Grad Students suffer under Obama’s Deal
Since I suspect its of relevance to the readers of this blog, and hasn’t been getting much attention, I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that some of the big losers in our glorious debt deal were those notorious fat-cats, America’s graduate students.
As part of the savings to trim the deficits, Congress would scrap a special kind of federal loan for graduate students. So-called subsidized student loans don’t charge students any interest on the principal of student loans until six months after students graduated…
For graduate students who qualify for the maximum amount of subsidized loans, it could tack several thousand dollars to the cost of going to school…
“With the elimination of the graduate interest subsidy, it is also clear that graduate and professional school students will be hard-hit in terms of their total indebtedness,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “Our members are disappointed to see the pullback in loan repayment incentives.”
I suspect this won’t affect Phd students as much as it will hurt masters, law, business, and med students. But there are plenty of Phd students who do take out loans, either because their school doesn’t pay them a stipend or living wage, or because they need to supplement their income for family reasons.
One of the things that has frustrated me most about this whole debate has been the tendency to talk about the “Left” as if it were purely devoted to abstract ideals (with pragmatic Obama willing to be an adult and compromise). I’m more of a fan of abstract ideals (also known as “having principles”) than Barack Obama. But lost in the whole narrative is the fact that this deal will materially hurt many of the people who form Barack Obama’s base; that its not just an abstract question. Obama isn’t just offending the sensibilities of much of his base, but hurting them financially.
Its important to remember, this money will continue to be spent. The cost is simply shifted onto the shoulders of students who are trying to start out their career. Nothing spells winning the future like saddling America’s youths will ever more debt. Wall Street crashed the economy, so its only fair that people getting a masters in Comparative Literature pay the price.