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College of
Health Sciences

Debt management and financial planning

School of Medicine

Statistics show an alarming increase in the average debt of medical students and the resulting impact of debt on the life choices doctors make. It is extremely important that students have a reasonable estimate of the total cost of attendance (COA) of four years of medical school, the amount required to finance their education and the types of repayment plans available following graduation. The financial aid staff is available to help students create budgets and financial plans that fit their individual needs.

Financial planning

When preparing a financial plan, carefully review all expenses and consider all funding options available. The staff at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine encourages all students to minimize expenses and debt, as well as excess borrowing.

Benefits of a financial plan

  • Eliminates last-minute stress by preparing for receipt of invoice.
  • Reduces burdensome debt through careful planning and thoughtful choices.
  • Sets a foundation for each student to meet his/her educational goals.

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Manage debt early

Debt management begins before a student applies for the first medical school loan.

Minimizing medical school debt now will eliminate the negative consequences of excessive debt as students begin practicing medicine.

Higher medical school debt creates higher monthly loan payments after graduation.

Take advantage of the financial educational opportunities available by:

  1. Individual and group counseling
  2. Attending one (mandatory) debt management session per semester
  3. Borrowing only the amount needed and living on a modest student budget
  4. Review financial aid resources such as PowerPoint presentations, webinars and visiting useful website such as AAMC Financial Wellness and the financial aid section of the AAMC website

Debt management sessions

As part of Geisinger Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to financial literacy and debt management, the Office of Financial Aid has developed and implemented a curriculum to address our students’ needs in these areas. The curriculum consists of one mandatory debt management/financial literacy session per semester for each of the students’ eight semesters of enrollment. 

Topics include:

  • Entrance loan counseling
  • Exit loan counseling
  • Focus on credit
  • Financial planning – managing your finances
  • Loan repayment options
  • Public service loan forgiveness
  • Budgeting

Helpful websites

The Association of American Medical Colleges(AAMC) is an excellent resource of financial and debt management information for medical students. Most of the references listed below are taken directly from the AAMC website. All MD students are encouraged to review the materials on the AAMC site in detail.

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