WCSU president meets with Blumenthal to support student loan reform
Western Connecticut State University President James W. Schmotter joined U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal at the state Capital to urge Congress to work out a long-term plan to lower interest rates for students who take out federal loans to pay for college.
“The cost of loans is a serious matter for the many Western students who must balance scholarship aid, loans and work in order to attend the university,” Schmotter said. “This balance is fragile, and small changes such as an interest rate increase can have a large negative impact. At all levels of government, we should view financial aid for students as an investment in the state’s and nation’s future.”
Congress has allowed interest rates on some subsidized student loans to rise as high as 8.25 percent, more than double the recent rate of 3.4 percent. Blumenthal pointed out that Connecticut college students who borrowed to pay tuition owed an average debt of $29,380 at graduation this May. (For WCSU graduates, the average debt was $18,219.)
“Congress now has a moral obligation to our students and families to adopt meaningful measures to improve college affordability and access, which must include real reforms to reduce the $1 trillion student loan burden currently crippling our national economy,” Blumenthal said.
Over the past several weeks, Blumenthal said, he met with students and administrators at colleges and universities across Connecticut.
“They implored me to prevent interest rates from rising, and to do more to assist students, families and colleges with the prohibitive costs of education,” he said. “We must keep faith with these students — our next greatest generation — and take real, meaningful steps now to address the national crisis of college affordability.”
Schmotter said that if Congress can forge a new settlement that lowers interests rates for the foreseeable future, not only students but the entire country would benefit.
“In recent years, we’ve discussed financial institutions as being ‘too large to fail’ and government entitlement programs as ‘too large to reform,’ Schmotter concluded. “This generation of students is too large for us to fail, and I fear that’s the direction in which the most recent Senate compromise legislation takes us.”
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.