“We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt. It’s just not right that Donald Trump can ignore his debts and students and families cant refinance their debts.” — Hillary Clinton, during her acceptance speech as Democratic nominee for president.
MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used her historic address this evening to outline her solutions to the $1.4 trillion student loan debt crisis facing 43 million people. Clinton also reiterated her call for debt-free college to ensure higher education is no longer a multi-decade debt sentence.
“For tens of millions of student loan borrowers across the nation, Hillary Clinton is ready with common sense solutions,” said Analiese Eicher, One Wisconsin Now Program Director. “We agree with HIllary Clinton: You should be able to refinance your student loan, just like you can a mortgage.”
Clinton’s plan includes not only student loan reforms, but also a plan for debt free college. Eicher said this was in direct contrast with the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, who not only wants to leave borrowers further at the mercy of private banks, but also operated the sham “Trump University,” which bilked vulnerable students and is currently the subject of two class action lawsuits.
“While Hillary Clinton wants to help students, Donald Trump helped himself to their wallets,” said Eicher.
Eicher, who received a national award in 2015 for her tireless work in building the student loan issue into a national movement, said Republicans like Trump were ignoring the student loan crisis at their political peril, a claim buoyed by research conducted by One Wisconsin Institute. That first-of-its-kind research showed that Wisconsinites burdened by student loan debt were twice as likely to rent or live with their parents than those without student loans and twice as likely to be unable to purchase a new car. Estimated loss of new car purchasing power directly attributable to student loan debt was $200 million annually in Wisconsin and $6.4 billion nationwide, according to One Wisconsin Institute’s science from a survey of 61,000 Americans with and without student loan debt.
“Student loan debt is a multi-generational crisis, affecting middle class and lower income Americans of all ages, backgrounds, genders and ethnicities,” said Eicher. “Student loan debt doesn’t discriminate — it affects every community in the country.”
The 43 million Americans with student loan debt are among the most powerful potential voting constituencies in the United States, along with the 55 million who receive Social Security and 47 million who receive Medicare. In 2014, 155,000 Americans had their Social Security payments garnished because of student loan debt.
“The nation’s student loan borrowers aren’t asking for a handout or a bailout,” said Eicher. “Student loan borrowers just want to be treated fairly in a system that doesn’t do so. And only Hillary Clinton is offering anything to Wisconsin’s nearly one million student loan borrowers.”