MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker delivered his 2017 state of the state speech today and among the topics he touched on was student loan debt. But instead of previewing a new policy solution to the crisis, Walker repeated stale talking points and essentially told borrowers to “call a bank.”
On Gov. Scott Walker’s watch, Wisconsin is in the top five in the nation for the percentage of graduates with student loan debt. According to statistics from the federal government, there are nearly one million Wisconsin borrowers with over $19 billion in federal student loan debt alone.
According to research, the student loan debt burden is harming borrowers economic prospects and hindering the state economy, reducing new car purchasing, rates of homeownership and entrepreneurism.
Common sense legislation has been introduced at the state and federal level for several years to help borrowers refinance their student loans, but Gov. Walker has joined with legislative Republicans in Wisconsin and in Washington D.C. in blocking action on the measures.
The following are the comments of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross:
“Add no help for student loan borrowers to the growing list of failures of Gov. Walker and his administration.
“Wisconsin ranks in the top five in the nation for percentage of college graduates with student loan debt and the best Gov. Walker can muster is telling borrowers to call a bank.
“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature cut funding for higher education by record amounts, cut financial aid for eligible students and hiked tuition by double digits. That’s how, on his watch, more and more Wisconsinites are finding themselves with more and more student loan debt.
“Adding insult to injury, he’s spent four years opposing a common sense plan that would actually help borrowers refinance their student loans, at no net cost to taxpayers.
“Borrowers have done the right thing, they worked hard to get an education and they took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. They’re not being treated fairly by the system and they’re not being dealt with honestly by Gov. Walker.