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Guide to Paying Off Medical School Debt

Most physicians will tell you that the years of schooling to become a doctor are some of the most challenging and expensive. After all the hard work and dedication, it’s important to prioritize paying off your medical school debt as soon as possible.

The total cost for a four-year medical education is between $150,000 and $396,000. So it’s no surprise that physicians pay for most of their education through loans.

Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can use to get yourself on track. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to create a repayment plan, reduce your interest payments, and take advantage of loan forgiveness programs.

Make Payments While You’re in Residency

It’s important to start making medical loan repayments while you’re still in residency. Although you may be tempted to defer your loans, doing so will only increase the amount of interest you accrue. Additionally, making regular payments while you’re still in training can help you establish good credit and avoid defaulting on your loans. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, consider speaking with your residency program director or financial advisor about how to best manage your medical loan repayments. Although it may be difficult to do so, making payments while you’re in residency will ultimately save you money in the long run.

Refinance Loans

If you’re looking to save money on your loans, refinancing may be a good option for you. By refinancing, you can replace high-interest loans with lower-interest loans, which can help you pay down your debt faster and save you money in the long run.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of refinancing before making a decision.

For example, if you refinance federal student loans, you give up certain rights and built-in protections that can be more valuable than refinancing. So, be sure to do your research and talk to a financial advisor before making a decision.

Loan Forgiveness

There are several loan forgiveness programs available that can help ease the burden. The most popular of these programs is the PSLF, or Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans for eligible borrowers who have made 120 qualifying payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

Other forgiving options include the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program and the Rural Physician Loan Repayment program.

With so many options available, it’s important to do your research and find the program that best suits your needs. Student loan forgiveness can be a valuable tool in helping you achieve financial stability.

Find Repayment Assistance Programs

There are currently over 79 existing programs that can help you repay your medical school debt. The California State Loan Repayment Program is one such program. Under this program, primary care physicians (as well as mental behavioral health professionals, dentists, and pharmacists) can earn a grant of up to $50,000 to pay down their medical school debt.

Another program is the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. This program provides up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, and mental health providers who serve in communities with a shortage of healthcare providers.

If you are struggling to repay your medical school loans, be sure to research all of the repayment assistance programs that are available to you. You may be able to find one that can help you significantly reduce your debt burden.

Income-Driven Repayment

Income-driven repayment (IDR) is a repayment strategy for federal student loans that is based on the borrower’s income. This means that your monthly payment will be a percentage of your monthly income, and the payment amount will change if your income changes. IDR is only an option for physicians with federal medical school loans, and it can be a helpful way to manage your loan payments if you are having trouble making ends meet. The biggest advantage of IDR is that it can help you to avoid defaulting on your loans, which can have serious negative consequences for your financial future. If you are considering IDR, you should speak with a financial advisor to see if it is the right option for you.

Live Modestly

A major factor in how quickly you’ll be able to repay your loans is your monthly budget. The more modest your lifestyle is, the more money you’ll have available to put towards your loan payments. Keep your costs of living as low as possible by looking for cheaper housing options and cutting back on unnecessary expenses. The more money you can dedicate to repaying your loans each month, the sooner you’ll be debt-free. By making smart choices about your spending, you can make a big impact on the timeline for repaying your student loans.

Work In The Country

Working in the country can be a very rewarding experience. Not only will you have the opportunity to serve a community that may be underserved, but you may also be eligible for loan repayment programs. For example, the state of Kansas offers up to $25,000 per year in loan repayment for physicians who choose to work in rural areas. These programs can help to make working in the country a more financially viable option for many physicians. In addition, working in the country can offer a unique opportunity to learn and grow as a physician. With fewer resources available, you will need to be more resourceful and creative in your care. As a result, working in the country can be a great way to challenge yourself and expand your skill set.


Student loan debt can be a daunting prospect, but there are many repayment options available. By researching your options and making wise financial decisions, you can repay your loans in a timely manner. The programs and advice listed in this article should help get you started on the path to financial freedom.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or financial advice. You should always consult with a financial advisor to discuss your specific situation.

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