State Sen. Jennifer Shilling
Press Release

Democrats drive effort on student loan debt relief

Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill will help lower interest rates and provide tax relief for 815,000 Wisconsin student loan borrowers

By - Oct 7th, 2015 01:42 pm

MADISON – A key student loan debt relief proposal introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) received a public hearing in the State Capitol today. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill (SB 194) would allow individuals to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates similar to options currently available for auto loans and home mortgages. Additionally, the bill will increase financial literacy by providing students and parents with additional information about student loans.

“Our economy is struggling and families in Wisconsin can’t afford the rapid growth of student loan debt,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “With 815,000 residents in Wisconsin owing over $19 billion in student loan debt, we need to find immediate solutions to this growing crisis. As a co-sponsor of the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill, I’m hopeful that we can work together and find bipartisan support to strengthen economic opportunities and ease the burden on hardworking Wisconsin families.”

Over the years, increases in tuition and fees coupled with deep cuts in state funding for UW campuses have made it nearly impossible for students to work their way through school. High student loan interest rates and unmet financial assistance have also contributed to this growing problem in Wisconsin. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill is one of the top priorities for Senate Democrats and was featured in the recently released Badger Blueprint fall agenda.

“Simply allowing individuals to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates would save some families thousands of dollars a year,” added Sen. Shilling. “This is a commonsense measure that will boost our economy and make it a little easier for families to work their way into the middle class. The Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill is a top priority for Democrats and I want to make sure we pass this bill and get it to the Governor’s desk before time runs out this fall.”

Earlier this session, Democrats launched the www.wistudentloanrelief.com website to draw attention to Wisconsin’s growing student loan debt crisis. Residents can visit this site to learn more about the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Bill, share their personal experiences with student loan debt and sign a petition supporting student loan debt relief.

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