legislation amends the Higher Education Act to allow graduate and professional students to be eligible to receive a Federal
Direct Subsidized Loan.
APA will be advocating for other policies that support
graduate study as part of the Reauthorization of the Higher
Education Act. First authorized in 1965, the act provides the
framework for federal investment in post-secondary education.
Among its provisions are need-based financial assistance in
the form of student loans and grants, including the Pell Grant,
Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Work-Study, and the
Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Program. The
act was last reauthorized in 2008. It currently supports approximately $133.8 billion in financial assistance for roughly 12. 9
How is APA advocating for the need for this change?
APA members and staff have promoted this legislation on
Capitol Hill through a series of visits, asking for support of the
POST GRAD Act. The legislation has nearly 50 co-sponsors.
The prospect of increased debt creates real barriers for
students considering graduate study. In its messaging, APA
emphasizes that the need for psychologists remains high, with
approximately 97 million people in the United States living
in areas where there is less access to mental health services. In
addition, APA says that psychologists’ research findings are
put to work to address problems in schools, businesses, health
care, the environment and much more.
APA also emphasizes that excessive graduate student debt
has a negative impact on our national economy. New studies
have shown that student debt will have a ripple effect on many
key components of the economy, including homeownership,
small business creation, retirement security and career choices,
with fewer students considering more low-paying but critically
needed public service careers.
Where can I find out more?
For more insights on student debt, visit APA’s “Affording
and Repaying Grad School” toolkit at www.apa.org/apags/
resources/ affording-repaying.aspx. Also see the April 2016
Monitor article “Got debt?” Access the article through our
digital edition at www.apa.org/monitor/digital. ■
Median debt for psychology graduate
students in health service provider fields
is $120,000 and is $72,500 for those in
research and other fields.
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