Rep. Cory Mason and Sen. Dave Hansen Call on GOP Presidential Hopefuls to Address Student Loan Debt Crisis

MADISON –Wisconsin will step into the spotlight on prime-time television as Republican presidential hopefuls take the stage in Milwaukee for tonight’s presidential primary debate. As viewers look for a substantive debate on the issues, Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) call upon the primary candidates to state their positions on the $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis facing 43 million Americans.

“One week ago, Wisconsin Republicans chose rewriting campaign finance laws to their own benefit over relieving student loan debt for both current and future students,” Representative Mason said on Tuesday. “I hope the candidates in tonight’s debate do not follow the lead of Assembly Republicans and state their positions on the crisis of student loan debt.”

 


To date, only one candidate in the Republican field has made student loan debt a part of their presidential platform. Meanwhile, as their campaigns stop in Milwaukee today, more than 815,000 residents in our state hold federal student loan debt and thousands more also hold private student loan debt.

“Wisconsin borrowers see student loan debt as an important pocket-book issue,” said Senator Hansen. “Our state is third highest in the nation for percentage of 2014 graduates with student debt. I can’t think of a more fitting location for the candidates to address this issue.”

College tuition costs have doubled over the last 12 years and Wisconsin’s student loan borrowers have an average debt of $28,128. Studies show the financial constraints student loan borrowers face make them more likely to delay major life milestones like buying a home, purchasing a new car, or getting married.

“When borrowers are paying an average of $388 per month on their student loans for an average of almost 19 years, it seems painfully clear to me there is a crisis that needs to be addressed,” said Representative Mason. “The candidates on tonight’s debate stage should let Wisconsinites know what they would do to make higher education affordable again and give borrowers a fair shot to achieve the promised American Dream.”

 

“More than one third of student loan debt is held by people over the age of 40,” said Hansen.  “These loans follow students and their families for life thanks to the increasing reliance on student loans to pay for college and the high interest rates attached to them.  It hurts their ability to pursue their dreams and it creates a drag on our economy.  We cannot afford to let this continue.”