Democrats unveiled a website highlighting the benefits of a new legislative proposal to lower student loan debt. The website, www.wistudentloanrelief.com, provides information on the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act and gives residents an opportunity to share their personal experiences with student loan debt.
"With over 800,000 Wisconsin families burdened by student loan debt, we need to find solutions that help lower interest rates and make higher education more affordable," said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). "The student loan debt crisis has spiraled out of control. By simply allowing individuals to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates, some families could save thousands of dollars a year."
Since the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act was first introduced in 2013 the number of Wisconsin residents with student loans has grown from 753,000 to 815,000. The average loan debt for a graduate with a bachelor’s degree has increased from just over $22,000 to $28,400 and total student debt in Wisconsin has now topped $19.3 billion.
“This is a crisis that is only getting worse. And it is being fueled in large part by cuts we’ve seen over the years to higher education that continue to make it more expensive for students to get their degrees,” said state Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). “If we’re not going to invest in higher education in Wisconsin the very least we can do is help borrowers refinance their student loans to get lower interest rates like you can a home or car loan.”
In addition to allowing borrowers to refinance their loans at lower interest rates, the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act allows borrowers to deduct their student loan payments from their state income tax, provides more information for borrowers about their rights and responsibilities, and improves tracking of student loan debt information