Medical Student Loans: What Are Your Options?

So, you and your wife were enjoying a nice afternoon together, watching television on the couch, when Junior walks in and ecstatically announces that he has been accepted to Harvard Medical School. After the initial whoops and hollers and the pride that swells in your chest, your son leaves to announce the great news to his friends. You and your wife turn to each other and smiles fade and eyes widen when suddenly, thoughts of the cost hits you. Stunned, you slump onto the couch in silent dismay.

There’s no need to panic when this happens. Attending medical school is a very respectable goal, and money should not stand in the way. However, very few parents or other family members can afford to put someone through medical school, and that’s where medical school loans come in handy.

Where do you obtain a medical school loan? Start with your own local bank branch and see what kinds of loans or offers they can suggest. Your next step should be to get on the Internet or ask your bank loan officer if he or she can suggest other alternatives. One of the next best ways to obtain a medical school loan is through a private student loan offered to those entering medical professions. For example, there are a number of Federal Student loans, like Stafford or other types of medical type loans offered by various health field providers and sponsors.

However, keep in mind when looking for medical school loans, that the interest rate of that loan may keep you, or your son and daughter, in debt for years to come. Studies released have shown that the average medical student loan debt for those attending United States universities is roughly $100,000. That’s a big weight on such young shoulders, and compounded with the cost of living and lower than realized pay of many medical entry level pay scales, can take the wind out of anyone. Being so much in debt may cause students, and parents, a lot of stress, so consider carefully when searching for options that may help take some of the pressure. Encourage your student to apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible.

While medical schools around the country and the world recognize the problems of student loans for their students, they don’t provide any answers to address this issue. Nearly 50% of students who take out student loans of any kind, of various amounts, take years to repay those loans. Young men and women entering the physician field today are facing some tough times. Gone are the days when medical careers were the highest paid in the job market. Balancing their pay scale with the cost of medical insurance and loan payments, and most doctors today are struggling to make ends meet just like any other white collar professional. Times are hard, and are not likely to improve any time soon. When searching for a medical student loan of any amount, just make sure you shop around and try to find one with the lowest interest rate possible. Also, try to encourage your student, or yourself for that matter, to start repaying or saving up for that debt repayment instead of allowing it to drag out for years.

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