Four bills in Gov. Scott Walker’s college affordability package passed the state Senate on Tuesday night, but lawmakers didn’t vote on the centerpiece of the governor’s highly-touted agenda.
The bills that passed will fund need-based and emergency grants for technical college students and internship coordinator positions in the state Department of Workforce Development, and require schools to provide students annual updates on loan balances.
The centerpiece of the governor’s plan, which he has championed for months, wasn’t included on the Senate calendar. That proposal would have lifted a cap on student loan interest deductions.
Senators didn’t vote on the measure because of its cost, according to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. The measure was estimated to have a price tag of about $5 million.
The four bills included on the calendar passed along party lines.
During debate, Democrats said the bills don’t do enough.
“This is just crumbs,” said state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. “This is so pitiful.”
Republicans countered that some action was better than none.
“I wish we could have done more,” said state Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac. “But, you know what, I’m going to take what we can get.”
All four bills have already passed the Assembly. They now move to Walker for his signature.