I recently read about a medical student who was seven years post grad, and her student debt ballooned from 250,000 to >550,000. I am currently a medical student paying the max of what is available as I attend a private, expensive school. I tried to avoid this in advance, but was not accepted to a school with lower tuition. I’m only just about halfway done and I’m trying to make the smartest decisions I can. My question is for both myself, the average student walking away from medical school with a degree and hundreds of thousand dollars of debt, and a classmate who recently left school. My friend and classmate was diagnosed with a poorly understood and incredibly disabiling heart condition recently had to quit school out of pure exhaustion (she barely managed to be awake 5-10 hours a day). She immediately had to start paying her loans back. Does any kind of illness loan foregiveness exist? As for those of us in school, what are the best things we can do NOW?
Congratulations on entering the medical field and helping others. There are some options available to help with student loan debt for doctors. Student loan debt has been attributed to thoughts of suicide by medical student and burnout.
Your options boil down to either picking a highly compensated speciality and making a lot of money to repay your loans, or work in a low paying job in the public service sector and hope to be eligible for public service student loan forgiveness. Click here for more information on that. You could explore the National Health Service Corps and give a commitment for a couple of years to work in a needy area in return for up to $50,000 of loan forgiveness.
There are some other loan repayment and forgiveness programs available through the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) web site, click here.
Your friend might be able to get some relief from her student loan debt is she is determined to be disabled.
By the way, according to the American Medical Association the average indebtedness of graduating medical students is $156.456. – Source.
You asked, ” As for those of us in school, what are the best things we can do NOW?” First you should explore the options available from the AAMC site, next you should see if the public service student loan forgiveness program makes any sense for you, finally, you’ll need to alter your dreams possibly to pursue a speciality that will pay enough money to satisfy the massive debt you will owe.