MADISON, Wis. — With one week left before the November 8 election One Wisconsin Institute has released two new videos of Wisconsin student loan borrowers telling their stories as part of their “I Am A Student Loan Voter” campaign. Short videos from borrowers Caroline and Melissa and Maurice highlight the impact of the student loan debt crisis on Wisconsinites and why borrowers must participate in elections to make policymakers pay attention to the need for reforms.
“Caroline, Melissa and Maurice are emblematic of what is going on in Wisconsin and across the nation,” commented One Wisconsin Institute Program Director Analiese Eicher. “They took on the personal responsibility to pay for their education but the system is not treating them fairly. Instead of reaping the rewards of their hard work, they’re working harder than ever just to pay off their student loans.”
In her video, Caroline shares her story about how coming from a working class family she financed her own college education. She worked her entire time while attending Madison College technical school for two years and also after transferring to the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Having graduated, Caroline feels as though her student loan debt, at $65,000, not only impacts her day to day life, but is also preventing her from helping her family as her father battles cancer and stands in the way of her saving to purchase a home of her own.
Melissa and Maurice are both college graduates and have a young daughter. Despite help from family, scholarships, grants and holding down jobs while going to school they have large student loan debt. Melissa, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, noted her monthly student loan payments are equally divided between paying the interest on her loan and paying down the principal. Maurice noted how their student loan payments are preventing them from saving for the future.
One Wisconsin Institute’s student loan voter campaign is dedicated to raising awareness about the student loan debt crisis that impacts over 43 million Americans with a collective debt in excess of $1.3 trillion and engaging voters in calls for reform and common sense solutions like allowing borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage. Refinancing bills have been introduced at both the state and federal level, but have been blocked by Republican legislative majorities.
Eicher concluded, “It’s stories like Caroline’s, Melissa and Maurice’s and the nearly one million student loan borrowers across Wisconsin that make the case for reform.”
To see Caroline’s and Melissa and Maurice’s stories and to get more information and get involved as a student loan voter, visit StudentLoanVoter.org.