STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- A discussion about student debt is set for Tuesday evening in Stevens Point.
State Representative Katrina Shankland says there is a student debt crisis, and she’s hoping the town hall style meeting will bring students, families, and college officials together to talk about what is and is not working.
Shankland says they will discuss some efforts at the capitol, and she really wants to hear from individuals affected by the high cost of college. “We do have some legislation we’ll be talking about that was introduced this year by Democrats, and I think we’ll also just be hearing from people and encouraging them, regardless of party, regardless of experience, to come in and tell us about it. Maybe some people don’t have student loan debt. Tell us what works, what doesn’t. People who do have student loan debt (can tell) what the impact of it is.”
Shankland says going to college now is much more expensive and difficult to manage than it was around twenty years ago. “People who went to school, you know, decades ago were able to work seven to ten hours a week at minimum wage and be able to afford their tuition. That’s because the state actually funded a greater percentage of our public universities and colleges than it does now, so, as tuition goes up, it’s more and more unaffordable for a lot of students.”
Shankland is not convinced freezing the University of Wisconsin system’s tuition will have a positive outcome. She says it may lead to more expensive classes and possibly fewer people enrolled in expensive, high demand programs. “When you freeze tuition, you have less money available at the moment, which might mean that UWSP for example, there are bottlenecks in high-demand classes like chemistry and biology, the kind of courses you need to be able to go into the medical field, so that can actually have an impact on our future workforce, and not in a good way.”
The meeting takes place at the UW Stevens Point campus in the Collins Classroom Center on 4th Avenue, across from the Quandt Fieldhouse The meeting is expected to last from 6:30 p.m. until about 8:00 p.m.