Contact: Elizabeth Shimek, 608-237-9166

Rep. Neubauer testifies in front of U.S. Department of Education

Students, not predatory institutions, deserve support & protection

RACINE, WI – State Representative Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) testified in front of the U.S. Department of Education yesterday in the third and final public comment hearing on Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposed negotiated rulemaking committee:

“Secretary Betsy DeVos has drawn back the Obama Administration’s progress toward protecting students impacted by fraudulent and predatory lenders and institutions of higher education. Under her watch, the Department of Education is deregulating predatory for-profit institutions and lenders. Sec. DeVos regularly threatens to discontinue loan forgiveness programs for the students cheated by predatory and fraudulent institutions, and for those who work in public service. Her policies support high-dollar corporate interests over people, effectively auctioning off our chance at the American Dream.”

Neubauer presented personal stories submitted by constituents, speaking to how the higher education system has changed over the last four decades and the burdens Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z will face with rapidly ballooning student debt. She also provided context for the current student loan crisis, stating:

“When my parents went to college, many people could earn their tuition through summer and campus jobs. But the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, and tuition has increased at 7% per year for decades. Aid and scholarships have not kept pace. We were told “student debt is ‘good debt’” and that this mortgage on our future would lead to a better life. But as America’s collective student debt burden approaches 1.5 trillion dollars, it is clear that this system has gone terribly wrong.”

Neubauer concluded, “We are not asking for a handout. We are not asking to take the easy way. We are asking for the same opportunity our parents’ generation had at a quality education. We are willing to work hard, but we need a fair shot. That won’t be possible if our own Department of Education’s policies are stacked against us from the start.”

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