Americans over age 60 fastest growing demographic for student loan debt

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Snapshot of Older Consumers and Student Loan Debt”, the age demographic in which student loan debt is increasing fastest is Americans over the age of 60. Factors for the explosion of debt in this group, according to the report, include it taking longer for borrowers to repay their loans and more parents and grandparents borrowing to help finance higher educations for their children or grandchildren.

Additional CFPB research broke down the debt held by older borrowers in every state. It found that in Wisconsin there are nearly 60,000 people over age 60 with student debt in 2017, nearly double the roughly 39,000 in 2012.

One Wisconsin Now notes that, amid this growing crisis of student loan debt, Governor Scott Walker and the Republican-led Legislature have refused to take up a bill introduced in 2013, 2015 and again in 2017, to help Wisconsin borrowers refinance their student loans. Federal refinancing legislation offered by Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Mark Pocan has also been killed by GOP majorities.

“Student loan debt is a growing, multi-generational crisis that burdens not just recent graduates entering the workforce but threatens the secure and well-deserved retirements for those who’ve worked their adult lives,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

Read more from One Wisconsin Now:

Americans Over Age 60 Fastest Growing Demographic for Student Loan Debt

MADISON, Wis. – According to the latest research, student loan debt in Wisconsin isn’t just for the young. A study from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finds that borrowers over age 60 is the age demographic in which debt is growing the fastest.

Many teachers struggling with low pay and high student debt, survey finds

In addition to being underpaid, many teachers are struggling to pay off hefty student loans, leaving them feeling overloaded and trapped, according to results of a new survey by NPR Ed. On a scale of 1 to 5, with five being “terrified” about their student debt, 28% of respondents said they were indeed “terrified,” while another 24% selected “4”, meaning a majority of teachers surveyed were either “terrified” or just shy of being “terrified.”

Teachers who included comments with their results said such things as: “I feel like I’ll be making the last payment from my grave.” … and … “It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I’m getting nowhere.”

Based on the survey, NPR Ed identified several key issues related to the student debt problem among teachers:

  • They are pressured to earn more degrees.
  • Anemic teacher pay worsens the situation.
  • More and more teachers are going into debt to finance their education.
  • Loan programs – and loan forgiveness programs – are confusing.

“It costs entirely too much money to become a teacher that gets paid barely above the poverty line,” said one teacher with more than $50,000 of debt. “Teachers today are being asked to go into heavy debt and are not being paid as the professionals they are.”

The NEA and WEAC are working to help identify and support solutions to the growing student loan crisis in America. Read more here and here.

Read the entire NPR Ed article:

Teachers With Student Debt: The Struggle, The Causes And What Comes Next

“I feel like I’ll be making the last payment from my grave.” “It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I’m getting nowhere.” Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed’s first Teacher Student Debt survey.

Author says student debt is ‘America’s most pressing problem’

student_loan_debt_rock_300pxThe human cost of rising student loan debt cannot be understated, Alan Collinge, founder of StudentLoanJustice.org, writes in The Hill. “Families and individuals are being financially destabilized and wrecked. Family formation, home and other purchases are being delayed or cancelled, people are actually fleeing the country and even committing suicide as a result of this predatory debt.”

Collinge, author The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in U.S. History and How We Can Fight Backwrites that, since 2000, “U.S. student loan debt has grown to overwhelm all other categories of non-housing consumer debt in this nation. The lending instrument is uniquely predatory in that student loans have been stripped of the most fundamental consumer protections, such as bankruptcy rights, statutes of limitations and many others.”

The next president, he writes, must work with Congress to ease the student debt crisis.

Read the entire column:

Student debt is America’s most pressing economic problem

Since 2000, U.S. student loan debt has grown to overwhelm all other categories of non-housing consumer debt in this nation. The lending instrument is uniquely predatory in that student loans have been stripped of the most fundamental consumer protections, such as bankruptcy rights, statutes of limitations and many others.

Read more on WEAC’s Degrees Not Debt page:

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Rising costs shatter New Jersey student’s dream to attend UW

In a column in Time magazine, a New Jersey mother laments the fact that her son will not be able to attend the University of Wisconsin because the university has hiked out-of-state tuition to the point that it is unaffordable to an average family and student aid is virtually non-existent. She writes:

“Out-of-state tuition, room, board, and fees for Wisconsin run more than $48,000 this year. Even with the money I’d saved in his 529 fund, there is no way I can afford to send him there, particularly on top of the cost of my elder son’s education. Their father and I are journalists, not hedge fund managers.

“I wrote to a few people in the financial aid office at Wisconsin. They wrote back immediately, running the numbers again to be sure. No mistake.”

Read her column in Time’s Money section:

My Son Was Accepted to a College He Can’t Afford. Now What?

In early April, my son Dan arrived home from the University of Wisconsin’s Admitted Students Day holding a Wisconsin windshield sticker-and immediately affixed it to our car above his older brother’s University of North Carolina sticker, with a smile I can only describe as vengeful younger-brother joy.

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Wisconsin average student loan debt is $29,460

student_loan_debt_burden_500pxA new report from the Institute for College Access and Success finds that the average recent Wisconsin college graduate with student loan debt owes $29,460. The state ranks fifth in the nation with 70% of 2015 college graduates having student loan debt, compared with 68% nationally. Nationwide, the average student loan debt for 2015 graduates was $30,100, a 4% increase over 2014.

“Student debt is still rising, and the typical college graduate now leaves school with over $30,000 in loans,” said TICAS president Lauren Asher. “We need to make college more affordable and debt less burdensome for students and families.”

The NEA and WEAC are committed to addressing the problem of student debt, which strongly impacts our members as well as future educators. Find more information on this important topic HERE.

Read the TICAS news release:

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Read the entire TICAS report:

Home | The Institute For College Access and Success

Coalition Letter Urging Strong Borrower Relief and College Accountability Regulations . Letter to Education Secretary John King from 58 organizations that advocate for students, veterans, service members, civil rights, consumers, college access and success, and college faculty and staff expressing support for strong rules that protect students and taxpayers from fraud, deception and other misconduct by unscrupulous schools.

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New polls find overwhelming support for allowing refinancing of student loans

From One Wisconsin Now

Public opinion research in key Wisconsin state Senate Districts by respected national pollster Paul Harstad finds “lopsided support” for allowing people to refinance their student loans, just like you can with a mortgage. Between 81 and 85 percent of those polled in state Senate Districts 12, 14 and 18 favored “pass[ing] a state law to help allow people with student loan debts to refinance their student loan interest rates – like borrowers can do with their home mortgage and car loans.”

The poll results can be found here.

student_loan_refinancing_poll

“By overwhelming margins people agree we need reform, and allowing borrowers to refinance their loans has vast support across all parties and ideologies,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “These are stunning results. It’s the kind of bipartisan support in Wisconsin usually reserved for things like the Packers and three-day weekends.”

In a memo from Harstad to One Wisconsin Now on the question of allowing the refinancing of student loans key results from surveys of 1,849 likely voters include not just broad support, ranging between 81 and 85 percent of all voters, but intense support for refinancing. A 54 percent majority strongly favors allowing refinancing versus a mere 6 percent strongly opposing.

The results by district:

  • Senate District 12 voters favor student loan refinancing by a 81 percent to 14 percent margin
  • Senate District 14 voters favor student loan refinancing by a 85 percent to 13 percent margin
  • Senate District 18 voters favor student loan refinancing by a 84 percent to 11 percent margin

In addition, support spans across key demographics including:

  • Men: 81 percent support
  • Women: 86 percent support
  • Age 18-49: 88 percent support
  • Age 50-84: 80 percent support
  • Age 65+: 81 percent support
  • Liberals: 91 percent support
  • Moderates: 87 percent support
  • Conservatives: 78 percent support

Harstad noted, “… seldom these days does one find such lopsided support for issue proposals, especially by margins exceeding 6-to-1.”

In 2013 and again in 2015, state legislation to help borrowers refinance their student loans was introduced in both the Wisconsin state Senate and Assembly. Republicans in control of both chambers, along with Gov. Scott Walker, blocked consideration of the measures.

Ross concluded, “There are more than 800,000 federal student loan borrowers in Wisconsin with over $19 billion in student debt. They worked hard to get their education and took on the personal responsibility to pay for it, but the system today is treating them unfairly and it needs to be changed. By an overwhelming margin people across Wisconsin favor common sense reform to allow borrowers to refinance their loans. The choice for policymakers is to stand with them and for reform or against them and defend the unfair status quo.”

The polls were conducted by Harstad on behalf of the Greater Wisconsin Committee.

Minnesota approves student loan forgiveness program for teachers

By Félix Pérez, EdVotes.org

Young asian college student hold a sign of student loan

Minnesota teachers are eligible for student loan forgiveness of $1,000 each year, up to $5,000 over five years. The program, passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor last month, is reportedly the first such tax credit in the nation.

“We think this tax credit is a great foundation to build on in the future. We also believe this is the first tax credit like this in the nation,” said a statement issued by Education Minnesota, which represents 70,000 educators who work in pre-K-12 schools and higher education institutions. “The work that members of Education Minnesota put into the 2016 legislative session to advocate for student debt relief resulted in some important changes.”

Designed to address statewide teacher shortages and attract and retain teachers both in certain geographic areas and specific subject areas, the program requires that teachers be licensed by the state. All federal, state, private, commercial and consolidated loans used for tuition and other expenses related to living and teacher preparation are eligible. The 2015-2016 application deadline is June 30.

“Minnesota schools are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain teachers both in certain geographic areas and some subject areas, such as special education, math and science,” said Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, which manages the program. “By helping with student loan payments, this program may encourage some teachers to consider working in one of the designated shortage areas.”

Said Megan FitzGibbon, who heads the loan forgiveness program,“This is kind of a different program for our agency to do. It could be a way to recruit new people into the teaching profession or into particular disciplines of teaching, and at the same time, current teachers who may be considering whether they’re going to continue teaching. This may be a way to retain them.”

The program was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton. Dayton was awarded America’s Greatest Education Governor Award in 2012 by the National Education Association.

How college loans exploit students for profit: TED Talk by Professor Sajay Samuel

“Once upon a time in America,” says professor Sajay Samuel, “going to college did not mean graduating with debt.” Today, higher education has become a consumer product — costs have skyrocketed, saddling students with a combined debt of over $1 trillion, while universities and loan companies make massive profits. In this TED Talk, Samuel, a professor of accounting at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University, talks about how college loans exploit students for profit and then proposes a radical solution: link tuition costs to a degree’s expected earnings, so that students can make informed decisions about their future, restore their love of learning and contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

WEAC and the NEA have been strong supporters of policies to reduce the student debt burden. Read more HERE and visit the NEA’s Degrees Not Debt page.

Feingold launches campaign to ease burden of student loans

Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, who is running to gain his old seat back this November from Republican Ron Johnson, is launching a social media campaign in support of a policy that would allow students to refinance their student loans.

According to the Capital Times, the social media campaign will feature photos and short vignettes from University of Wisconsin students and graduates.

The campaign aims to illustrate the stark difference in opinion between Feingold and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson when it comes to addressing college affordability.

Johnson opposes the refinancing proposal, arguing instead that the federal government should avoid involvement in college financing.

WEAC and the NEA have been strong supporters of policies to reduce the student debt burden. Read more HERE and visit the NEA’s Degrees Not Debt page.

Read a summary of Feingold’s plan in the Daily Kos:

Russ Feingold launches campaign to ease the burden of student loans

As former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold aims to unseat GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, he is promoting a social media campaign advocating for a proposal that would allow students to refinance their loans. Jessie Opoien reports: The campaign aims to illustrate the stark difference in opinion between Feingold and Republican Sen.

Read the Capital Times story:

Russ Feingold campaign, UW students push student loan refinancing proposal

Demonstrating that Wisconsin Democrats believe student debt is an issue that resonates with voters, former Sen. Russ Feingold’s campaign will share stories this week of borrowers who say they would be helped by a policy that would allow them to refinance their loans.

‘Higher Ed, Lower Debt’ bill is common-sense approach to student loan crisis, Rep. Cory Mason says

Rep. Cory Mason

Rep. Cory Mason

The “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill being proposed by Democrats in the Legislature is a common-sense approach to addressing the student loan debt crisis, Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) said Friday in the Democratic Weekly Radio Address.

“The student debt crisis is harming our economy and preventing far too many of our hardworking citizens from achieving the American Dream,” Mason said. “Our proposal allows borrowers to refinance their student loans, just like a car loan or mortgage. This common-sense, popular approach has already proven effective in other states, and it will save borrowers hundreds of dollars a year, grow Wisconsin’s economy and strengthen our middle class.”

The audio file of this week’s address can be found here and a video version can be viewed here or below.

Here is the text of Mason’s radio address:

One of the biggest challenges facing Wisconsin today is the high number of people burdened by student loan debt. The student debt crisis is harming our economy and preventing far too many of our hardworking citizens from achieving the American Dream.

But instead of putting forward serious ideas, Governor Walker and his legislative allies have put forward anemic election-year proposals that will do nothing to lower monthly payments for the more than one million Wisconsinites with student debt. And the Republicans’ so-called plan pales in comparison to the massive cuts they have made to education and job training.

There is only one acceptable solution to this problem – the “Higher Ed, Lower Debt” bill. Our proposal allows borrowers to refinance their student loans, just like a car loan or mortgage. This common-sense, popular approach has already proven effective in other states, and it will save borrowers hundreds of dollars a year, grow Wisconsin’s economy and strengthen our middle class.

Wisconsin ranks third-worst in the nation in student loan debt. For the more than one million Wisconsinites with student loan debt, this crisis is real. It deserves a real policy solution, not election-year gimmicks.

Read more:

Students testify in support of Higher Ed, Lower Debt bill – WEAC

Wisconsin student loan debt is 3rd highest in country, new study finds – WEAC

Bill would allow re-financing of student loans – WEAC