Last Friday, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) hosted a roundtable discussion at Trumbull High School on student loan reform and the importance of preventing the scheduled increase on the Stafford loan interest rate.

Last year, Congress passed legislation to prevent the Stafford loan interest rate from doubling to 6.8 percent. However, this legislation expires in six weeks and without action by Congress, the rate will increase, hurting thousands of students in Connecticut and across the country who rely on Stafford loans to pay for college.

“I really enjoyed listening to students, teachers, parents, and other members of the Trumbull High School community about their concerns regarding student loan debt,” Murphy said. “My wife and I are still paying back our student loans, so I understand how this rate hike would add an additional burden on students who need to take out loans. Preventing a hike on student loan interest rates should be a bi-partisan issue as it has been in the past.

“Students will be paying back their loans regardless of their political affiliation and ideology, and it’s Congress’ job to do the right thing here and prevent this increase.”

Student loan debt currently exceeds $1 trillion, second only to mortgage debt. The average college graduate is burdened with more than $26,000 in student loans. In Connecticut, students have it worse, with the average student loan debt being $28,000 per student.

Senator Murphy, a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is an original cosponsor of S. 953 which would prevent the interest rate from doubling on July 1.

Participants at Trumbull High School included Bob Tremaglio, Principal of Trumbull High School, Diana Devellis, Senior Associate Director of Financial Aid at Fairfield University, representatives from the Trumbull High School guidance department and Trumbull High School students and parents.