January 11, 2016                                                                                                                                                                     

Statement from Senator Chris Larson on the College Cost Crisis


MADISON – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding the governor’s announcement on the college cost crisis in Wisconsin, which contributes to colossal debt incurred by students.

“As recent graduates struggle in the weak Walker economy, the governor is scrambling to appeal to those he has continued to fail. Crippling college loan debt is a huge problem in Wisconsin. Democrats in the Legislature have been on the forefront of this concern and have introduced proposals like the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill, which would allow graduates to refinance their loans like they would for a car or mortgage. Unfortunately, this bill is stalled in the Republican-led senate committee where it has yet to have executive action taken. Additionally, my Democratic colleagues and I have proposed a joint resolution – currently pending introduction – that calls on the state Legislature to move Wisconsin towards creating a totally debt-free college experience.

“In short, our future leaders need real relief, not more political grandstanding.

“Wisconsin’s bright and talented students are being priced out of a quality education. This has a negative impact on our state 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 students 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.

“This is why I introduced a joint resolution to study ways to offer debt-free college to Wisconsinites and why I have been working with several of my legislative colleagues to come up with real solutions to this problem. I am also a co-sponsor of the Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill and call on the governor and Republican legislative leaders to work with Democrats and move these proposals forward.   

“Wisconsin students and recent graduates are thirsty for student loan relief, sadly the governor’s plan is a political mirage in the barren Walker economy.”