Monday, June 10, 2013

Debt

I think regular people truly don't recognize how much debt people get into during medical training.

For example, the tuition at Case Western Med School last year was $51,450.

Per year!

That's before you buy one book, put a roof over your head, or crack open even one package of ramen.

But that's a swanky private school. Thrifty students go to state schools, like Ohio State, where the tuition is...

$39,159

Yeah.

(Actually, there's a great page on the Ohio State website on how students saved money. My favorite one suggests living off free samples from Walmart. Although I think I had some better ideas.)

How much debt did you acquire during medical training?

54 comments:

  1. None. Was an engineer for 6 years beforehand and saved money then went to med school.

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    1. okay wow, that is something very impressive.

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  2. I guess I was fortunate. The US Air Force paid for my schooling and I owed them 4 years of service after. Got to do some things I never dreamed I would, like fly in helicopters and go to exotic (and dangerous) locations.

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    1. indeed you are very fortunate to experience those things..

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  3. None. In Spain, public university costs around 1000 euros per year (I had a scholarship 3 years so... about 3500 euros for me), though taxes in repeating subjects are being rised (there are so many things grammatically wrong about this sentence that I am going to cross my fingers and hope you understand it). And in residency you get a small salary, but you don't pay a thing.

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    1. Good for you; but the downside is, you live in Spain.

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  4. As a current med student I am more interested in how long it takes to pay off your debt.

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    1. It's variable on how you choose to do it. "Standard" is 10 year repayment, but that yields such a high payment it's just not doable. Many folks (myself included) choose to consolidate and spread out to a 30-year term to lessen the monthly payment. You pay more overall, but otherwise the burden is just too high for many people.

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  5. Barnsdale11, since you were worried about it, your English was fine. In the US, we'd tend to use "fees" for "taxes" in your sentence, but we'd understand "taxes," I think. And for "rised," we'd used "raised." Like so very many English verbs, the relationship between the verb and the participle is confusing and irregular. But the error is one of those that shows you really understand the usual "rules." Now if only English would actually use those rules.

    Your English is so much better than my Spanish! I wish I were half as fluent (though I lived in a Spanish speaking country for two years).

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  6. 4 years of optometry school racked up a bill somewhere over $140k. I feel fortunate now.

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  7. Undergrad + med school in Canada = 175,000.
    I am just grateful I did my schooling here and not in the states. I'm sure that number would be double.

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  8. I was extremely lucky--$2500/yr first and second years, then $5000/yr third a d fourth. State university, in-state tuition in the late 80's

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  9. Hah. I'm a veterinarian and graduated with $260,000. It is more than my mortgage. Also, I do not make 6 figures as a vet (some years we do as a household). I will never pay it off, because right now I'm in reduced payments due to income-based repayment.

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  10. I have a lot. Not as much as US medical students, but considering a) our currency is way weaker and b) our doctors get paid way less... it's pretty bad. Oh well. The things we do.
    I love the Ohio list. Really cool ideas.

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  11. I'm about to start my first year of med school at my state school, but I've already spent around $5000 just applying, between primary and secondary fees, interview clothes, traveling for interviews (staying with students helps!) etc. It's really crazy.

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  12. Tufts medical school is $54,578 a year...

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  13. I had 155K going to a state school in Florida. Brought it down to about 140K then consolidated to lock in a good interest rate (less than 4%). I have no clue how veterinarians or many primary care physicians make ends meet.

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  14. 162k from 4 years at a state school and my parents helped.
    I just graduated. We'll see how long it takes to pay back as a pediatrician...

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  15. Don't take this the wrong way, but... that's all? Annual tuition at my nursing school was higher than that.

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  16. $230k. or was it $250k? Not sure, but painful.

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  17. And only 80% of the student body took out any form of aid. Which means 1/5 students had a parent (or spouse) cutting a check for tuition (which was 40k at the time) each year and paying the living expenses. Oh LA.

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    1. Actually I think that means that 1/5 had someone to pay ALL tuition and living expenses, but that a sizable proportion of students on top of that had someone to pay some tuition / expenses, just not all. It's the same at my med school.

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    2. That is what I am saying. 1/5 had zero debt, which, correct, means that an additional, unknown portion of the student body, had some debt, but not the full amount.

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    3. Totally. It becomes even more striking when you look at the debt averages. I think I my school the average is 100K or something, which means that a lot of people have someone else paying a lot of $$. Such a shame that it's getting to be that only rich people can go to med school.

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  18. Just graduated with $450,000 in medical school loans with consolidation. bleh!

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  19. Not med school, but my master's/doctorate won't cost a thing due to some really really REALLY generous donors to my school. I thank my lucky stars each day.

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  20. I'm at one of the most expensive private schools now...anticipating graduating with ~$50,000 in debt, not including a 10k gift/loan from the parents. I thank undergraduate professors who did a phenomenal job lying to all the med school adcoms about how great I was, resulting in me receiving a large scholarship.

    My question is how dentists can afford to pay back their loans. Tufts Med is expensive...but Tufts Dental racks up a tuition bill of $64k/year for next year.

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  21. Veterinarian who went to a state school. Total loans came to ~$250K. I currently make less than $3000/month as I'm doing a residency. Needless to say, nearly all loans are in forbearance with me just trying to pay some of the interest.

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  22. I am surprised I am not the only one posting to say that I had zero dollars in debt after medical school. I was lucky enough to have parents who could help me out with tuition, and for living expenses, I used money I saved up from summer jobs and work study in college.


    My parents are not millionaires or anything, less than about $100k annual income. But they are frugal and saved money for my sister and I because they value education. And I lived frugally, too, staying in a tiny efficiency apartment and went to a state school ($22k for tution for residents, I think).

    It is great to not have that weight of debt hanging over my head, but I do feel a little awkward when my fellow interns comiserate about their debtloads and which type of payment plan or whatever that they are using...

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  23. I think I had around $100-120 K when I graduated from a state med school in 2002. I work as a pulmonologist and have been able to pay all my debt off in the first 4 years as an attending. I think as long as you dont buy yourself a BMW or a house outside your price range it is doable (that is for a specialist, I guess working in primary care is different). I was afraid that I was going to saddled with debt for eternity while in medical school, it just isnt the case.

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  24. What up, just signed for my last year of loans...$69k this year for tuition and living. AND AT A STATE SCHOOL. Sigh. All said and done I'll be at about $250k (our tuition has ratcheted up thanks to Ye Olde Economic Downturn.) This career better be worth it.

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  25. Around ~$60K after med school, but I'm not clear on the details as in Australia it's a tax-free loan you pay off to the Government by way of increased tax after you graduate (so you don't really miss the money as it's taken out automatically). No fees for tuition for post graduate training.

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  26. Well, university (undergraduate and postgraduate) is usualy around 550 euros a year here, so that would be about 3850 for an entire medical degree (7 years), but I qualified for a government grant (doesn't have to be paid back), so the university reduced my tuition to 80 a year, so 560 total. So no debt at all, even after books, living etc. I'm so glad I don't have debt like that, though of course what you earn once you graduate is much less here than over there.

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  27. To the anon who said their nursing school was much more... Where the heck did you go to school? Nursing is an undergrad 2 yr or 4 yr degree, which would not cost more than $20K per year, unless you went to Harvand, university of Chicago or the like.
    Or did you just mis-read those numbers????

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    1. There are MANY private schools that offer nursing degrees for more than $20K/year.

      -A different Anon.

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    2. Yes, but fizzy's examples were 40-50K. Where is this person going to nursing school for more than that???

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    3. Also, if you are in debt for over 100K as a RN, how are you ever going to pay that back?

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  28. I will be starting at one of the schools mentioned in the article. Let's just say its the expensive one. I see my debt being $160,000 because I had undergrad paid for with scholarships, and the money my parents saved is going to medical school. Like the other poster my parents were not rich by any means but sacrificed a lot for my sister and my education.

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  29. Only had about $55,000 in debt after medical school but that is because I had a 4-yr scholarship to undergrad that paid for tuition and room and had an inheritance from my dad dying when I was young that paid for some of medical school.

    When people scoffed at my relatively low debt, I offered to kill their father for them in exchange for their debt. Oddly, no one ever accepted my offer.

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  30. I will have $300,000 when I graduate from med school :-(. Praying to God, I will be able to pay it off.

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  31. I'm looking at about $230K by the time I graduate. And this year, thanks to tuition being so high, I have to take out loans beyond the federal unsubsidized loans, since I can only get 40.5K for the year, which isn't enough to cover everything. This is at a public school, OOS, unfortunately. The in-state people aren't much better, though. Their tuition is only about 10K less per year than us.

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  32. Im a med student at the University of Malta, on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, and not only is my whole course free of charge, but the government pays me (and all the other maltese citizens at the university) monthly stipends to cover accomodation and living expenses! We're pretty lucky over here i guess! :)

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  33. Hahah are you from ohio? Current student at ohio state, love the shout out!

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  34. Just finishing intern year. Last time I checked, with interest, the total was early $321,000. Guess that is what happens when you have no state school to even consider and have to take out money to live/eat/etc. Glad I'm not going into pediatrics.

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  35. undergrad and med school added up to only a little over 100K in debts -- and that's with no help from parents! That's thanks to canada's subsidized education system.

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    1. Subsidies come from somewhere...namely people like your parents (assuming they are working and paying taxes). You should thank them. ;o)

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    2. This is anonymous @ 8:50 AM. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my parents -- just because they weren't able to help financially does not mean that they weren't an indispensable source of support. I just meant that Canada's system allows anyone (not just those with rich parents) to get advanced degrees, without being mired in debt for 10 years :)

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  36. I attended your cheaper option (did not apply to the more expensive option), graduated ~10 yr ago, and added ~$15k from undergrad, for a grand total ~$165k upon graduation. Trained for 7 yr w/ a chief year in the middle, ran out of deferments & had to forebear, made a few payments during a chief yr b/c my salary was juuuust enough to require them, so at the end of it all, my REAL GRAND TOTAL was $196k BABY! With a ~$1000/month payment at an interest rate ~4% & an academic pediatric's salary, you bet your buns it'll take ~30 yrs to pay it off. regrets? None. I'm not drivin' a luxury vehicle or living in 90210, but I love my job ;)

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  37. Wow this is wild!

    I had no idea tuition cost so much in the US/Canada. Here in Scotland tuition is free for all Scottish and EU students, about £16,000 annually for international students who don't have sponsorship. English/Welsh students pay about £6-9,000 to study in Scotland and all UK/EU students pay that to study in England. Loans for living expenses come from the government and are means tested against family income; the maximum non-means tested loan you can take out is about £1000 annually which is all I was entitled to so at the end of university (Medicine here is normally a 5 year undergrad course with optional extra year for additional bachelors degree) I had about £5000 debt which gets paid back as soon as you start earning over around £20,000 salary. I worked for my summer and weekends to earn the rest of my living expenses but a lot of people's parents paid for them as student halls were pretty cheap.
    I'm now an SHO (not sure what that equates to in USA- junior resident? Basically am just finishing my third year of being a doctor) and will finish paying back the loan this year with almost no interest. I'm not sure what medical salaries here equate to in the USA though- as an FY1 (intern?) I earned £21,000 for a 48 hour week with a %supplement(usually 20-80% of salary added to basic) for antisocial hours (outside 7am-7pm and weekends) so ended up taking home about £25,000 after tax. In FY2 the pay went up to £28,000 basic rate and this year as a CT1 (first year of specialist training) I'm on about £30,000 basic rate plus supplement of 50% as I do night shifts fairly often. Total post tax this year will be about £36,000
    All specialties earn about the same throughout training with exception of GP (family practice), who finish their training earlier. A salaried GP earns about £45,000 starting off and a GP partner can earn up to £90,000. Hospital consultants (attendings?) are usually on about £65,000-90,000 depending on responsibility level.

    Is that the same/more/less than could be expected in USA?

    As a new doctor starting work at the age of 22 I felt I got paid handsomely compared to the general population my age and certainly have never struggled for money!! I can't imagine how I'd survive if I was paying back more than about £500 monthly in debt though which is what seems to happen in USA :( ....

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    1. As residents we get about $50,000/year, slightly more in expensive locations and in the later years. Attendings get more, generally $100,000 to $200,000 in primary care (the lower end being salary, the higher end partners). Specialists are paid more, partly because fewer of them are on salary, and partly because of reimbursement. General Surgeons average about $300,000; Orthopaedic Surgeons average about $400,000. A senior partner in a neurosurgical group can make $1,000,000 or a little more, but this is unusual.

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  38. Close to 100k for 4 years of pharmacy school and still close to 15k left from undergrad. The pharmacy school figure is almost entirely tuition, as my husband made enough to cover most living expenses and I had maybe a 2k refund per quarter.

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  39. About 190K for undergrad and veterinary school combined. I paid out of state tuition at a state school, but the veterinary school in my home state would have cost just about as much with in-state tuition. I didn't have much in the way of scholarships for vet school, but it was evened out by the fact that since I was married and my spouse made a living wage I didn't have to take out loans for anything but tuition. I had classmates who ended up far worse off than myself because they needed loans for housing, food, etc.

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  40. About 180K all told, with all expenses, state school. If my car keeps running and the rent stays low I can get it paid off by 2016. (10 year plan). I pull about $160K/yr. Most new docs I see are in the $220K debt range.

    Our local DO program is $49K/year tuition only, yes, you read that right. $200K before a single book or fee.

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  41. 217,000 after UG (parental assistance), masters program (TA stipend), and medical school (all mine).

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