Making Higher Education More Affordable

Making Higher Education More Affordable

Fixing the Student Debt Crisis

The U.S. has more than $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, and over 40 million Americans are carrying student loan debt. Not only does this place a tremendous financial burden on students, it’s a drag on the economy as a whole.

Students in Wisconsin and across the country are drowning in debt, and Congress needs to address the crisis before it gets any worse.

“I graduated with $50,000 of debt, and that number is even higher today because I cannot afford to keep up with all the payments or I wouldn’t have food on the table or a roof over my head.”
– Kaytlin M, Monroe County

“I am 41 years old and facing another 10-15 years of student loan payments. This isn’t the American Dream, it is a false promise that additional education and a small loan is an investment in my future.”
– Tiffany B, Dane County

Situations like Kaytlin’s and Tiffany’s are all too common and they are why Tammy and other Democrats in the Senate have come up with a plan to fix our student debt crisis and put our country on a path to debt-free college.

The plan, which can be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes that primarily benefit millionaires and billionaires, confronts the crisis by offering emergency loan refinancing so students can lower their interest rates, tuition-free community college for eligible students, an expansion of the Pell Grant Program, and stricter cost accountability for colleges and universities.

Ensuring All Students Can Afford Higher Education

Tammy believes that all students in Wisconsin and throughout the country should have the opportunity to get a college education or postsecondary training. However, too many students end up graduating shackled to thousands in loan debt or are priced out of earning a certificate or degree altogether.

If our nation wants a workforce with the skills necessary to compete in the global economy, we need to invest in our students. That’s why Tammy created America’s College Promise Act, which forges a partnership between the federal government and states and tribal colleges to help them waive tuition at two-year institutions, including community, technical and tribal colleges.

Tammy also introduced a measure to ensure students working their way through college would not be penalized by being denied financial aid because they are earning an income. Her measure increases the amount students can earn without it hurting their eligibility for need-based federal financial aid.

Protecting the Perkins Student Loan Program

Since 1958, the Perkins Student Loan Program has helped Americans pay for their education by providing low-interest loans to students who could not afford private, more expensive loans. In Wisconsin alone, the program helped more than 20,000 low-income students afford college.

Despite the critical financial support provided by the Perkins Loan Program, Republicans in Congress let its funding expire.

Tammy, who is a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, successfully led a bipartisan coalition to reauthorize the Perkins Loan Program, through September 2017.