Business Leaders Asked To Speak Out About UW Cuts
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WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/16/2015) – One Wisconsin Now is encouraging state business leaders to speak out to preserve their ability to draw on a well-educated state workforce in the face of what One Wisconsin perceives as Governor Scott Walker’s UW education attacks.
“Gov. Walker has proposed a budget that would undermine the fundamental mission of our state’s public university system, making it harder for students to get a world class education and not be saddled with crushing debt,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.
“We’re calling on the business community to get involved because the ripple effect of more student loan debt and less access to education for Wisconsin students hurts their bottom line,” Scot Ross added.
In his 2015 budget proposal, Walker calls for the largest cuts to the University of Wisconsin System (UW) in state history, unlimited tuition increases after 2016 and no additional financial aid for eligible students all while spinning the system off as a private authority overseen by his political appointees on the Board of Regents.
Walker’s budget also included provisions removing the “Wisconsin Idea” and “the search for truth” from the UW mission statement in state statute, a move he has tried to pass off as a drafting error.
In his first term Gov. Walker cut a total of $400 million from the UW and state technical colleges, reduced financial aid for eligible students and imposed a double digit tuition hike that cost students over $200 million over four years. He also refused to call for passage of broadly-supported state legislation to help student loan borrowers by allowing them to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.
Research shows the $1.2 trillion-plus in student loan debt held nationally is a significant economic drag not only on borrowers, but the entire economy.
Over their lifetime, borrowers accumulate significantly less wealth due to their student loan debt, do not save as well for their retirement and delay or defer major consumer purchases like homes and automobiles.
The ripple effect means significant losses for businesses that are key drivers of the economy like the auto and home industries.
“Public education is a public good. Students, families, businesses and our entire economy all benefit from a quality, accessible and affordable UW System, Ross said.
“We’re hoping the business community, as one of the groups that would lose out if Gov. Walker’s attacks on higher education become law, will join in on the coalition working to protect our shared interests”, Ross concluded.
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