Issue Background

Student Debt

Under current law, there is a notable lack of federal student loan borrowing parity among health professions students.

While students of all other health professions have a lifetime borrowing limit (including loans received during undergraduate education) of $224,000, PAs are capped at $138,500. This forces PA students to seek alternative financing options, often with higher interest rates.

To begin addressing this issue, HR 1603, the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act, would raise the amount PA students are able to borrow through the Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan program from the current level of $20,500 per year to $40,000 in the first year of their program, $40,000 in the second year, and $15,000 in the third year.

By raising the annual borrowing limit for PA students, the need for higher-interest financing alternatives can be reduced, and a step can be taken toward the eventual goal of borrowing parity among health professions students.  

PAEA supports raising the amount that PA students can borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans program to $40,000 in their first year, $40,000 in their second year, and $15,000 in their third year.