Debt Management Relies On Good Record Keeping

Managing your debt effectively and repaying your medical school loans wisely is easier when you keep good records.
It is important to know how much you owe, the terms and conditions of each loan type, and what agencies are servicing your loans. You need to know what documents to save, where to find them when you need them, and who you may need to contact if you have a question or concern.

While in School

Keep a copy of the promissory note you receive; it is your legal promise to repay your loans and it covers your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

In addition to the promissory note, keep a copy of the disclosure statements. The amounts and terms of each loan are spelled out in this document, and it will be useful when you enter repayment.

Upon Graduation

At this point, you are responsible for keeping track of your loan portfolio, and you will need to decide if you want to postpone payment or begin repayment during residency. The MedLoans® Organizer and Calculator (MLOC) can help you stay organized.  You can import your student loan data directly into the organizer from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), the Department of Education’s central database of student aid, right into the organizer and calculator. You can also review loan repayment scenarios, which will help you make informed decisions about your repayment strategy.

Shortly before your grace period ends, you will need to indicate to your servicer if you want to place your loans in a forbearance or select a repayment plan. If you don’t select a plan, the servicer will automatically place your loans in the Standard 10-year repayment plan. Your servicer will send you a repayment schedule, explaining the number and amount of monthly payments required to repay your loans.  Be sure to keep a copy of this repayment schedule; it will help with budgeting. If you haven’t done so already, set up an online account with your servicer so that you can directly monitor your loans. 

Residency and Beyond

Take the time to either set up a logical filing system or re-organize your existing one so that it works for you and your current situation. Whether you choose manila folders, filing boxes, or some other system, be sure to organize all your paperwork. Keep the servicers addresses, phone numbers, websites and email addresses in one central location. Don't forget to file the promissory note and other loan papers you receive. You may even want to scan and save backup copies of important paperwork.

Moving, Mail and Communication

Keep your financial information with you throughout your internship, residency, fellowship, and practice. Each time you move, notify your servicers of your new address and keep a communication log of your servicer conversations.

Keep copies of any forms that you mail to your servicer and note the date that you mailed the form. Consider using registered mail, and a return reply card so that you know your mail was delivered and who signed for it. If you send an email message, be sure to keep a file for email correspondence.

Read your mail. It is very important to open and read all your mail (this includes email). You may accidentally miss a deadline or a notice about a loan status change, and that could have negative financial consequences.

Planning and Preparing

Set up a long-range calendar that covers the length of your residency. Plan for important deadlines and mark them on your calendar. Keep track of dates that deferment, forbearance, or income verification forms are due so that you meet eligibility requirements. If you're using an electronic calendar to stay organized, set up automatic reminders. Keeping good records can help simplify your life now and in the future.

Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools (FIRST)

MedLoans® Organizer and Calculator (MLOC)

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The MedLoans® Organizer and Calculator was developed to assist medical students and residents with managing their education debt.

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