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When I went to college back in the early 1980s, a Wisconsin student could attend UW Madison by working a summer job and having a part time job during the school year. You might graduate with some debt, but nothing like what students face today. So whenever I hear a politician say, "Back in my day, I worked my way through college..." it frustrates me to no end. Another example I share is that when I graduated as a English Major, tuition at my private college was about $12K a year. I walked into a job paying $12K a year. Not a fortune, but a decent salary. These days, English majors graduating from small liberal arts colleges with tuition rates of 60-75,000 do NOT walk in to jobs that pay that much.
What to Do
Wisconsin needs to allow WI students to refinance their student loans like we can refinance mortgages. Consolidating high interest loans, taking advantage of low interest rates, etc. Debt forgiveness programs need to be transparent, well publicized and user-friendly. WI should offer special incentives to teachers in rural districts.
Freezing tuition at UW Schools is a bandaid solution, and should be coupled with restoring funding to our UW system. Funding is a fraction of what it once was.