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Paul Ryan's Failed Leadership on Student Loans: Soaring Costs, Dwindling Futures

Press Release

Location: Kenosha, WI

With the deadline to prevent the doubling of student loan interest rates looming in just three days, Congressman Paul Ryan continues his abysmal track record of making higher education accessible, affecting nearly 165,000 Wisconsin students with student loans.

While Congressman Ryan's plans to double the interest rates from 3.4% to 6.8%, two of his own children will be spared, according to his recently released financial disclosure statements. The statements show that Congressman Ryan has invested in educational savings accounts for his two of his three children, worth up to $350,000. That's enough to pay undergraduate tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 30 years.

"Congressman Ryan has, once again, decided that because his family doesn't require a program designed to help struggling families that the programs should just be defunded and abolished," said Rob Zerban, the small businessman challenging Congressman Ryan in November.

"The only way many students, myself included, can afford a higher education is through programs like Pell Grants and Stafford Loans. I understand intimately how important these programs are -- they were the only way I was able to get an education and go on to own two small businesses, living my version of the American Dream.

If we allow Congressman Ryan continues to make it more difficult for young people to get a higher education he will stall our economic recovery as fewer future small business owners and entrepreneurs will be able to live their version of the dream like I did."

In addition to pushing to allow student loan interest rates to double on July 1, 2012, Congressman Ryan authored a budget that reduces both the amount of Pell Grants available to students as well as the loan amount available to students. While House Democrats offered a solution by keeping interest rates at 3.4% by closing loopholes used exclusively by Big Oil, Paul Ryan and House Republicans refused, once again putting their major campaign contributors ahead of American families.

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