Debt Management

General Suggestions

The following are proffered regarding to debt management and your financial future.

  1. Consider all scholarship options including the military, NHSC, and outside scholarships.
  2. Consider low-interest loan options, including the Primary Care Loan Program
  3. Keep good financial records, including all records of your student loans.
  4. Ask questions. Financial mistakes can be very costly over time.
  5. Maintain contact with your lenders at all times.
  6. Live frugally. It will reduce your need to borrow while in school and provide extra money to repay loans after graduation.
  7. Attack debt aggressively. When you are able after graduation, make voluntary payments toward your principal to accelerate loan repayment.
  8. Know and review periodically your after graduation deferment options, such as the economic hardship forbearance.
  9. Know and review your repayment options, such as the graduated repayment plan, the income sensitive repayment plan, the extended repayment plan, and loan consolidation.
  10. Consider loan repayment programs, such as those offered by NHSC, by NIH, by the military, and by many state governments
  11. After completion of training, include student loan repayments in a carefully constructed budget.
  12. After graduation, seek help when needed from a qualified financial advisor.
  13. Start an investment and retirement program early. You will be surprised how small investments over time will grow in value.
  14. When negotiating with prospective employers who are recruiting you after the completion of your medical training, discuss your loan repayment obligations.
  15. Ensure your future success by completing a residency training program and becoming board certified in your field. Expect to be well-paid for your services. Make sure your income is sufficient to allow you to repay your educational debts.
  16. Whatever you do, do not go into default on your student loans!

Information Resources on Financial Aid & Debt Management

Selected Financial Aid Web Sites

These are web sites that are portals for general information on financial aid:

Association of American Medical Colleges: http:www.aamc.org

U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http:www.dhhs.gov

Howard University College of Medicine: http://www.med.howard.edu

U.S. Federal Government: http://www.students.gov

Information on U.S. Department of Education sponsored financial aid programs can be obtained from: http://studentaid.ed.gov

Information on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services financial aid programs for medical students can be accessed at http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/dsa/ and http://www.bhpr.hrsa.gov

Information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, including the online application, can be accessed at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov and http://www.fafsa.gov

This is regarded as one of the best comprehensive sites for financial aid information:http://www.finaid.org

This is considered one of the best scholarship search engines available: http://www.fastweb.com

An excellent general site for medical student financial aid is published by the Association of American Medical Colleges at:

http://www.aamc.org/students/financing/md2/start.htm
http://www.aamc.org/students/financing/debthelp/start.htm
http://www.aamc.org/students

Another useful site on medical education financing is published by the American College of Physicians at: http://www.acponline.org/srf/financing.htm

Information on the scholarship program offered by National Medical Fellowships, Inc. can be accessed at: http://www.nmf-online.org

Information on the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program is available at: http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/join_us/scholarships.asp

Information on the Primary Care Loan Program can be found at:http://bhpr.hrsa.gov?DSA/pcl.htmhttp://bhpr.hrsa.gov/DSA/pages/pcl.htm

Information on credit scoring is available at: http://www.myfico.com and http://wwww.bankrate.com

The web sites for the three leading credit bureaus are: http://www.equifax.com ; http://www.experian.com ; and http://www.transunion.com

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report at: http://www.annualcreditreport.com

Information on credit counseling and advice can be found at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling: http://www.nfcc.org

Information on personal finances is available at: http://www.fool.com

Tips on living within your means can be found at: http://www.pbs.org/affluenza/

A good debt management site is: http://wwww.aamc.org/debthelp/start.htm

Student loan and financial aid calculators can be found at: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/

Recommended Readings

(MD) 2: Monetary Decisions for Medical Doctors is an electronic publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) intended to provide financial planning information for pre-medical students, enrolled medical students, and physicians in residency training.

The Student Guide is a free publication on federal financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. The publication has sections providing general information on federal student aid and on the Direct and Federal Family Education Loan Programs, as well as on other federal financial aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Other sections address borrower rights and responsibilities and loan deferments. The manual also has a section defining important terms used in federal financial aid. A hard copy of the Student Guide can be obtained by writing to the Federal Student Aid Information Center, P.O. Box 84, Washington, DC 20044-0084 or by calling 1-800-433-3243.