HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut U.S. senators on Saturday criticized the federal government for earning an estimated $66 billion in profits from student loans originated between 2007 and 2012, saying it is wrong for the government to benefit from the struggle of young people to deal with escalating college costs.

U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both Democrats, were reacting to a Government Accountability Office report Friday. A previous Congressional Budget Office report estimated the government will pocket an additional $185 billion in profits on new student loans made over the next 10 years.

“It’s disgraceful that the federal government could make a whopping $66 billion profit off of students who are already strapped for cash,” Murphy said in a statement. “Right now, it’s harder than ever for young people to afford the cost of college, and instead of profiting off this struggle, the government should act on the bigger problem: rapidly increasing costs of college.”

Blumenthal agreed.

“I was astonished and appalled by this GAO report, which confirms that the government has continued to make humongous profits off college students _ adding to the crushing mountain of debt that drags down America’s future,” Blumenthal said.

The two Connecticut lawmakers and seven other U.S. senators committed to wring government profits out of student loans and address the $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt they say is crushing families and putting a strain on the economy.

“It is past time that we start investing in students and stop profiting off their backs,” Blumenthal said. “Exploiting American students _ indeed condemning them to insurmountable debt _ is unwise and unconscionable.”

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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