In response to the September 2006 article "Student Debt Still on the Rise," I strongly feel that students' debt will not be declining any time in the near future. As stated in the APA's 2003 Doctorate Employment Survey, 25 percent of doctoral graduate students relied on personal resources and family support, 31.5 percent on university assistantships, 28.5 percent on loans and less than 5 percent on grants.
As a doctoral student in psychology, I depend solely on loans for my tuition's costs. I am blessed with a graduate assistantship; however, the multiple obligations that an independent student has to cover in a metropolitan school forced me to take on a full-time employment position in order to sustain graduate school. The stress and difficulties of having to juggle a full-time job and a full-time academic load can significantly affect the quality of work mandated for graduate students and impede scholarly productivity. Furthermore, the split between full-time job and school prolongs the overall program's length, which contributes to additional debts.
As education costs continue to escalate and financial resources for graduate students continue to plummet, I wonder how many potential qualified doctoral students will avert the profession of psychology. I wonder what accomplishments, advancements and contributions the profession has allowed to slip away due to limited funding for its doctoral students.
I propose that the APA, as an accrediting body, explore the option of a possible mandate for the availability of economically sufficient graduate assistantships to all doctoral-level students as a prerequisite to accreditation. I further beseech the profession of psychology, graduate psychology programs and APA to closely scrutinize the existing problem and to devise possible options to alleviate students' financial burdens.
Editor's note: APA's Committee on Accreditation recently adopted new regulations that will require programs to publish information about tuition costs, among other data. See "New disclosure requirements help students compare psychology programs" for details. Students who want to participate in APA's advocacy efforts for graduate education can visit APA Education/Advocacy.
In "Finding the right internship fit" of the November 2006 gradPSYCH, Nadine Kaslow, PhD, was misidentified as a board member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). Kaslow is a board member emeritus and handles APPIC's Informal Problem Resolution and Consultation program. She is also a former APPIC chair.
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