New WA Financial Aid Program Will Offer Low-Interest Loans for Graduate Students, Not Just Undergrads

"Washington is developing a new low-interest loan program to make it cheaper for college students to borrow money for school — and in an unusual move, the state is making it available to some graduate students, too," The Seattle Times reports.

..."Jill Desjean, senior policy analyst with the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said graduate studies are primarily financed by debt. 'Of course the earnings are expected to be higher if you have an advanced degree, but that varies greatly by the degree that you have,” Desjean said. “It’s still a lot to borrow.'

Data gathered by The Institute for College Access and Success shows that 47% of Washington’s four-year college graduates finished school with debt in 2020 — the state estimates that its more than 800,000 borrowers currently carrying debt owe an average of $33,500. Those numbers are even higher for graduates with advanced degrees: The Education Data Initiative says the country’s average debt for graduate degree holders was $71,000 in 2016 — increasing to roughly $82,800 when their undergraduate loan debt was included.

Desjean pointed out that policymakers at the federal level also seem disinterested in expanding financial aid offerings for graduate students — with the occasional proposal to scale back or eliminate existing programs altogether.
'Generally, support from the federal level is not a priority,' Desjean said."
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Publication Date: 4/26/2022

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