Tag Archives: Debt

ASPPB response to APAGS Thoughts on EPPP Step 2

I have received a response to the previous post about the EPPP Step 2. With permission, I am sharing here. I welcome your thoughts and comments below or you can email me directly. Please title the email: EPPP-2 Blog.

Thanks,
Christine


 

Dear Dr. Jehu:

ASPPB appreciates the time and effort you took to communicate APAGS’ thoughts about the development of the EPPP Step 2.  We would like to respond to your comments in an effort to continue the dialog with APAGS about the EPPP Step 2.  We hope you will share this response with the APAGS membership and other colleagues as you see fit.

ASPPB’s mission is to enhance and support our member jurisdictions (that is the psychology licensing boards in the US and Canada) in fulfilling their goal of public protection.  We believe that the development of the EPPP Step 2 is a necessary and critical step in serving that mission and will prove to be a very helpful tool in protecting the public and in advancing our profession.  As the APA Board of Education Affairs recently stated,

“Embarking on this important initiative not only reflects recommended practices but also helps to enhance the profession of psychology and advances the trust society places in the profession.”

In your statement, you commented,

This exam may feel like a massive surprise to students and Early Career Psychologists. Unbeknownst to many of us, our field has been moving toward competency assessment since the Competencies Conference in 2002 and subsequent publications highlighting the importance and value in competency assessments (e.g. Rodolfa, Bent, Eisman, Nelson, Rehm, & Ritchie, 2005). During the 2013 updates to the APA Commission on Accreditation’s Guidelines and Principles, the APAGS Committee provided a comment that supported the development of competencies based assessment, but had concerns about cost, the process of assessing competencies, and the fair implementation of a new exam to psychology license applicants.

We appreciate that you have provided a context to the EPPP Step 2, by discussing the competency movement in psychology.  As ASPPB has discussed the EPPP Step 2, we have tried to state that this examination was not developed in a vacuum, but rather it is another step in this competency movement in psychology.  As most know, the competency movement in psychology is well documented in the education and training literature.  For those unfamiliar with the movement, we have a brief overview of the competency movement and how it relates to the EPPP Step 2 on our website.

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It’s Time to Tell Congress We Need Fairer Graduate Student Loans

Once the thrill of being accepted into a graduate program wears off, the reality of how to finance graduate school sets in. Right now we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and cut unnecessary costs quite a bit.

postgrad-image

What’s the issue? For nearly 50 years, both undergraduate and graduate students were eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program with the goal of making all levels of post-secondary education accessible to students with financial need. In 2012, however, changes in the Budget Control Act eliminated eligibility for graduate students. In other words, graduate student borrowers could no longer get subsidized loans, like Stafford loans. As a student taking out these loans, your interest is now accruing from day 1.

This change has increased the cost of borrowing significantly and may be putting graduate study out of reach for many students with financial need, especially underrepresented groups. We’ve reported elsewhere on our latest data about psychology graduate student debt. As a result of increased costs, 75% of graduates delay saving for the future, 67% delay saving for retirement, and 57% delay purchasing a home (Stamm et al, 2015). Similarly, graduates may delay starting small businesses like independent practices as a result of their debt burdens. (Additional background is here.)

At the same time, the United States faces numerous health shortages and research voids, and so our choice is often to meet these national needs is to attend graduate school, despite the costs.

What’s our opportunity to act?  In December 2015, Representative Judy Chu, Democrat from the 27th District of California, introduced legislation that would restore the eligibility of graduate students for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program.

Representative Chu’s legislation would amend the Higher Education Act to restore the eligibility of graduate students to the Subsidized Loan Program, and lessen the significant debt burden that many students incur while pursuing advanced degrees.

APA is calling upon graduate students, educators, psychologists, and supporters to take immediate action.

What can I do? 

  1. Click here to tell Congress to support graduate students by asking your representative to cosponsor H.R. 4223.
  2. Fill out your contact information and our system will generate an email to your Representative today, asking them to cosponsor H.R. 4223, “the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act,” (POST GRAD Act).
  3. Add a personal note or story to the letter. If you need to overcome writer’s block, read this veteran’s story about his advocacy for bringing back the subsidy.
  4. When you’re done, post about your advocacy efforts on social media and share the link to this blog post with at least five people.

This legislation is an important step toward ensuring students have access to graduate level study, so take action now! Send a message to your Representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4223.  

Editor’s note: APAGS is extremely grateful to the Education Advocacy Team at APA for their efforts in getting this bill on Congress’s radar, drafting our support language, and mobilizing people in person and electronically.  Now it’s your turn!

Debt. Loans. Repayment. Terms likely to make any of us feel like….

Source: Self-portrait by user BrittneyBush on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

What can you do about your debt? Let us walk you through it. (Source: Self-portrait by BrittneyBush on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

…. and rush to click to another, safer page (Facebook!).

But whereas you can easily defer paying off your debt while still in school, you should not defer thinking about your debt and engaging in ongoing financial planning.

As in all cases, knowledge is power. Having access to accurate information about average debt loads and starting salaries is critical to ensure that you plan appropriately and have the best chances of managing your educational debt.

The cost of higher education continues to increase — not just in psychology but for most graduate student borrowers. Case in point: In 2012 the federal government stopped subsidizing student loans for graduate students, but we’re working on getting that subsidy restored through a bill introduced US Rep. Dr. Judy Chu! These increasing costs, compounded by the ever-escalating cost of living, are resulting in larger debt burdens for psychology graduate students.

Graduate Debt in Psychology: A Quantitative Analysis (Doran, Kraha, Reid Marks, Ameen, & El-Ghoroury) offers an up-to-date and comprehensive look at current debt and income levels among graduate students and early career psychologists (ECPs).

Here are some data highlights from the paper:

Debt Loads

  • The average debt for graduate students currently enrolled in a graduate program was $100,603.79 (Mdn = $80,000.00, SD = $77,623.76), with projected final debt loads of $129,717.56 (Mdn = $110,000.00, SD = $92,694.51).
  • Graduate students reported that they anticipated a final average debt load of $141,078.07 (Mdn = $120,000, SD = $97,811.72), including their debt from both undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Students seeking a Psy.D. degree (M = $173,239.29, Mdn = 160,000.00, SD = $78,711.10) reported higher levels of anticipated final debt than students seeking health-service Ph.D.’s (M = $111,590.14, Mdn = 76,500.00, SD = $96,561.01) and research/other Ph.D.’s (M = $68,684.21, Mdn = 72,500.00, SD = $43,977.33).
  • Early career psychologists reported that their final cumulative debt load (undergraduate and graduate) was an average of  $108,127.11 (Mdn = $98,000, SD = $73,817.32), which included debt from undergraduate and graduate study.

Income Levels

  • Early career psychologists reported that their average first year income was $63,260.85 (Mdn = $60,000.00, SD = $19,408.75).
  • They also reported an average current income of $74,577.83 (Mdn = $72,000.00, SD = $29,701.54).
  • 43.3% of ECPs indicated that their current salary was lower than what they expected to make at this stage of their careers.

Impact of Debt

  • Nearly half of all respondents experience significant financial stress.
  • As a result of education-related debt, graduate students delay retirement planning (65.7%), buying a home (62.5%), having children (49.3%), and getting married (31.8%).
  • ECPs also delay saving for the future (63.4%), retirement planning (56.7%), buying a home (42.5%), and having children (32.7%).

While this information can be overwhelming, it is important to keep track of your debt load and make sure you are informed about average salaries in your subfield or area. But how?

  • First, read our paper for full details.
  • Then, use student loan calculators (for example) to help you figure out what your average monthly payment will be based on your total debt and interest rate, so that you can plan accordingly.

If this article has made you fret about debt, don’t despair. We have compiled a few resources to help you learn more about managing your debt, loan repayment, and financial planning.

There are steps you can take at any point to begin to manage your debt. So break through that resistance, do your research, and start planning!

And just in case this article has caused you any distress (and you wish that you had followed your initial impulse to instead return to Facebook), please let us help you regulate yourself with a charming cat photo:

Source: A Geeky World. Some rights reserved.

My debt will never find me. (Source: A Geeky World, Some rights reserved).

Editor’s Note: This article is written by Jennifer Doran and Laura Reid Marks, co-authors of a major peer-reviewed analysis of graduate debt in psychology published this February. The same study made the cover of Monitor on Psychology’s April issue.

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

A Comprehensive List of Student Travel Awards to Attend APA’s 2016 Convention

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Let’s face it. You’re eager to travel to APA Convention in Denver, Colorado this August — and we’re eager to meet you! To make the journey less burdensome on your wallet, I compiled a list of travel offerings from across APA’s many departments, committees, divisions, and caucuses, as well as groups outside APA. In some cases, you’ll need to be a presenter, and in other cases, you won’t. This list is meant to complement our other strategies to save.  If you hear of any further opportunities, send details my way, and I’ll update this blog posting. [Last updated: 5/10/16] 

From APA

APAGS: Offers two grants/awards:

  • We’re offering 5-7 students the opportunity to participate in a yearlong leadership institute, which includes $500 in reimbursement to attend APA Convention. Applications due April 1. While this is not a convention travel award — and does come with significant commitment on your part — it is one way we’re hoping to expose students to all the important career leadership and networking opportunities that exist in Denver.
  • A second — albeit indirect — way to obtain up to $500 reimbursement for Convention is to be the one lucky nominator of a faculty member who is selected as the Raymond D. Fowler Awardee for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Graduate Students.  Applications due April 1.

American Psychological FoundationOffers two grants/awards:

Science DirectorateOffers around 100 Student Travel Awards of $300 each for graduate student travel to present research at APA Convention.  Applications due April 1. In addition, approximately seven students who applied for a travel award will receive an Ungerleider/Zimbardo Travel Scholarship of $300 from the American Psychological Foundation, helping a total of 107 students attend the convention.

Children, Adolescents and Families (CAF) Caucus: Offers two 2016 student travel awards in the amount of $300. Applications due March 31, 2016. Requirements are that: 1) the presentation is relevant to children, adolescents and/or families; and 2) the student is first (or solo) author on the presentation. Applicants are to provide: 1) a copy of their accepted APA presentation; 2) a brief (approximately 250 words) statement regarding their career aspirations; and 3) a letter of recommendation from their advisor or research mentor to the Elections/Communications Chair. Please forward information to Mary A. Fristad, PhD, ABPP at mary.fristad@osumc.edu or 1670 Upham Drive Suite 460G, Columbus, OH 43210-1250 (if mailed, must be received by March 31, 2016).

Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training in Psychology II Task Force: Offers five Travel Grants for Students of Color in Psychology up to $1000 each. Applications due May 15.  The award is to assist students to participate at professional conferences, including APA Convention. If the student is presenting at APA and commits to submitting their presentation for publication, they are eligible. Again, the award is not specifically for convention.

Committee on Socioeconomic Status: Offers one CSES Leadership Award (Student Category), which includes a $500 honorarium.  Applications have been extended to June 1 (and the change will soon appear online — Editor, 4/4/16). There is no requirement that it be used to attend Convention; however, awardees are recognized at Convention.

Office of International Affairs: Offers several awards of up to $500 to psychologists and psychology students based outside the U.S. and Canada, to be applied toward costs related to the APA Convention (e.g., travel expenses or registration fees). Applications due May 1.

From APA Divisions

Division 1, General PsychologyOffers 2 awards valued at $250 each, to Division 1 members. Applications due June 3. The student travel awards are to defray the cost of attending the 2016 Convention. You must be presenting at Convention under Division 1 (note: student does not need to be first author). Must be a student as of Spring 2016. Apply now! Contact Kasey Powers for questions.

Division 2, Society for the Teaching of Psychology: Offers the SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award, one student travel grant worth $1,250. Priority application deadline is April 1. The Award is designed to defray costs for a graduate student who wishes to attend the STP (Division 2) programming at Convention. Apply now! Contact Scott Brandhorst for questions.

Division 19, Military PsychologyOffers up to 12 travel awards at $750 each. Applications are due March 31. Apply now! Contact Kevin or Div19studentrep@gmail.com  (all three student reps have access to this email account and can answer questions).

Division 35, Society for the Psychology of Women:  The Division’s Section IV (Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns) Graduate Student Committee offers one travel award of $250. Applications due May 1. Priority will be given to applicants with accepted proposals to present at Convention and those demonstrating a commitment to work with LGBTQ populations from a feminist perspective through research, practice, teaching, and/or community involvement. Apply with a 2-3 page abbreviated CV; a one-page letter of recommendation from an advisor or someone otherwise in a position to speak on the applicant’s commitment to working with LGBTQ populations from a feminist perspective; if presenting, documentation of proposal acceptance; and a two-page personal statement addressing how attending convention will benefit your professional development and goals in relation to LGBTQ feminist psychology (Please include in your statement a brief discussion of your need for funding in order to attend APA Convention, and the lack of alternative funding sources to support conference travel). Submit application as one document via email to Mary T. Guerrant, Chair of the Section IV Graduate Student Committee.

Division 44, Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues: Offers a number of awards.

  • There will be 2 Dr. Richard A. Rodriguez Division 44 Student Travel Awards valued at $500 each. The award supports engagement with LGBT people of color by defraying travel cost.  Applications due May 25. Download the 2016 application form.
  • There will be 2 Mentoring Student Travel Awards at $500 each to support graduate student engagement with LGBTQ psychology. Applications due May 1.
  • There will be 13 “APA Division 44 Student and Early Career Psychologist Engagement Awards” of $250 each. Applications due May 2016 (exact date TBD). Recipients will be required to attend Convention and volunteer in the Division 44 suite for several hours. Applicants must be either (1) a student who is enrolled for the 2016-2017 academic year; or (2) an early career psychologist who completed a psychology training program within the last three years. All applicants must also be members of Division 44. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application via email by the end of June. Submit a cover letter, application form, and CV. Application form will collect contact information, presentation information (if applicable), past attendance to APA (if applicable), past experience with Div. 44 (if applicable), and, for students, their 2016-17 school, program, degree, and year. Your cover letter should provide a description of professional goals and how attending the conference will further these goals, especially as it relates to the research and practice of LGBT concerns in psychology. Application materials must be completed and submitted electronically to Skyler Jackson and Dawn Brown by the May deadline (TBD) in order to be considered.

Division 45, Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and RaceOffers 5 Student Travel Awards at $500 each to help assist with the cost of attending APA Convention. Applications due May 31, including a recommendation letter from your advisor or mentor Accepting the travel award commits the students to attending the entire Convention. You must be a current member of the Division. Consideration will be given to those students who demonstrate the following: Leadership Experience; Conference, Presentations, and Symposiums; Publications; Public Service and Community Activities; and Awards and Scholarships. Contact Division 45 with questions.

Division 49, Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy: Offers 6 student travel awards at $500 each to members. Applications due April 15. View this info sheet (PDF) for details.

Division 54, Society of Pediatric Psychology: Offers 5 student travel awards of $750 each. Applications due May 31.  The student travel award is available exclusively for travel to APA Convention.  Awards are available for graduate students, pre-doctoral interns, and post-doctoral fellows who are members of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and who are the first author of a poster or paper to be presented during Division 54 programming at the APA Convention this year. To apply, please submit the following as one complete PDF document to Dr. Eleanor Mackey at emackey@childrensnational.org: (1) a one- page cover letter including your name and e-mail address, your current training institution, your primary mentor on this submitted project, a statement confirming your Division 54 membership status, and information on any other sources of travel funding for your convention participation; (2) copy of your original proposal submitted for the APA conference; and, (3) your current curriculum vitae. Contact Dr. Eleanor Mackey with questions.

Division 56, Trauma Psychology:  Offers a $500 “International Student Travel Assistance Stipend.” Applications due May 1. The travel assistance stipend consists of $500 plus registration fee for the 2016 APA Convention, and is for international students enrolled in a graduate program in psychology, who are citizens of and live and study in developing countries or are citizens from developing countries studying in the U. S. and who will be presenting a trauma related poster, paper, symposium participant at the 2016 APA convention. Also included is a one year free membership in the Division of Trauma Psychology (Div. 56). This stipend is intended as partial support and matching grants or additional support from other institutions and organizations are also encouraged. Send a copy of your CV and proposal abstract that was accepted for the APA convention to: Elizabeth Carll, PhD, President-Elect of APA Trauma Psychology Division, and Chair of Div 56 International Committee, ecarll@optonline.net.

From Elsewhere

Psi Chi: Offers two awards.

  • The Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award provides one student with $1,200 in cash from Psi Chi and $1,500 in travel reimbursement from APA to Attend APA Convention. Applications were due February 1; keep this in mind for next year!
  • Unrestricted Travel Grants of up $1500 for up to 17 graduate students who are Psi Chi members. Apply for the funds before or after presenting at a conference such as APA Convention. Applications are due in early May.

 

Gone Fishing: Making Sense of Your Options for Graduate Study

If you’re fishing for a graduate program in psychology, the sea is plentiful. But how do you know which one you want?

At times, it is not clear how programs differentiate themselves from each other. Many applicants are not provided the tools to evaluate programs based on data that is available. Applicants might not know what makes one program a great fit for their professional goals, and another a not-so-great one.

APAGS understands that the choice to go to graduate school in psychology is very significant. We’re trying to take the guesswork out of helping you find your own ideal, high quality training. We’ve blogged about it before and presented about it locally and at regional psychological conferences. (In 2015, we’ll be presenting at EPA in March and RMPA in April.) Now we’re upping our game and making it even easier for you to get on-demand access to our best resources and professional perspectives on the graduate school selection process!

Recorded in November 2014 with the support of Psi Chi and our colleagues in the Education Directorate, the following APA webinar workshop helps you navigate the process of applying to graduate school in psychology as an informed consumer. You will learn (1) the similarities and differences between various degrees and psychology subfields; (2) how to evaluate schools based on several objective and subjective criteria; and (3) how to potentially afford and repay the cost of your graduate education in psychology. Questions and answers follow the formal presentation.

You can also view just the slides (PDF, 2MB) of this workshop, or slides and workshop transcript together (PDF, 1MB). For more resources on applying to, affording, and eventually repaying your graduate education in psychology — including some of the worksheets referenced in the recording —  please visit our APAGS resource page.

Happy fishing!