Senator Richard Blumenthal hosted a forum at UCONN Stamford Thursday on improving student financial aid programs. The University was a stop on Blumenthal’s tour of Connecticut colleges, to discuss the topic with students and faculty.
“We face a crisis of affordability in our colleges and that’s a crisis not just for those students but for our nation as a whole.”
Blumenthal says the federal government makes $51 billion a year from college students.
“I say let’s invest,” says Blumenthal. “Let’s not extract profit from our students, and ease some of the 1.2 trillion dollars in debt that right now graduates are still paying back.”
Blumenthal shared his ideas on how to make college more affordable.
“We need to lower the interest rates on student loans,” he says. “Why not charge them the same interest rate that banks charge when they borrow from the Federal Reserve.”
The Senator says he has introduced legislation to expand and improve loan repayment and loan forgiveness programs.
“Public service ought to be a means of forgiveness,” says Blumenthal. “People should be given recognition for what they do as a teacher, or a doctor in communities that need them.”
Blumenthal says he’s also working on ways to lower tuition costs and other college expenses. He says speaking with the students has been a big help.
“These forums provide a tremendous resource for me and new ideas, reactions to some of my ideas, knowing what’s going on in the real world, what’s happening in students’ lives.”