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LOANS TO STUDENTS OF OPTOMETRY

TUESDAY, MAY 26, 1964

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:17 a.m., in room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Paul G. Rogers, of Florida, presiding.

Mr. ROGERS of Florida. The subcommittee will come to order, please. The hearings today are being held on H.R. 8546 by Mr. Roberts of Alabama, and 30 identical bills which would amend title 7 of the Public Health Service Act to extend the student loan program, recently established for medical students under Public Law 88-129, to students of optometry.

The bills and sponsors are as follows:
H.R. 8522, by Mr. Patman of Texas.
H.R. 8560, by Mr. Hagen of California.
H.R. 8562, by Mr. Rogers of Texas.
H.R. 8586, by Mr. Baker of Tennessee.
H.R. 8588, by Mr. Cameron of California.
H.R. 8603, by Mr. Harrison of Wyoming.
H.R. 8607, by Mr. Patten of New Jersey.
H.R. 8658, by Mr. Thomson of Wisconsin.
H.R. 8665, by Mr. Cleveland of New Hampshire.
H.R. 8678, by Mr. Thompson of New Jersey.
H.R. 8679, by Mr. Trimble of Arkansas.
H.R. 8702, by Mr. Garmatz of Maryland.
H.R. 8704, by Mr. Leggett of California.
H.R. 8705, by Mr. McIntire of Maine.
H.R. 8721, by Mr. Glenn of New Jersey.
H.R. 8753, by Mr. Joelson of New Jersey.
H.R. 8758, by Mr. Anderson of Illinois.
H.R. 8775, by Mrs. Hansen of Washington.
H.R. 8783, by Mr. Van Pelt of Wisconsin.
H.R. 8788, by Mr. Halpern of New York.
H.R. 8791, by Mr. Fisher of Texas.
H.R. 8794, by Mr. Shipley of Illinois.
H.R. 8795, by Mrs. Dwyer of New Jersey.
H.R. 8917, by Mr. Laird of Wisconsin.
H.R. 9038, by Mr. Dorn of South Carolina.
H.R. 9108, by Mr. Macdonald of Massachusetts.
H.R. 9182, by Mr. Grabowski of Connecticut.

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H.R. 9313, by Mr. Robison of New York.
H.R. 11095, by Mr. Bass of Tennessee.
H.R. 11306, by Mr. Clark of Pennsylvania.
(H.R. 8546 and departmental reports follow:)

[H.R. 8546, 88th Cong., 1st sess.)
A BILL To amend title VII of the Public Health Service Act so as to extend to qualified

schools of optometry and students of optometry those provisions thereof relating to student loan programs Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) section 740 (a) of the Public Health Service Act is amended by striking out “or dentistry" and inserting “dentistry or optometry”.

(b) Section 740 (b) (4) of such Act is amended by striking out “or doctor of osteopathy" and inserting "doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of optometry or an equivalent degree".

(c) Section 741 (b) of such Act is amended by striking out "doctor of osteopathy" and inserting "doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of optometry or an equivalent degree”.

(d) Section 741(c) of such Act is amended by striking out “or dentistry" and inserting "dentistry, or optometry".

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EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,

Washington, D.O., May 26, 1964.
Hon. OREN HARRIS,
Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
House of Representatives,
Washing

on, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request of September 25, 1963,
for the views of the Bureau of the Budget on H.R. 8522, a bill to amend title
VII of the Public Health Service Act in order to make students of optometry
eligible for student loans thereunder.

In his report to you on this bill, the Secretary of Health, Education, and
Welfare opposes the enactment of H.R. 8522. The Bureau of the Budget con-
curs in the views expressed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare
and, accordingly, recommends against the enactment of H.R. 8522.
Sincerely yours,

PHILLIP S. HUGHES,
Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE,

May 25, 1964.
Hon. OREN HARRIS,
Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Repre-

sentatives, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This letter is in response to your request of September
25, 1963, for a report on H.R. 8522, a bill to amend title VII of the Public
Health Service Act in order to make students of optometry eligible for student
loans thereunder.

The bill would extend to schools and students of optometry the loan provisions of the Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1963, part o of title VII of the Public Health Service Act. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare would be authorized to enter into agreements with public or other nonprofit schools of optometry for the establishment and operation of student loan funds. The schools could make loans up to $2,000 per year to students in need of the amount thereof in order to pursue a full-time course of study leading to a degree of doctor of optometry or an equivalent degree. Loans would be repayable over a 10-year period, beginning 3 years after the student ceases to pursue a full-time course of study. The present law provides for the establishment and operation of such loan funds only at schools of medicine, osteopathy, and dentistry.

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The costs of a medical or dental education exceed those of an optometric education by a substantial amount. The length of training for medicine and dentistry is much longer: 4 years of training after college, plus a year of internship for all physicians and an increasing number of dentists, and, for the majority of physicians an additional 2 to 4 years of residency. Optometry usually requires only 3 years of training after 2 years of college, and no internship or residency.

Furthermore, the medical and dental students not only spend a longer period of time in training, but also the annual tuition charges at schools of medicine and dentistry are considerably higher, on the average, than those at schools or optometry.

All 10 accredited schools of optometry are eligible to participate in the national defense student loan program, which provides for loans up to $1,000 a year, or a total of $5,000. In fiscal year 1963, 174 students in 7 of the schools of optometry received loans averaging $628 per student. These students represented about 14 percent of all optometry students, whereas only about 8 percent of the total full-time students at institutions participating in the student loan program received loans. Because of the relatively lower costs of education to optometry students,

because of the adequacy of the national defense student loan program to meet their requirements, we believe that the new loan program for medical and dental students should not now be extended to cover students of optometry. We therefore recommend against the enactment of H.R. 8522.

We are advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,

ANTHONY J. CELEBREZZE, Secretary. Mr. ROGERS of Florida. At present, the ratio of optometrists to population is 1 to 11,000. Just to maintain the present ratio of 1 to every 11,000 in view of our rapidly expanding population would require graduation of over 1,000 students per year. Yet in recent years, the number of graduates of schools of optometry has declined to less than 500 per year.

Under the amendments made by these bills, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare would be authorized to enter into agreements for the establishment and operation of student loan funds, permitting loans up to $2,000 for any academic year or its equivalent to full-time students of optometry. These loans would be made at a rate of interest not exceeding either 3 percent per annum or the going Federal rate and would be repayable over a 10-year period.

Our first witness this morning will be the Honorable Wright Patman, the distinguished chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee.

STATEMENT OF HON. WRIGHT PATMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS

Mr. PATMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There are times when the opinion of the average well-informed citizen on a particular subject to be as reliable as that of the acknowledged specialists and experts. This may be particularly true with respect to what is attempted in H.R. 8522 and its companion bills, because the passage of time plus numerous hearings have encrusted the issue with both statistics and emotion, and I do not intend to add to your burden in either category.

However, there is no doubt in my mind that the man on the street is aware of two conditions—the increasing need for care of

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