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Sen. Howard Marklein Introduces College Affordability Legislative Package

Bills designed to help borrowers make better decisions and manage student loan debt.

MADISON— State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) recently introduced the College Affordability Legislative Package to address student loan debt and increase the success of college students.  Working with Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) and other legislators, the package is designed to help potential borrowers to make better decisions and manage student loan debt.

“The best way to reduce student loan interest is to reduce student loans; and the best way to reduce student loans is to avoid borrowing more than necessary to finance education,” Marklein said. “Too many college students take on too much debt without fully understanding how much they will be obligated to pay and whether or not their future occupation will support their debt after graduation.”

These bills will benefit current students and graduates. The package provides students with: additional information about their student loans so they can make smart financial decisions; emergency assistance so they can stay in school; tax breaks when paying back their student loans; and internship opportunities to connect students with Wisconsin employers to help students get better jobs and reduce the brain-drain.

“UW Platteville, the UW Colleges and technical colleges in the 17th Senate District have incredibly strong returns on investment and do a great job of making college affordable,” Marklein said. “However, we still hear that students throughout Wisconsin are drowning in debt and we have been challenged to solve the problem. Rather than focusing on the symptoms of debt, we need to find ways to prevent the causes. 

Sen. Marklein and Rep. Murphy are proud to lead a team of 11 other Republican legislators who co-authored the following bills: 

1)      Establish a Micro-grant program at 2-year UW colleges and Technical Colleges (Reps. Murphy, Heaton, Novak and Senator Marklein): Provides $450,000 in grants to assist students who are working hard to complete their degree, but experience a financial emergency that could cause them to drop out of school.

2)      Financial Literacy information for students (Reps. Murphy, Krug, and VanderMeer and Senator Marklein): Requires all higher education institutions to send students a letter with information about their loans and provide financial literacy information in their first semester so they can make better decisions about their financial future.

3)      Fund Internship Coordinators at the Department of Workforce Development (Reps. Murphy, Bernier, Kitchens, and Senator Marklein and Senator Gudex): Provides $200,000 of existing Fast Forward money to create two internship coordinator positions at DWD to connect employers with Wisconsin universities and create internship opportunities.

4)      Fund Internship Coordinators for the University of Wisconsin (Reps. Murphy, Petryk, Tranel, and Senator Marklein): Provides $500,000 for the UW to create internship coordinators to connect employers with UW institutions and create internship opportunities.

5)      Eliminate the cap on the tax deduction for student loan interest (Reps. Macco, Murphy, and Senator Marklein): Save student loan debt payers about $5.2 million annually statewide by allowing students to deduct all interest paid on student loans.

6)      Increase Wisconsin Grants for Technical College Students (Rep. Heaton and Senator Harsdorf): This bill will benefit over 1,000 technical college students by increasing the needs-based Wisconsin Grants by $1 million in the biennium or $500,000 annually.

Sen. Marklein anticipates there to be public hearings on the bills in the near future.