 billion over 10 years, something that should be a big deal to Scott Walker, who despite claims that he balances the Milwaukee County budget every year, has actually had two budget deficits.

And perhaps even more importantly, the new federal bill invests over $400 million in Pell Grants in Wisconsin over 10 years, and $8.1 million to bolster college access and completion support ‘€“ that’€™s $400 million invested in our kids, that means a well-educated work force attractive to new businesses thinking about moving to our state.

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