MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now and its partner organization, One Wisconsin Institute conducted groundbreaking national research showing the devastating impact of the trillion dollar plus student loan debt crisis on the ability of borrowers to purchase a new home. The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, noting that President Obama’s push for reforms to boost the housing market could be helped by enacting common sense reforms to ease the burden of the student loan debt faced by over 37 million Americans:
“The trillion dollar plus student loan debt crisis is a clear and present danger to the housing market, and our entire economy.
“Our original research shows that student loan debt is multi-decade burden on household budgets across the nation. And that translates into a 36% lower rate of home ownership for borrowers versus non-borrowers or those who’ve already paid off their loans.
“Borrowers have done the right thing, they’ve worked hard to get a higher education or job training, and taken on the personal responsibility to pay for it. They ought to be rewarded with a fair shot at the middle class, not given a multi-decade debt sentence.
“The good news is that there are simple, commons sense solutions we can take today to help them take another step toward achieving their piece of the American Dream and buy their own homes.
“You ought to be able to refinance your student loan, just like you can with a mortgage. Borrowers ought to be able to deduct all the interest they pay on their student loans from their taxes, like you can with interest on mortgages. And to help students now and in the future, tuition increases ought to be limited to the rate of inflation.
“As President Obama and Congress consider ways to strengthen the housing market, helping borrowers ensnared in the trillion-dollar student loan debt crisis must be part of the discussion.”