Student Debt: Ensuring Medical School Remains Affordable

The AAMC and other organizations have been advocating for affordable higher education and have created resources that explain the costs of a medical education and repayment and financing options.

Medical education is a significant investment. Yet despite the expense, more and more students choose to pursue a career in medicine so that they can provide patients with the care they need. This likely means students take on debt in order to finance their medical education – a median debt level of $200,000.

The AAMC advocates to help ensure medical education remains affordable for students from all backgrounds. Federal income-driven repayment plans guarantee that physicians, in any specialty, can comfortably repay their student loans, and programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) can dramatically reduce physicians' total loan repayment.

As the nation faces growing workforce shortages, public service programs provide a crucial incentive for physicians to care for vulnerable patient populations and underserved areas. The AAMC coordinates a coalition of more than 50 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Stakeholders to advance the program. Additionally, the AAMC supports the loan repayment programs available through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Indian Health Service, and multiple branches of the U.S. Military.

The AAMC also endorses the Debt in Health Education Loan Programs (Debt HELP) legislative proposal of the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions.

The AAMC seeks to elevate the voice of medical students to advocate for the best possible borrowing and repayment options under the Higher Education Act, including lower federal student loan interest rates.  Medical school applicants, students, and residents can get involved and engage with elected representatives through AAMC Action and the Student Aid Alliance’s Save Student Aid campaign. 

To learn more about the various programs and repayment options,and for more information on student debt and financial aid, visit AAMC's FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services and Tools). 

You can also visit the AAMC's medical school affordability and student aid Key Issue Page.

Student Aid Alliance

As a member of the Student Aid Alliance, the AAMC advocates for and supports aid programs to help students achieve their higher education goals without excessive debt. 

Graduation Day Thoughts on Student Debt

More than 30 million Americans carry some form of academic debt, totaling $1 trillion. That includes 84 percent of all medical school grads, whose median debt was about $180,000 in 2014. For many, graduation day signals the start of years of loan repayments.

Medical Student Education: Debt, Costs, and Loan Repayment Facts

Review the FIRST 2018 Debt, Costs, and Loan Repayment Facts, also known as the Debt Fact Card (DFC), to get an idea of the recent graduating class' debt, as well as loan repayment estimates.

Financial Aid Resources

Whether you’re thinking about how to afford medical school, applying for education loans, or weighing your repayment options, the AAMC's FIRST program has unbiased, reliable information.