Higher Ed. Coalition Urges Congress to Prioritize Graduate Education
More than 30 higher education organizations have penned a joint letter to leading members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Education and Labor, seeking increased congressional attention being allocated towards graduate and professional students.
The letter, addressed to Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions , and Bobby Scott, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, called for making graduate education a bigger priority and sought increased federal investment into graduate and professional students.
The letter explicitly highlighted recent decisions on student loans taken by Congress resulting in an increase in the cost of receiving graduate and professional education. The organizations criticized Congress for eliminating in-school interest subsidies for graduate students, resulting in higher interest rates.
“This trend is unacceptable and economically self-defeating for our nation as we look to globally compete with the most innovative and skilled workforce,” the letter reads. “Federal aid is essential to ensure access, affordability, and ultimately graduation.”
The letter assumes importance as Congress considers reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. The act originally created various financial aid programs for students and allocates resources to colleges and universities across the nation.
The organizations have urged Congress to strengthen programs that provide critical aid to graduate students by retaining strong graduate student loan options, including the Grad PLUS program.