MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) This past January Governor Tony Evers created a task force to focus on the issue of student loan debt. This morning that group met for the first time in the state’s capitol.
According to the governor’s office, 45 million students in the U.S. owe roughly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt and one in five students are behind on their loan payments.
In Wisconsin 64 percent of students who graduated from college in 2018 left school with student loan debt averaging over $31,000. In total borrowers in Wisconsin are carrying $24 billion in debt.
To study the issue the governor – through executive order – created the Student Debt Task Force – made up of stakeholders from across the state.
The task force is charged with studying the causes of student debt, developing long-term strategies to reduce education-related debt and to improve overall loan education.
“Workable, practical and implementable solutions that we can put forward and I have great confidence and trust that this is the right group to do that,” said Secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions, Kathy Blumenfeld.
“Before the year 2000 it would take borrowers less than 10 years to repay their loans. Pretty much after 2000 it’s taking borrowers 12, 13 years to pay their loans, when they repay them,” said Nick Hillman, director of Sstar Lab in Madison.
The group will meet eight times in the coming months, with a goal of submitting a series of recommendations to the governor to deal with student debt, which he will include in his next biennial budget.
Right now nearly 13 percent of student borrowers in the state are delinquent on their loans.