Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason Call for Committee Vote on Higher Ed Lower Debt Bill

61% of Wisconsin residents support ability to refinance student loans


(Madison)—Responding to a recent Marquette University poll showing 61% of Wisconsin residents support giving people the ability to refinance their student loan debt, State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) are calling for the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges to hold a vote on their Higher Ed/Lower Debt bill (HELD).


In a letter to committee chair State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason said support for HELD that would allow Wisconsin residents to refinance their student loan debt at lower interest rates shows the public is ahead of the Legislature on the issue:


“This week the Marquette Law School poll released results which indicated that 61% percent of Wisconsin citizens support an agency to refinance student loans and only 15 % oppose the concept.  In light of this overwhelming support we believe that Senate Bill 194 deserves to receive a vote in the committee and before the entire legislature.”


Since the legislation was first introduced in 2013 those who have student loan debt in Wisconsin has grown from 753,000 to 815,000.  The average loan debt for someone who obtained a bachelor’s degree has increased from just over $22,000 to $28,400.  Total student debt in Wisconsin is over $19.3 billion. 


In their letter, Sen. Hansen and Rep. Mason acknowledged that as the number of people with student loan debt has increased so has support for the Higher Ed/Lower Debt bill. 61% of those responding to the Marquette Poll support refinancing, which appears to track the experience of those who have been attending public hearings on the bill:


“Since this legislation was first introduced, we have heard from Wisconsin residents across the state sharing their stories of how the student loan crisis is impacting their lives and their household financial decisions. During the public hearing on this bill we heard testimony from a broad range of citizens who have student debt and how it impacts their lives.”


According to Generation Progress as many as 515,000 Wisconsin residents could benefit from being able to refinance their student loans.