Graduate students will unite at Texas Tech and around the country to express their concerns about shouldering a disproportionate amount of student loan debt with Grads Have Debt 2 National Call Congress Day!
Stop by the Graduate Student Center for some hot cocoa and snacks and learn more about the national Grads Have Debt 2 campaign to inform Members of Congress and increase public awareness about graduate-professional student loan issues.
Congress needs to hear from graduate students! We'll have phones and scripts available In the Graduate Student Center so that you can call Members of Congress and express your grad student loan concerns. We'll also be gathering graduate students' stories and points of concern to include in a letter to be sent to our state and national representatives. The Graduate Student Center is in the west-wing basement of the Administration Building (Rooms 40 & 41).
For the first time in history, graduates are charged a higher rate than undergraduates for unsubsidized Stafford loans and since 2012 have been ineligible for subsidized Stafford loans. Such Congressional measures threaten to widen the already large debt load difference between Master's ($52K), Doctoral ($72K), and Professional ($113K) students and undergrads ($24K).
Graduate and professional students have higher debt burdens, on average, than undergraduates since they often carry debt from their undergraduate studies into their graduate studies. They are also typically older than undergraduate students and no longer have parental support; and instead may have families of their own to support. Despite these challenges, graduate and professional student debt has been paid little attention in the conversation about national student loan debt, and recent political efforts continue to strip away loan options for graduate and professional students, which increases their debt levels.
In November, Daniel Yates, SGA Graduate VP, travelled to Washington DC to discuss the graduate debt issue with congressmen representing Texas. Following this lead, TTU's Student Senate then passed Senate Resolution 49.48 supporting the Grads Have Debt 2 campaign. Today, Texas Tech graduate students will join others from universities across the country to amplify our message to Congress: Grads Have Debt 2!
The purpose of the campaign, created by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) and its members, is to educate legislators and the public about postgraduate student debt and interest rate inequality and to give voice to graduate and professional students in the student loan conversation. The goals for today's Grads Have Debt 2 National Call Congress Event are to
- Reduce interest rates and caps on federal student loans available to graduate-professional students
- Unify the undergraduate and graduate rates to reverse the current inequalities
- Restore graduate-professional student eligibility for subsidized Stafford loans
For updates on this national campaign, which is organized by the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS), like GradsHaveDebt2 on Facebook.
Student debt in the United States has been an ever-increasing problem in recent years, and is now estimated to exceed all American credit card debt. Massive student debt hurts all Americans as it prevents students and their families from being active participants in the economy by limiting their ability to invest in major purchases like buying homes and cars, starting small businesses, and starting families. Simultaneously, it creates individual challenges for students and their families who struggle to find the financial support necessary to attain a higher education degree.
If you cannot join us in the Graduate Student Center today, you can still call your Congress using the Grads Have Debt 2 call-in script and looking up contact information for your representatives. These resources make it easy:
- Download the call-in script here: http://www.gsac.ttu.edu/wp-content/uploads/GHD2-CallScript.pdf
- Look up contact info for your US Senators here: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- And for your US Representatives here: www.house.gov/representatives/
After you call, post a message and/or photo on the Graduate Student Advisory Council and Grads Have Debt 2 Facebook pages! Use hashtags #GradsHaveDebt2, #NAGPS, and #TTUgsac. You can also tweet to @TTUgsac and @NAGPS. Let's keep the photos, posts, and tweets going all day!
Graduate education continues to be more expensive at a time when we need more advanced degrees than ever. The Department of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs requiring graduate degrees will grow nearly 20% in the next five years. These jobs will be crucial for reinvigorating the economy and continuing America’s growth; yet, the federal government continues to send signals to American students that graduate school and debt is not important enough for their investment. Today, graduate students at Texas Tech University will work to change this trajectory by speaking up about the benefits of graduate education and the need that graduate and professional students face. Graduate education will continue to help our nation achieve its highest potential and we ask that Congress take action to reduce graduate student debt to ensure this is possible.
To learn more about NAGPS's Grads Have Debt 2 campaign, you can also download their tool-kit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/