Joint Finance Republicans rejected Gov. Tony Evers’ proposals to increase need-based grants for students at Wisconsin’s colleges, universities and tech schools, opting instead to keep funding at current levels.
The state provided $113.8 million in 2018-19 to students at the UW System, private colleges, the Wisconsin Technical College System and tribal colleges.
Evers proposed an increase in the grants for undergrads by 5 percent annually. The increase totalled nearly $17.3 million in general purpose revenue with another $73,000 in program revenue.
Dems used the proposal as a launching point to knock Republicans on the student loan debt that many Wisconsinites carry.
Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, said he has $170,000 in student loan debt with an interest rate of 7.8 percent and a monthly payment of $400. With his wife’s payment of $450, he said it’s like a second mortgage.
Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, countered Goyke’s investment in his education — he has a law degree from Marquette University Law School — will provide a return that equals many times the value of his home. He also touted GOP efforts to keep college affordable by freezing tuition for in-state undergrads at the UW System.
Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, said taxpayers — many of whom didn’t go to college — have dug deep so the “select few” can benefit and opposed putting more money into the program.
“The taxpayers have been very generous,” Stroebel said.