MADISON, Wis. — The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross regarding President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Higher education and job training have been the pathway to a better life for generations of Americans. But skyrocketing tuition, underfunded financial aid for eligible students and profiteering by big banks has increasingly squeezed students and their families, leaving over 40 million Americans facing a $1.2 trillion student loan debt crisis.
“Tonight, President Obama repeated his call for support of a new bold proposal — two years of free community college to help make sure higher education and job training is an affordable option for every American and that their hard work will earn them a fair shot at the middle class.
“President Obama’s vision for an educated, well-trained, debt free workforce stands in marked contrast to what we’ve gotten in Wisconsin from Gov. Scott Walker.
“Instead of increasing financial aid for eligible students, Gov. Walker cut financial aid by over $30 million. His policies left 41,000 eligible students with no help in affording the education they need to pursue their dreams. And instead of supporting common sense reform like allowing you to refinance your student loan like you can a mortgage, Scott Walker hiked University of Wisconsin tuition by hundreds of millions of dollars and slashed technical college funding by record amounts.
“We applaud President Obama’s efforts to increase affordability of education and decrease student loan debt. We call on our representatives in Wisconsin and Washington D.C. to support needed reforms to help keep education as a pathway to success for every American.”