$32,000. That’s the loan amount I graduated with from my undergrad institution. Now that I’m nearing the end of my graduate program, that number has jumped to $52,000! Oh, and let’s not forget about the interest that’s been accruing on those since day one. Now we’re at an estimated $58,000.
But wait! What about all the other expenditures that come with being a student—textbooks, parking permits, commuter costs, rent, groceries, and the basic necessities of living from one day to the next. These costs add up, but almost never get included when talking about college expenses.
Average Costs of CSD Degrees
What’s scarier … my loan costs are on the lower end of the spectrum for borrowers. Nationally, students can average $23-150K in debt after graduating from their master’s program. When breaking down the average tuition and fee costs…
- An audiology doctoral degree costs $76-150k for a typical four-year program.
- A speech-language pathology degree at a public university can range from $23-75k each year.
With more than 56,000 students currently enrolled in CSD programs, imagine what the grand total would be if we combined every single audiology and speech student’s loans into one giant cost. I cringe at the thought!
Why Should We Give a Hoot? Because Politics.
I wouldn’t have made it through my undergrad or grad career without the assistance of federal loans. And I know the same holds true for countless more of you.
So, how do student loans translate into politics? Queue the Higher Education Act (HEA). Basically, the HEA is a law designed to provide federal funding to post-secondary institutions which provide financial assistance to students through scholarship programs and low-interest loans, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.
Up for Grabs—Reauthorization of HEA
Currently, legislation is talking about reducing or capping financial assistance to colleges and universities through HEA. What?!
This is a problem for us audiology and speech students who must pursue a master’s or doctoral degree to not only meet educational requirements for certification, but to attain a job!
Without access to sufficient loans, there will be a tremendous decrease in the number of students pursuing these degrees, which only adds to the present shortage of both audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Employment demand for both is only increasing!
Speak Up. Be Heard.
Given the impact that these caps can have on the number of students entering the professions, it’s imperative that we unite our voices and let Congress know that students seeking an advanced degree in audiology or speech-language pathology must have access to appropriate levels of federally-funded student loans.
Let’s band together tomorrow, on October 10, for Student Advocacy Day, and each contact our legislators about this issue. It’s quick and easy! All you need to do is:
- Visit ASHA’s Take Action website.
- Review the Student Loan Issue Brief.
- Click the link to message your members of Congress.
- Enter the zip code for your permanent address (where you’re registered to vote!) and click “Check Zip Codes”—the system will automatically identify your members of Congress.
- Add a personal story or message to the pre-populated email and fill out your info.
- Click “Submit” and you’re done!
Together, let’s try to save some money—and the future of the professions!