Wisconsin Governor Unveils New College Affordability Proposals

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced a series of college affordability proposals for the state on Monday, reported The Wisconsin State Journal.

One proposed bill would eliminate caps on tax deductions for student loan interest, a move the governor's office claims would save borrowers in the state $5.2 million annually. Another set of proposals would put $500,000 annually toward grants for technical college students over the next two years and provide $450,000 in emergency grants for technical and community college students who find themselves with unexpected financial need.

Other proposed legislation includes measures that would:

  • Create a program to provide "emergency grants" for college students who have unexpected expenses.
  • Spend $700,000 to hire internship coordinators in the state Department of Workforce Development and University of Wisconsin System in an effort to connect students with local businesses and keep them in Wisconsin after they graduate.
  • Require all students to attend financial literacy seminars during their first semester in college, and require schools to send students information about how much money they are borrowing, their interest rate and what sort of payments they will have to make after they graduate.

The proposals come after Wisconsin last year adopted a biennial budget that cut higher education funding $250 million, according to Inside Higher Ed. They also come during the fourth consecutive year of a mandatory tuition freeze, which Walker's office says has saved Wisconsin students $6,311 on average.

"Our college affordability legislation will help students and families make informed decisions about choosing the higher education path that is right for their future dreams and for their budgets," Walker said.

Critics countered that the proposals do not do enough to help those burdened by student loan debt.

 

Related Links

The Wisconsin State Journal

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/university/scott-walker-package-of-bills-will-make-college-more-affordable/article_640430a4-69bf-5bc1-bf06-a87b83229eef.html

Inside Higher Ed

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/01/12/wisconsin-governor-offers-plan-college-costs