Assembly Republicans Pay Lip Service but Little
Else to Solving Student Debt Crisis
Republicans pass shamefully weak higher education package, while refusing Democrats’ amendments to increase the impact and help more student borrowers
February 17, 2016
MADISON – Today, as the legislative session comes to a close, Republicans in the State Assembly rushed through their so-called higher education legislative package. Unfortunately, the Republican bills are too little, too late. With legislative Republicans and Governor Walker cutting higher education funding by nearly $1 billion dollars since taking office, Wisconsin has gone from having the 10th highest percentage of college graduates with student loan debt in the nation, to the 3rd highest.
“Republicans are patting themselves on the back for passing legislation that provides no substantial relief for most Wisconsinites with student loan debt and barely scratches the surface for others,” said Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison). “Democrats have offered real relief for student borrowers with our Higher Ed Lower Debt bill, but Republicans opt instead for election year smoke and mirrors, refusing to even consider a real solution.”
Wisconsin has one million student loan borrowers, with debt totaling roughly $19 billion. The bills passed by Republicans will do nothing to reduce the monthly payments of the estimated 1 million Wisconsinites burdened by student loan debt. Democrats again offered a plan that would allow Wisconsinites to refinance student loan debt at lower interest rates and decrease their monthly payments, and Republicans again refused to even consider the measure.
“After years of cuts to higher education funding and complete inaction on the student loan debt crisis, Republicans now want to talk about student loan debt during this election year,” said Rep. Subeck. “But all of their talk falls miserably short, as Republicans still refuse to walk the walk by providing real relief for hardworking Wisconsinites faced with crushing student loan debt.”