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Baldwin Challenges Republican Opponents to Take a Stand on Student Loans
MADISON — US Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin held a press conference today in Madison with Wisconsin students to challenge her Republican opponents to take a stand on a pending interest rate increase for student loans. Baldwin’s campaign also released new regional data that showed how many Wisconsin students would be impacted if Congressional Republicans continue to block action to prevent the rate increase.
“Every one of my Senate opponents support budget cuts to programs that make college more affordable and none of them have stood up to provide relief for Wisconsin students strapped with student loan debt,” Baldwin said, “My opponents have remained silent on this issue and they have failed to put forward a plan to relieve student loan debt for Wisconsin students. It is time for them to let us know where they stand. Are they going to stand with Congressional Republicans that continue to block action or with Wisconsin’s students who are in desperate need of student loan relief?”
In July, student loan interest rates are set to double from 3.4% to 6.8% and Congressional Republicans have blocked action to prevent preventing student loan interest rates from doubling for over 160,000 Wisconsin students. [FederalStudentAid.ed.gov]
Republican obstruction threatens to increase student debt by nearly $1,000 for Wisconsin students with higher education loans. The average college debt in Wisconsin is $24,627 and 67% of students in our state carry a student loan debt. [White House] [Project on Student Debt]
Baldwin has previously proposed a solution that would freeze interest rates at their current rate by implementing the “Buffett Rule” to make wealthy millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes in order to fund the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act and relieve the burden of student loans on Wisconsin students. All of the Republican candidates for US Senate in Wisconsin have opposed the “Buffett Rule” and support tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
Over seven million students across the country will have to pay an average of about $1,000 more for their student loans if interest rates double. Across the nation students will face an extra $6.3 billion in extra debt in one year alone. [Committee on Education and Workforce, 4/21/12]
“We can keep interest rates low and provide students a fair shot at an affordable education, by making wealthier individuals pay their fair share in taxes. Unfortunately, rather than working together to ensure interest rates on student loans don’t double, the Republican Congress has decided to play political games,” said Baldwin.
The Baldwin campaign also released new, regional data showing the impact on Wisconsin students across the state who face an average of $968 added to their debt without action.