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Graduate School Loans Targeted In Debt Deal

This article is more than 11 years old.

Within hours of its crucial deadline, a bill aimed at avoiding default goes before the U.S. Senate Tuesday. House lawmakers voted Monday to raise the nation's debt limit and cut federal spending.

Among other provisions, the plan would also increase Pell grants for low-income undergraduate college students by eliminating subsidized student loans to most graduate and professional students. That's likely to have a larger impact in Massachusetts — a leader in graduate education — than in nearly any other state.

Currently, a graduate or professional student with financial need can get up to $8,500 a year in subsidized student loans. Basically, the government pays the interest while the student is in school.

Under the new debt plan, interest is going to accrue while the student is in school, adding to the amount the student will eventually have to pay back.

For individual students, that could add thousands of dollars to the final cost of their graduate or professional education, according to Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent College and Universities in Massachusetts.

Doherty spoke with Morning Edition's Bob Oakes about the ramifications of the debt deal for graduate students.

This program aired on August 2, 2011.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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