A liberal advocacy group says growing student loan debt will continue to be a drag on Wisconsin's economy unless the government finds a way to keep tuition affordable.
As it has in many places, tuition at the University of Wisconsin skyrocketed over the past decade and with it student loan debt. The group One Wisconsin Now did an online survey of 2,600 of its members, looking at among other things, their buying power. Just over half of those who'd never had a student loan had recently purchased a new car. But among those currently paying a student loan, less than a third had recently purchased a new vehicle.
One Wisconsin Now Director Scot Ross says the finding was telling for a couple reasons, "We think about the basic purchases that help drive the economy but that are also sort of a basic entree into adulthood and being middle class. Buying a car. Buying a home. And these things are being denied our graduates simply because of student loan debt."
The survey found those with a bachelors degree were paying on average $350 a month for their student loans. Those with graduate degrees were paying nearly $450.
Other national studies have also shown an increasing reliance on student loans, with a recent Pew study showing one in five households now owe student debt.