MILWAUKEE — The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) convened a field hearing in Milwaukee today to hear from the public about their experiences with student loan debt and the servicing of their loans. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross was among those invited to attend and provide testimony.
“Borrowers have done the right thing by working hard for an education and taking on the personal responsibility to pay for it,” commented Ross. “We appreciate the CFPB coming to Milwaukee to hear from just some of the nearly one million student loan borrowers in Wisconsin who’ve earned a fair shot at the middle class and the right to be treated fairly as consumers.”
The CFPB was created in 2010 in the aftermath of the Wall Street financial crisis. Their mission is to help consumers by supervising companies offering financial products and services and ensuring laws and rules are adequate to prevent abuses. Additionally CFPB conducts research, collects consumer complaints and enforces laws preventing unfair treatment of consumers.
Ross noted that a report released earlier this week by One Wisconsin Institute in partnership with the national think tank Demos found declining financial support for higher education by the state of Wisconsin has shifted costs onto consumers, increased student loan debt and decreased the affordability of higher education. The confluence of these factors is endangering the quality of state institutions of higher learning, threatening the state’s economic competitiveness and the future of its young people.
Earlier original research by One Wisconsin Institute found that rising levels of student debt had significant, negative impacts on the state economy. The average length of debt for undergraduate degrees was nearly 20 years and borrowers were significantly more likely to rent versus own their home and drive a used versus new vehicle.
Ross concluded, “Student loan debt is hurting borrowers and our state economy. The system is broken and it demands our attention and concrete action for reform.”