MADISON, Wis. — Republicans in the U.S. Senate today voted en masse to deny the 60 votes necessary to move to a vote on legislation that would repeal the doubling of interest rates on federal student loans from 3.4% to 6.8% for the upcoming academic year. It is estimated that the rate hike will impact an estimated 160,000 Wisconsin students, and 7 million students nationwide. The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross regarding the vote:
“The vote by Republicans in the U.S. Senate, including Ron Johnson, to let stand the hike on interest rates on federal student loans is an appalling affront to millions of hard working American students and their families trying to get ahead by getting an education.
“The system is broken. We need to restore fairness so that higher education, technical college and job training is a path to the middle class for students and their families, not a multi-decade debt sentence.
“Our research vividly demonstrates the clear and present danger that the trillion dollar student loan debt crisis is not only to the ability of students and their families to join the middle class but to our entire economy.
“Students are doing the right thing, getting a higher education so they have the skills to get ahead and taking responsibility for paying for their schooling.
“But the current system is squeezing students and the middle class as tuition skyrockets and big banks and the federal government make billions in profits from the interest on loans.
“Shame on the politicians standing in the way of fixing this broken system.”
One Wisconsin Institute conducted a survey completed by over 61,000 individuals nationwide of their personal finances including their income and levels of educational attainment, if they had or were paying off a student loan and economic behavior like home and auto purchases. The report detailing the dramatic economic impact of student loan debt is available here.