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Dental groups applaud POST GRAD Act

Bill would allow graduate, professional students to receive Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans

September 29, 2021

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Organized Dentistry Coalition is supporting legislation that would allow graduate and professional students with financial need to receive Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, which are currently only available to undergraduate students.

In a Sept. 28 letter to Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the dental groups thanked the lawmaker for introducing HR 4631, the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add Debt Act, or POST GRAD Act.

If enacted, the POST GRAD Act would reinstate eligibility for graduate and professional students in need to use federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans. These loans have slightly better borrowing terms than the educational loans available to graduate and professional students, such as the federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Grad PLUS Loans. The interest rates are generally lower, and the Department of Education pays the interest that accumulates while borrowers are in school, during a grace period, and during a period of deferment.

“The vast majority of dental students use federal student loans to pay for dental school,” groups wrote. “Over 75% use federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and another 72% use federal Grad PLUS Loans — either as a standalone financing mechanism or to make up the difference between what the Direct Stafford did not cover.”

The ADA sent an Aug. 17 letter to Rep. Chu on the same issue.

Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.