There is no denying that medical school is an extremely expensive investment. According to recent survey from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average student that takes out loans finishes medical school with $161,000 in debt. While this number can be alarming, it can be managed by students that have proper foresight and plans.
Following medical school, students can elect to participate in the Standard 10 year repayment plan, the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan, or forbearance, each of which is explained in depth in the attached IBR and forbearance document. In practical terms, only the IBR and the forbearance are affordable options for students with the large amount of debt, as residency salaries are generally insufficient to make the first few years of a standard repayment plan.
With the large amount of debt facing medical school graduates, the federal government has set up three types of loan forgiveness programs that may be of interest to you.
(1) National Health Service Corps – The National Health Service Corps allows students that elect to serve in approved physician shortage areas to receive up to $60,000 in loan forgiveness (in addition to a salary). Additional info can be obtained through the government website link that is provided.
(2) Non-profit work and IBR forgiveness – Another loan forgiveness option for physicians is to engage in the IBR plan while working for a not-for-profit organization or governmental entity. If a physician works for a qualified governmental entity or 501 (c) (3) nonprofit company for 10 years and makes all of their IBR payments on-time during that period, any remaining loan balance is forgiven.
(3) 25 years on IBR plan — if a physician makes 25 years worth of IBR payments and has any balance remaining, that balance is forgiven.
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