Letter: Limit loans for graduate students

The Stony Brook University campus on Oct. 22,

The Stony Brook University campus on Oct. 22, 2013. Stony Brook was among the first eight universities and community colleges across the state selected for START-UP NY, where expanding companies pay no taxes for up to 10 years if they locate on campuses. (Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

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The Obama administration has been looking to reduce student-loan debt because the default rate for students has reached amazingly high levels.

According to a report by the New America Foundation, compared with 2004, students graduating with an advanced degree have 43 percent more debt. The largest increase in outstanding debt was for students who graduated with a master of arts, seeing their debt rise by 54 percent to an average of $58,539.

The federal government capped what undergraduates can borrow, but allows graduate students unlimited amounts. If the government truly wants to reduce the default rates, it could start by limiting the amount graduate students can borrow.

The government also could impose restrictions for loans to certain graduate programs that have much higher default rates. This would allow for more loans in fields such as medicine and health sciences, which typically have higher costs but also higher probabilities that loans will be repaid.

James Pepe, Bellport
 

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