April 24, 2014

Research shows impact of student loan debt

The increase in student debt in the U.S. has been well documented, and now a new study shows the drain student loan debt places on Wisconsin’s economy.

Scot Ross, Executive Director of the Institute for One Wisconsin, a Madison-based group with a liberal orientation, said they received 2650 responses to a survey on student debt in the state. Findings include the loss of $200 million in new car purchasing power, and decreased chances of home ownership, as people struggle to pay student loans.

“The important thing to remember is what this may be doing to our economy,” said Ross. “If you’re taking away new car-purchasing power, if you’re taking away the ability of young people to buy homes, you will grind the economy to a halt.

Ross said the fault lies not with people who took out loans for education, but in the stripping out of consumer protections, and the increased reliance on debt consolidation. “We’re not in this crisis because people want to access higher education. We’re in this crisis because costs have increased after all of this privatization, and change in consumer protection went into place.”

“This is the beginning of a multi-year discussion on how we can reduce the burden of exploding student loan debt and return to a time where accessing higher education isn’t a ticket to indentured servitude,” Ross said.