By Pamela Murphy, MSW, AACOM Vice President of Government Relations
The Bad News
In 2011, Congress passed a law costing graduate students, in aggregate, $18.1 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a b.
That’s the equivalent of:
- A home for 91,500 American families.
- A new car for everyone living in Tucson, Arizona.
- A brand new laptop for each resident of the following cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Austin, and Jacksonville.
- A subscription to Netflix for every U.S. citizen for 6 months.
Prior to the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, graduate students with Federal Stafford Loans were eligible for subsidies that covered their student loan interest while they attended school. This bill changed the game for students, eliminating these subsidies, and costing thousands of additional dollars in loan payments, for a total of $18.1 billion.
Today, $18.1 billion represents less than half of 1% of the total federal budget for the United States, but for graduate students across the country, this added burden could strain their financial independence for decades.
The Good News
U.S. Representative Judy Chu (D-CA-27) recently introduced H.R. 4223, the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt (POST GRAD) Act to reinstate these subsidies, which would make graduate school more affordable for students looking to continue their education.
Earlier this month, AACOM joined health professions education organizations across the country in a letter endorsing Representative Chu’s bill and thanking her for standing up for graduate and professional students, but our voices aren’t enough.
Help spread the word about the POST GRAD Act by sharing the tweets below!
Thanks @RepJudyChu for sponsoring #POSTGRADAct & giving me the chance to pursue the career I want. #donewithdebt
Debt shouldn’t stand in the way between me and my dreams. TY @RepJudyChu for introducing #POSTGRADAct #donewithdebt