— A credit union that has traditionally served
University of Wisconsin System students has
extended eligibility to include all current and
former college students who reside in the state,
in a move Gov. Scott Walker says will help more
students get low-interest loans and refinance
governor and UW Credit Union President and CEO
Paul Kundert announced the change at a joint news
conference on Tuesday. The credit union's board
approved the move in August and the state
Department of Financial Institution's Office of
Credit Unions certified the expansion on Sept. 8.
said he often hears concerns about how to make
college more affordable.
offers a tremendous opportunity for students not
only to get student loan financing but
particularly for those looking to consolidate and
refinance," he said.
Credit Union offers student loans with interest
rates ranging from 3.2 percent to 6.8 percent. The
credit union also consolidates and refinances
student loans with rates ranging from 2.2 percent
to 4 percent, according to the credit union's
now, UW Credit Union has generally restricted its
membership to: students and alumni from the
University of Wisconsin System; Madison College, a
technical school; Edgewood College; UW System
employees; students attending school within five
miles of a UW Credit Union office; and credit
union employees. The credit union currently serves
the expansion, any Wisconsin resident who is
currently enrolled or has attended any accredited
institution of higher learning, be it located in
the United States or overseas, is eligible.
have been criticizing Walker and his fellow
Republicans for months over what they see as a
lack of action to help students deal with mounting
debt. The issue has been a hot one on lawmakers
campaign trails as the Nov. 8 election nears.
Ross, executive director of liberal group One
Wisconsin Now, told reporters after the news
conference that expanding eligibility will do
almost nothing to help students refinance their
loans since they often lack collateral, assets and
is how Scott Walker treats all real problems in
Wisconsin," Ross said. "How can I get
out of this by doing as little as possible to
actually help people?"
told reporters that loans are based on individual
situations and rates will vary. He didn't have any
estimates of how many new members might join as a
result of the eligibility expansion.