HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- Is college loan debt becoming so crushing that the federal government should 'forgive' the balance after 20 years? That has been done for recent college students and now Connecticut's Senior U.S. Senator says it's time to include all borrowers under the Stafford student loan program.
It's estimated that at least 70,000 college students enrolled in the Connecticut State University system have one of the federal Stafford student loans.
And the bill that's making it's way through congress will allow those interest rates to be tied to the ten-year Treasury note, which means they will probably go up for classes in future years.
Some recent graduates joined with Senator Dick Blumenthal Monday, to urge that the country be willing to forgive some of the crushing college loan debt if graduates make a good faith effort to pay.
"I graduated from Quinnipiac with roughly $60,000 worth of student debt, that's a relatively low number for some of the friends I have," said Sam Chaney, of Wallingford.
"It wasn't whether or not I wanted to be a pharmacist or not, it was deciding on whether or not I wanted to be mountains in debt that was going to affect me for the rest of my life," said Sara Schroedl, of Hartford.
"I pay more in student debt than I pay in my rent. That's about $450 I could be spending elsewhere on our economy getting this economy moving," said Chaney.
Blumenthal wants to extend and enhance the existing "Pay as You Earn" program to allow all students to have the balance of their loans forgiven if they make timely payments for a period of twenty years.
He also wants taxes on the balance of loans to also be forgiven in order to give young people a break.
"We ought to be investing in our students, not profiting off their backs," said Blumenthal.
"It's not about giving hand-outs to students or to special interests. It's having more people in the U.S. with a college degree which helps drive unemployment down, income up, spending up, and puts us on a path to economic recovery," said Eric Bergenn, of New Britain.
Blumenthal says the federal government is scheduled to earn $51 billion in annual profits off student loans this year. He says the government shouldn't be making a profit off these students from low income families.
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