The AAMC May 18 joined 20 organizations representing medical, professional, and higher education communities in support of the re-introduction of the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt (POST GRAD) Act (H.R. 4223).
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), would make graduate students eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. Graduate student eligibility for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans ended with the signing of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25).
Upon reintroduction of the bill, Rep. Chu released a statement saying, “As our economy progresses, we must treat graduate degrees as a necessity for the workforce, and that means making graduate school more attainable and affordable. With demand for workers in fields like healthcare, mental health, and school administration growing, so is the need for more advanced degrees.”
Describing the desired potential of the bill, Rep. Chu explained, “This bill would fix that by treating graduate students like their undergraduate counterparts and once again making them eligible to receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. These loans do not accrue interest while the student is still in school, saving the student thousands of dollars over time. We want the best and the brightest, not just those that can afford it, to have access to postgraduate education. At a time when our country is facing a shortage of specialized workers in critical fields, we should be doing everything we can to encourage students to enter these fields, rather than creating additional barriers to higher education.”
To date, the bill gained 48 cosponsors, including 12 original cosponsors.
Meanwhile, the president’s budget request released May 23 (see related story) proposes eliminating in-school interest subsidies for all federal student loans, including those currently available for undergraduate students.