December 15, 2015                                                                                                                                                               

Statement from Senator Chris Larson on Proposed Resolution on Debt-Free College

MADISON – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding today’s circulation of LRB 4104, a resolution to address college accessibility and affordability.

“As the cost of higher education continues to be a significant burden on students and parents, my Democratic colleagues and I are continuously attempting to find alternative avenues to ease that burden. This resolution circulated for co-sponsorship today would move us toward that goal by creating a commission to study the options to offer a totally debt-free college experience.

“Bright and talented students are being priced out of a quality education, which has a significant negative impact on our state both culturally and economically. A recent study conducted by the Institute for College Access and Success found that Wisconsin ranked third highest nationwide in student debt, with over 70% of our residents owing an average of almost $29,000 in student loan debt. This debt is held for an average of 19 years and decreases the potential economic impact new graduates have in Wisconsin.

“Further, as brain drain continues to be a problem for Wisconsin, the need for a well-educated workforce is increasing. We must focus on ensuring that the next generation wants to stay in our state and is trained to compete in the new Wisconsin economy. This legislation aims to increase accessibility and affordability for higher learning, which will give thousands of students a new reason to remain and work in Wisconsin.

“Rewarding students that show exceptional promise through academic and life achievement is the best way to promote higher education. This resolution is an easy first step in making debt-free college a reality.”