the Student Loan Debt Project
One Wisconsin Institute has undertaken a multi-year student loan debt campaign involving both state and national partners conducting cutting edge research, polling, communications and the development of policy alternatives as well as executing a massive public education campaign to both the media and the public about the full economic impact of the $1.3 trillion crisis affecting 43 million Americans, including nearly one million in Wisconsin.
Why this Issue Matters
For decades, conservatives have utilized the issues of race and LGBT rights to divide voters in the waning days of political campaigns. As younger generations grow as a percentage of the voting public, their evolved positions on these issues will denude the effectiveness of this divisive tactic. Unfortunately, saddling young people with multiple decades of record amounts of never before seen personal education debt will create fearful and pessimistic young voters without economic power. Fearful voters are more susceptible to the conservative economic message and inclined towards less investment in their communities, schools and neighborhoods.
Success on this Issue
To say the Institute’s campaign on student loan debt has started with a bang is an understatement to say the least. The results of a comprehensive report on student loan debt, homeownership and automobile purchasing were the lead story in the state’s largest newspaper and featured in media across the country. The Institute has generated print and television additional coverage of the crisis around the state and country, as we’ve presented findings to allied organizations, student groups, labor unions and business leaders.