Contact: Joseph Waldman, Communications Director

347-844-3741, [email protected]

May 19, 2015


Today, State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) and State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) reintroduced their "Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act" to the Wisconsin State Legislature. The bill would allow students to refinance their student loans for lower interest rates, potentially saving borrowers hundreds of dollars a year. Under the proposal, a University of Wisconsin graduate owing $27,000 at an interest rate of 6.8% could refinance for a new interest rate of 4%, saving close to $500 at the end of the year. The plan would be implemented by creating a new agency, the Student Loan Refinancing Authority. The “Higher Ed Lower Debt Act” will also allow borrowers to deduct student loan payments from their income tax.

The "Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act" comes at a time of record student loan debt across the country, particularly in Wisconsin. Wisconsin currently stands as 10th in the nation for the number of students graduating in debt. More than 800,000 Wisconsinites hold an average of $27,000 in student loans. Tuition hikes and financial aid reductions resulting from Scott Walker's proposed UW cuts are predicted to worsen the already appalling levels of student debt. The “Higher Ed Lower Debt Act” will provide some much needed relief to students poised to suffer under Scott Walker's budget. In response to the reintroduction of the "Higher Ed Lower Debt Act," College Democrats of Wisconsin Chair Phoenix Rice-Johnson released the following statement.

"I applaud Representative Mason and Senator Hansen for tackling Wisconsin's student debt crisis. The 'Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act' will make college more affordable for the thousands of young Wisconsinites across the state struggling under mountains of student loans.

Student debt should not be a partisan issue. Its crippling impact will affect my Democrat and Republican classmates equally. The record high price of a college education is fundamentally at odds with the American Dream and our values as Wisconsinites. I invite legislative Republicans to join Senator Hansen and Representative Mason in standing up for Wisconsin students."