The dichotomous benefit and burden of student loans
For many, student loans are an inevitable part of higher ed; without them, college would be an unattainable goal and its sheer cost would keep dreams of becoming a teacher, a nurse, or a doctor out of reach.
On the other hand, student debt can become a barrier to future achievements. We finish college, take a look at our empty bank accounts and mountain of loans and think, “I’d better put the brakes on grad school so I don’t incur any more debt!”
If you’ve been attending graduation parties in the last month, have you had these kinds of conversations? The burden of student debt can chain us down, thinking that we’re stuck with it, unable to climb and reach for the stars.
Is your student loan debt holding you back from your dreams?
Study after study has found that the mounting student debt crisis has dealt numerous blows to grads over the last couple of decades. The Student Borrower Protection Center has published many articles and reports outlining the ways in which student debt is exacerbating a number of issues like income inequality and the racial wealth gap.
In 2019, The Federal Reserve published research showing that young adults were 9% less likely to own their homes than they were a decade ago and that there was a correlation between that figure and the explosive rise of student indebtedness.
Even high-earning fields such as medicine are feeling the pinch as incoming medical students are gravitating towards higher-paying specialties, leaving the U.S. with a critical shortage of primary care physicians (as found by a Harvard Medical School study).
Combating the student debt crisis
Organizations like the Family Medicine Education Consortium and American Academy of Family Physicians are on the front lines of the primary care physician shortage, and one of the tools in their back pocket is confronting student debt head-on.
Most attending physicians finish their schooling with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt; that price tag is a big deterrent for many who would pursue a career in medicine and a huge headache for those who do!
Public Service Loan Forgiveness and medicine
If you are an attending physician who works at one of the thousands of non-profit hospitals and practices in the U.S., you have a secret weapon in your struggle with student debt: PSLF. Many don’t hear about it until after they’ve already completed medical school, but we’re working to change that!
Public Service Loan Forgiveness can erase your student loans after ten years, saving doctors hundreds of thousands of dollars, effectively cutting their student debt in half or even less.
While our friends at FMEC and AAFP are working to transform the primary care pipeline, PSLF can transform the lives of those who come through it. Primary care physicians are essential to the wellbeing of our medical system and our country, PSLF is an important tool for their financial health.