Fewer people may pursue doctoral and master degree programs due to a one-two punch of Republican-introduced legislation and the new tax code, policy experts say.
"You're seeing a broader-based attack on higher education as it is now," said Jonathan Fansmith, director of government relations at the American Council on Education. "It's a wholesale onslaught."
In a rewrite of the Higher Education Act, House Republicans propose to restrict how much graduate students can borrow and the ways in which they can repay their loans. The bill, called the Prosper Act and introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., would also end federal work study for graduate students and all student loan forgiveness plans. At the same time, the bill would make the FAFSA form, which students use to apply for financial aid, easier to understand and available on mobile apps.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the legislation, but it still needs to go pass the full House and Senate.