This week went by pretty fast, but I am finally getting somewhere and pretty excited about the stuff that I have found! My topic was narrowed down to cover how Congress reached the decision to get rid of subsidized federal student loans for graduate students (specifically medical students) but in order to get there, I have to study the debates about loans, grants and tax credits for undergraduate students. The two topics are connected because before the Budget Control Act of 2011 (yes, it is THAT recent!) was passed by the Obama administration, policymakers had to choose the ‘lesser of two evils’ — remove subsidized students loans or cut Pell Grant funding–and they chose the former.
Both of these choices will affect me at some point or another, so I am looking forward to finding the reasoning behind their thinking and why this was the only choice they were left with at the end. Medical school is expensive, barely any grants are offered, and student loan interest rates are 6.8%, double the amount they are for undergraduate students. Why so much debt for graduate students, who are probably already in debt from their undergrad?
I also came upon a series of blog posts by Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post did recently on why college tuition is high right now, and reading the complete series gave me access to a lot more references and news about tuition funding, that went along with Archibald’s Redesigning the Financial Aid System which I read last week. I also found out about the “Students Right To Know Before You Go Act” that I had never heard of before, and am now keen on following the progress of.
I still have to meet with Jane Currie, the history librarian at LUC so she can show me how to use the LexisNexis Congressional database. I tried figuring it out myself but it’s almost as confusing as the NCBI database that I have to use for my Bioinformatics class, so I can’t wait to get some help figuring it out!
I have also started building my bibliography on zotero.org and taking notes on information that I have come across. Next Tuesday I will be meeting with Dr. Shermer to discuss this article that she made me read by Chris Loss from 2005–I will be using this article about the rise in postwar education after the introduction of the GI Bill as a way of learning how to structure my own paper.