How to Pay for Medical School Loans without Breaking the Bank

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Medical degrees are without a doubt the most expensive degree one can pursue. The total investment for a medical degree is approximately $1 million considering accumulating interest and low resident wages. Medical school graduates with loans have an average debt of $161,772, according to the Graduate Student Debt Review. Here are some options to consider on paying off loans and saving more money
 
  1. Forbearance for Residents: Residents can sometimes defer loan payments until becoming an attending physician, however stay cautious of accumulating interest in this period.
  2. Income Based Repayment (IBR): The federal government allows you to make loan payments based on your income level. Most residents qualify to make smaller payments during residency without getting hit hard with interest accumulation.
  3. Public Service Loan Forgiveness: It is possible to combine loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan only for direct loans or if working for qualified employers such as nonprofits or federal agencies. You also might be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) with multiple repayment plan options.
  4. Income-Driven Repayment: There are ways to get federal loan forgiveness under the IBR and PSLF programs. For example with PSLF, if you make 120 qualifying payments, leftover debt is forgiven apart from taxes on the loan and if you are facing many years of medical training, the overall savings could be huge.
  5. Refinance: Just like refinancing your mortgage, you can frequently find better rates on your medical school loans sometimes without having to provide collateral.
Physicians should consider all repayment plan options in order to save potentially thousands of dollars and pay off medical loans faster, which will allow them to focus more on care than on financial burdens.
 

Written by Alison Killian

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Alison Killian is a recent graduate of Grove City College who majored in Business Management and minored in Biology Studies. She is a contributor to Medical Groups and passionate about all facets of healthcare. She plans on continuing work in the healthcare field especially in management. She is very interested in healthcare innovation and finding ways to improve the current system. She hopes to go back to school in a few years to earn a degree in medicine.