The AAMC and other health professions education and higher education organizations endorsed the reintroduction of the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act (POST GRAD Act, H.R. 4631) on July 27 [refer to Washington Highlights, June 28, 2019].
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) on July 27, would make graduate students eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans again. Graduate student eligibility for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans was terminated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25).
On July 1, the AAMC joined other members of the Federation of Association of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP) in a letter endorsing the bill. The letter stated, “Our nation faces a shortage of health care professionals, and a strong federal role is critical to educating and sustaining a future health care workforce that will collectively meet the nation’s evolving and emerging health care needs. In addition, COVID-19 has highlighted the need to have a robust health workforce aimed at caring for vulnerable patients.”
“Higher levels of debt can create barriers for students with limited means from pursuing graduate and professional degrees, and we applaud your work on the POST GRAD Act as it will lessen the loan debt for qualified students and help our nation develop a diverse, professional health care workforce that is prepared to provide Americans with access to high-quality health care services,” FASHP added.
Upon reintroduction of the bill, Rep. Chu released a statement noting that “we want our best and brightest students to succeed in fields such as healthcare, mental health, and school administration. … This bill will ensure all graduate students, regardless of their or their family’s financial situation, can access Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.”