MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now’s campaign against the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis and raising awareness about the devastating effects of it on Wisconsin’s students, workers and economy has received a big endorsement. At their 70th annual convention, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 40 adopted a resolution supporting One Wisconsin Now’s campaign.
Rick Badger, AFSCME Council 40 Executive Director, commented, “One trillion dollars in student loan debt isn’t just a crisis for students. It directly impacts AFSCME members who themselves attended or graduated from an institution of higher learning, who are parents of current students and who are members of an economy whose recovery is being stalled by crushing levels of student loan debt.”
In their resolution, AFSCME Council 40 recognized the negative impact dramatically rising levels of student loan debt are having on their members, declared the issue will be a priority in their advocacy efforts on behalf of their members at the state and local level and pledged to support other organizations engaged in the fight to combat the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis.
Original research conducted by the One Wisconsin Institute found that student loan debt’s impact is not confined to students and their families, but is a significant drag on the entire state economy. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree report making average monthly payments of $350 for an average term of 18.7 years. The economy-wide detrimental impacts of this debt include over $200 million in lost new auto sales every year and significantly lower rates of home purchasing and ownership among graduates earning solid middle class incomes but are saddled with student loan debt.
Diane Cox, Chair of Council 40’s Next Wave Committee, noted, “AFSCME has always fought for economic justice for its members and for the middle class and working families. The student loan debt crisis threatens to turn higher education from a path to the middle class into a detour to a lifetime of debt. That’s not right and that’s why we’ve taken action to join with the One Wisconsin Institute and other partners willing to fight to right this wrong.”
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross concluded, “The support of AFSCME Council 40 is a huge boost in our effort to raise awareness and demand solutions to the clear and present danger that the trillion dollar student loan debt crisis is to our economy.”