Student Loan Debt Graduation Cap and Money
I Am A Student Loan Voter

I Am A Student Loan Voter

Make a Pledge to Be a Student Loan Voter



Student loan borrowers have done the right thing — working hard to get their education or job training and taking on the personal responsibility of paying for it. But $1.3 trillion in student loan debt is standing between them and a fair shot at the middle class. We need to get serious about real, common sense reforms to treat these hard working borrowers fairly before the crisis becomes a full-blown economic catastrophe.

Make a Pledge to Be a ‘Student Loan Voter’

Research has shown that student loan debt hurts all of us by slowing our economy.

Families can’t buy new cars or homes or save for their children’s education. Workers can’t save for their retirement. Entrepreneurs aren’t able to start the small businesses that are the bedrock of new job creation.

The unfortunate reality of the student loan debt crisis is that borrowers who took on the personal responsibility to pay for it are not being treated fairly by the system. Millions of Americans are being denied the fair shot at the middle class that they earned with their hard work in getting an education.

Common sense reforms like allowing borrowers to refinance their student loans, just like you can with a home or auto loan have been introduced both here in Wisconsin and in Washington D.C. And more and more policymakers are getting on board with the need to reform the system to make sure education remains a path to the middle class.

We need to change the system and it’s clear that means changing the minds of policymakers.

Student Loan Debt Stories

Melissa & Maurice

Melissa & Maurice’s Story

Melissa & Maurice did the right thing: they got good grades in high school, then went on to college and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it. Now they feel like nothing they can do will allow them to escape their crushing student loan debt.


Crystal’s Story

Crystal worked her way through college. Now in her thirties, she is a UW Law School graduate, a member of the armed forces, a mother, and a cancer survivor. She says beating cancer was difficult, but not as difficult as paying off her student loans.


Jessica’s Story

Jessica is a single mother who decided to go back to school to get a degree in a field that would offer better pay. Though she's working her way through college, her student loan debt is accumulating and she can't work enough hours to pay the bills.


Caroline’s Story

Caroline is from a working class family. She worked her way through college but was still stuck with $65,000 in student loan debt. Like many Americans, she's career-driven, wants to own a home and have a family, but her student loans are holding her back.


Boyd’s Story

Boyd didn't have student loan debt as an undergraduate because tuition was lower and he worked while in college. But to move up the ladder, he went back to school and took out loans to pay for it. Then tragedy struck, and Boyd was left with skyrocketing payments.

Jesse & Stephanie

Jesse & Stephanie’s Story

Jesse & Stephanie amassed $120,000 in student loan debt after returning to college to get professional degrees. Despite working throughout college, these financially responsible newlyweds have been forced to delay their future.


Kira’s Story

Kira decided to stay in Madison, Wisconsin after graduating with close to $60,000 in student loan debt. She has dreams of being a foster parent and serving the community with public service, but that debt may hold her back.


Saul’s Story

Saul had a great start at the University of Wisconsin, but when his tuition jumped and he couldn't afford it he dropped out and joined the U.S. Army. While serving our country in Afghanistan, he had to make sure that his student loans were paid.


Miles’s Story

Miles attended one of the poorest high schools in Milwaukee before getting accepted to one of the greatest universities in the world, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Now, he has another obstacle to overcome: massive student loan debt.

Student Loan Debt Research

  • university of wisconsin bascom hall

    Declining financial support for higher education has shifted costs onto consumers, increased student loan debt and decreased the affordability of higher ed.

    One Wisconsin Institute
  • Report

    Our research shows how the vicious cycle of student loan debt is a danger to the finances of students & their families and to our national economy.

    One Wisconsin Institute
  • Student Loan Debt Graduation Cap and Money

    Our research confirms the detrimental economic impact of student loan debt, finding it negatively affects new car purchasing and home ownership.

    One Wisconsin Institute

Additional Resources