A recent study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that 58 percent of family medicine residents have education debt of $150,000 or more and 26 percent carry debt of $250,000 or more. And these are the family medicine residents who chose to still go into this specialty. I would expect other residents, in other specialties, to owe a lot more. What a massive debt burden. Think about not being in the work force for a decade while you go through college, medical school and residency and then think about starting behind the eight ball by this much money. It is a hole from which you may never climb out. I knew a doc would started in family medicine with $200K in debt and was even receiving loan repayment every year and 15 years later was still $200K in debt. It’s crushing for the soul.
The researchers concluded that “policymakers should consider addressing the situation with loan repayments, small business loans and payment reform measures aimed at correcting the gap in physician payment.” Why doesn’t anyone ever blame the government? They started this by increasing loans, which opened the gates to colleges and medical schools to just raise tuition rates at a rate that is unaffordable (see pic above). The answer, according these researchers, is then to address repayment and give out more loans? If the government caused the mess then why would you think they could fix it?
We are now in a pickle and to be honest, I don’t have any great answers. I cannot see school tuition going down unless less kids apply to these schools and they feel some fiscal pain. Then they would have to get rid of some bloat (administrators). One would hope.