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Syllabus for Success will help college students

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Rep. Kim Hixson
February 20, 2008

Before I was elected to the legislature, I worked as a professor at UW-Whitewater. As a professor, I was required to make a plan for the semester called a syllabus, which was designed to make students successful and ready to meet expectations put upon them.


It seems only natural for me as a legislator to still keep students successful. I am introducing several pieces of legislation that I am calling Wisconsinís Syllabus for Success.


This Syllabus for Success is important to our state economy. We need to grow the number of college graduates in Wisconsin as we have fallen behind other Midwest states in the percentage of adults who have college degrees. Along with this decline, we have seen the average individual income in our state fall behind that of other states. The Syllabus for Success is a big-picture plan that makes smart investments in higher education in common-sense ways. The Syllabus is broken up into four parts.


The first component is the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG), which is designed to help students who have lower incomes and require more financial assistance. I believe that success in higher education should not be dependent on the size of a studentís parentís bank account. I have co-authored legislation that creates a dollar-for-dollar match of funding for the WHEG to an increase in tuition which ensures that as tution goes up, financial aid does, too.


The second part of this package provides students with more choices in course material purchasing. It requires that when a textbook publisher solicits an instructor, the publisher must provide the history of text revisions and the price at which the textbook would be sold. This bill ensures that the instructors have all the information possible on textbooks when making choices about course materials


The third item in the Syllabus for Success is creation of a student health care cooperative. Many students tell me about their lack of health insurance. To help students be able to afford to stay in school, I have authored legislation to create a framework that would allow students in higher education institutions in Wisconsin to pool into one collective purchasing pool. Much like the successful farmersí health cooperative, a student health care cooperative would be run and funded by its members, with no state tax dollars invested.


Finally, the Syllabus for Success would create a state income tax credit for student loan payments. Currently, student loan interest payments are deductible on federal income taxes. However, Wisconsin does not provide its residents the same break on taxes.


The legislative Syllabus for Success will encourage and help young people get the higher education and training they need to succeed in the changing economy of the 21st century. It is a good, common-sense approach that costs taxpayers little while having the potential to accelerate growth in our economy and help our children build better lives for themselves and their children.


Rep. Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater, represents Wisconsinís 43rd Assembly District. Readers can reach him at P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708; phone (608) 266-9650; e-mail rep.Hixson@legis.Wisonsin.gov.

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