The Saga of a Medical Student and his Financial Struggle
In 2014, the Association of American Medical Colleges conducted a survey and revealed that an average medical school graduate faces a debt of about $183,000. While this number came as a shock for most people in the industry, this is indeed the reality of medical education.
It is true that physicians earn high incomes when they graduate successfully out of medical school but that does not make repaying loans easy. Increasing costs and decreasing physician reimbursements have made the financial facet of the medical profession an important factor to be considered before taking the plunge.
Medical school expenses start right from enrolling into an onsite MCAT training course or review course and goes on to until they graduate successfully.
Ways to handle the burden of student loan
- Make loan repayment a priority: Upon graduation, medical school students are often tempted to upgrade their car or move into a better home. However, the first item on the priority list must be to repay off the loan as this helps to save the interest amount. Make a repayment plan and avoid the high interest payments strategically.
- Consider refinancing your loan: If you have private student loans that cost you more than 9% interest rate, then refinancing is a good option. By dropping the interest loan from 9% to 6% or 5% with another provider, students can gain significant financial benefits. To be able to avail a refinancing loan, students must have a good credit score and must be prepared to pay off the interest at the right time.
- Opt for federal loan forgiveness programs and scholarships: The Association of American Medical Colleges has published a list of loan forgiveness programs that is specific to each state. Have a look through the list to check your eligibility for the program and the conditions to be satisfied in order to leverage its benefits. These programs can be availed by a medical school newbie, resident students as well as by students who are looking out for a job after graduation.
- Offer your services to the Military: Offer your services to the military and have them pay your tuition fees and also provide you with a stipend during your resident years. Students who draw agreement with the military for a specific number of years are also offered grants. Generally, the number of service years varies between 3 and 5 and during this period students will be expected to treat the people serving the country.
Experts recommend students to enter the onsite MCAT training course phase with a financial plan in place. This helps smooth sailing through the medical school years and later on too.