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Walker Rolls Out College Affordability Legislation

Package Includes Changes To Student Loan Interest, More Aid For Tech School Students

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Gov. Scott Walker is endorsing a package of measures that he says will make college more affordable.

At a press event Monday, Walker announced he’s getting behind measures that would eliminate a cap on state tax deductions for student loan interest. He would also boost need-based grants to Wisconsin technical colleges and emergency grants for University of Wisconsin students, as well as increase programs for financial literacy and internships. He said the state’s estimated $136 million surplus would supply the funds or absorb the lost revenue.

“We’re not proposing to use all of that now. We want to be prepared for the next budget, but some of that would come out of this,” Walker said.

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The plan has its critics: Student loan activist Saul Newton, for example, said the governor should be adding a plan to allow refinancing of student debt.

“There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to refinance a student loan like you do a car or a mortgage to get a better interest rate,” said Newton.

State lawmakers are expected to debate the financial aid issues over the next two months.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story featuring Associated Press content has been updated with original reporting.

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