LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

Senator Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse has co-authored a bill to help students lower their loan debt.

Senate Bill 376, or the "Higher Ed, Lower Debt" legislation, is co-sponsored by Representatives Jill Billings, of La Crosse, and Steve Doyle, of Onalaska.

“We can’t afford to sit on the sideline as our next generation is saddled with massive debt,” Senator Shilling said in a statement. “Senate Bill 376 is an important first step toward providing real relief to Wisconsin families, and I hope that we can find bi-partisan support to address this growing crisis.”

Shilling says the Senate bill will allow people who have student loan debt to refinance at lower interest rates similar to options available for home and auto loan debt. It will also allow student loan borrowers to deduct loan payments from their income taxes. Shilling says this will save individuals with loan debt about $172 to $392 a year.

“We need to make higher education more affordable and prevent Wall Street banks from charging unreasonable interest rates that bury families and young adults in debt,” Shilling said.

Senate Bill 376 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges. It’s currently waiting to be scheduled for a public hearing.