The AAMC is deeply concerned with an ongoing federal trend of cutting student aid, specifically graduate and professional student programs. In recent years, policymakers have considered several proposals that threaten financial aid for medical students:
- February 2016 – For the second time, President Obama proposes capping Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) at undergraduate levels, all but excluding medical students from the program;
- September 2015 – Congress plans phase-out of all graduate and professional students from the Perkins Loan program, a fixed, low-interest loan for students with "exceptional" financial need;
- January 2015 – Senators introduce a bill that would limit the amount of federal student loans, which would force many medical students to take out less-favorable private loans to cover the full cost of attendance; and
- August 2011 – The Budget Control Act of 2011 eliminates in-school interest subsidies for graduate and professional students, increasing repayment for medical students between $10,000 and $20,000 over the life of their loans.
Using social media and other online advocacy tools is an impactful way you can support efforts to combat these proposals, help protect your interests, and advance policies that would ultimately benefit medical students. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are tools already at your fingertips. Follow Atul Grover (@AtulGroverMD) and “MedEd Matt” (@MatthewShick) on Twitter to see examples of how to effectively advocate for medical education through social media.
Many online advocacy campaigns exist to help inform lawmakers of the significant impact proposed cuts to financial aid have on students. The AAMC supports many of these campaigns, including:
- Student Aid Alliance #SaveStudentAid campaign
- National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS) #GradsHaveDebt2 campaign
- The American Bar Association #Loan4Giveness campaign
As you start on your medical education journey, consider supporting advocacy movements by using these hashtags on social media with a message about why you are choosing a career in medicine.