There are thousands of graduate students working at state universities in
That is, until next year when those over the age of 26 will be required to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The
The president of the
The cost is obviously the biggest concern." But the chair of health policy and management at
However, even a small cost increase should be taken seriously, as the financial strain of graduate education can be debilitating (and it's getting worse).
As of 2015, graduate school debt accounted for roughly 40 percent of the
And some students' employment contracts aren't renewed, forcing them to take out more loans.
Moreover, there are tremendous opportunity costs associated with attending graduate school.
While graduate assistantships help, students still forfeit much higher salaries to stay in school -- a problem that's compounded for those pursuing their doctorates, which often take more than eight years to complete. And that's assuming the student finishes at all -- the attrition rate in American PhD programs is more than 50 percent.
All of these reasons explain why, of the more than 3,700 graduate employees who qualified for subsidies last year, 2,250 took advantage of them. If health care costs increase when the subsidies are dropped, the state should find a way to help graduate students make up the difference.
Graduate students handle many essential responsibilities at a university for very little pay -- from grading papers to lecturing to conducting research. They should have access to affordable health insurance.
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