Local politicians hear from students on college debt crisis

Wisconsinites owe total of $19 billion in student loan debt

Politicians representing our area are working together to address the growing problem of student debt.

U.S. Representative Ron Kind, State Representatives Jill Billings and Steve Doyle and State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling were in La Crosse Monday morning to talk about the crisis.

Wisconsin ranks 10th in the country in student loan debt, with the average student owing about $28,000 when they graduate. The group held a forum at U-W La Crosse today to hear from current students on the issue and talk about their ideas on how to make college more affordable.

Representative Doyle says the student debt crisis affects more than just those who are in debt.

“It affects everybody. The money that is paid at the rate of, on average, $350 a month for student loans goes to somewhere else,” said Rep. Doyle. “It doesn’t stay in the La Crosse community to buy cars or houses or refrigerators or you know, any of the things that keep our local economy going.”

Doyle says they hope to work on legislation that would allow students to refinance their loans and provide more education on financial options before students take out loans.