Peter Barca
Press Release

Democrats Vote for Student Debt Relief While Republicans Waste Millions to Create New Problems in Safety Net

Assembly Democrats voted in favor of the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill, which will provide significant assistance to the more than one million Wisconsin residents burdened with student loan debt.

By - Nov 3rd, 2015 05:04 pm

MADISON – Today Assembly Democrats voted in favor of the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill, which will provide significant assistance to the more than one million Wisconsin residents burdened with student loan debt. The legislation – authored by Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) – would allow student loan debt to be refinanced similar to a car loan or mortgage, saving borrowers millions of dollars per year.

Republicans voted to reject this common-sense bill, instead focusing their agenda for the day on legislation that will waste millions of taxpayer dollars to create more problems in our social safety net programs.

“Rather than continuing to ram through their extreme right-wing agenda, Republicans should be joining us in tackling the crippling problem of student loan debt. After all, Wisconsin is third-worst in the nation in the percentage of graduates with student loan debt,” Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said. “The ‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ bill will save students, families and taxpayers millions of dollars while boosting our economy. Democrats are focused on real relief for student loan borrowers and allowing Wisconsin families more opportunities to own a car, buy a house and start a family.”

At least 815,000 Wisconsinites are carrying federal student loan debt, with an average of nearly $29,000 owed. Seventy percent of Wisconsin’s graduates have student loan debt. Under the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” legislation, the typical Wisconsin student loan borrower would receive $179 in annual tax savings, and some would receive as much as $531 in annual savings.

“With student loan debt weighing down our economy and preventing people who have worked hard and played by the rules from achieving the American Dream, it is more important than ever that we work together to resolve this growing crisis in Wisconsin,” Rep. Barca said. “For too long, Republicans have sided with big Wall Street banks who profit by preying on Wisconsin students and families by charging unreasonable interest rates. Democrats are ready to get to work on restoring economic opportunity for hardworking Wisconsin families and making life easier for the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites being crushed by student debt.”

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