Due to big changes to federal financial aid programs taking place this coming July 1, all students currently seeking and using financial aid will be affected.
While some students do have the funds available outside of financial aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education an estimated 12.8 million college students received financial aid from the federal government in 2009.
This was a 16 percent growth over five years, and in 2009, President Obama put into motion the Recovery Act as part of his education reform campaign in the hopes of keeping the money flowing to the Department of Education and to increase graduation rates of college students.
New changes coming this summer that would result in only allowing graduate students to receive unsubsidized Stafford loans, and to quit paying interest on subsidized Stafford loans during recent graduates grace-period are already causing students to rethink plans for after graduation.
“These changes require me to reconsider all of my future plans,” said Amy Day, senior English major. “I was considering graduate programs that provide teaching stipends, but now it looks like I will only be able to consider this type of option.”
Not only do these changes affect future graduate students, but they affect current graduate students as well.
“I don’t agree with these changes because the majority of students going to graduate school probably don’t work, so where are they expecting this money to come from?” said Stephanie Kimbrel, a graduate nurse practitioner.
Recent legislation changes will require all nurse practitioners to receive their Ph.D before they can practice by 2015. This means that a large majority of current nursing students will be required to continue on with their education after they receive their undergraduate degree. Because of this change, Washburn is also implementing a new Ph.D program enrolling this fall.
“Look at all of the types of jobs that require post undergraduate degrees like nurses, social workers, professors,” said Kimbrel. “How does the government expect them to be able to work full time and meet the demands of a graduate program?”
When it comes to students graduating now, not only will they be required to immediately start paying the interest on any subsidized students loans they have accrued, but if they have plans to move on to a graduate program they will need to find resources and jobs available to pay for interest immediately accruing on any loans they receive from the federal government.
“I might have thought twice before starting a program had this happened prior, but I think when it comes right down to it I still would have done it regardless,” said Kimbrel.
These changes will require all graduating seniors to reconsider their future plans.