Debt Counseling

To finance their medical education medical students often need to assume a significant amount of educational loan debt. To help students navigate the intricacies of student loans we offer several loan counseling and financial literacy programs.  All students are encouraged to make an appointment with their Financial Aid Counselor at any time to discuss loan terms and debt management strategies.

Available Counseling Sessions

  • Group loan counseling and financial literacy sessions are scheduled annually
  • All students are required to complete an annual debt review
  • Individual loan entrance counseling sessions
  • Required group loan counseling session during the fall semester
  • Graduation requirement checklist
  • Online financial management seminars
  • Mandatory loan exit interviews

Students taking a leave of absence from HMS lasting longer than six months are also required to have an exit interview, as their loans will enter repayment during this time.

Budgeting

For a sound financial future, loan recipients should develop budgeting habits that keep student loan borrowing to a minimum and manage finances prudently during the loan repayment years. Careful budgeting requires planning, exercising control and periodic reviewing of your budget for needed adjustments.

Recommended budgeting habits:

  • Plan now for the financial future you want
  • Invest in your future by ensuring the benefits of a loan exceed the costs
  • Eliminate credit card debt or limit to emergency situations
  • Simplify by going down to one credit card
  • Develop a habit of saving, even if you can only save $5 per month
  • Budget your money just as carefully as you budget your time
  • Stick to your monthly budget
  • Keep in mind that your salary as a new graduate may be modest and plan accordingly by estimating now what your discretionary (after-tax) income will be after school
  • Not all loans are alike - know the differences and borrow wisely
  • Don’t start living a lifestyle until you can afford it

Debt Review

Students are required to input their debt annually via the free Medloans Organizer and Calculator (MLOC)

Debt Management

Average Indebtedness of HMS MD Graduates

Average Indebtedness of HMS MD Graduates

Grad Class

Avg Debt

Avg Pmt (monthly)

Range of Debt

2014

$103,937

$1,207

$8,500 - $257,495

2015

$111,585

$1,295

$8,500 - $282,144

2016

$103,937

$1,207

$8,500 - $257,495

2017

$105,389

$1,224

$8,500 - $282,144

2018

$110,548 $1,284 $4,336 - $359,486

The average monthly payment was calculated assuming all loans had a 7% interest rate with a 10-year repayment schedule.

Debt Prior to Matriculation

Most pre-HMS educational loans can be deferred while studying full time at HMS. In order to defer eligible loans, students must request a deferment form from his/her loan servicer and bring it to the HMS Registrar’s Office for completion of the School Certification section. All students must continue to make any required loan payments until the certified deferment form is received by their loan servicer and the student is notified that the deferment has been approved. A deferment form must be filed at least once per year with each loan servicer; some loan servicers may require more frequent filing.

Students are responsible for any consumer debts incurred prior to matriculation at HMS. Credit card debt, car loans, and other outstanding bills are all the responsibility of the student; additional financial aid cannot be awarded to pay these debts.

A negative credit rating may cause ineligibility for some student aid programs. If a student cannot obtain a loan because of a negative credit rating, HMS funds are not available to replace that loan. It is important for students to be diligent about correcting and protecting their credit rating.

Loan Reduction Strategies

  • Apply for outside scholarships.
  • Be mindful of your expenses - If you keep your living expenses below the standard budget [anchor to budgeting] upon which your financial need was calculated, you can subtract your savings from loans awarded to you. Ask for help. Your parents or relatives may be able to provide you with additional support in the form of a gift or an interest-free loan.
  • As a borrowing strategy, use money from your savings first - If you have to take out additional loans, do so as close to graduation as possible to minimize the effect of interest accrual over extended timeframes.
  • Consider whether or not to accept or request additional loan funds.
    1. Will this loan be from a different and consequently new source than loans already incurred? If so, how will this affect the repayment?
    2. Will the size of the required repayments affect previous commitments or future life choices?

Managing Debt After Graduation

By graduation day, many students have accumulated substantial student loan debt. New graduates need to plan carefully for loan repayment. The relationship between monthly income and the amount of the monthly loan payment will require the graduate to make thoughtful choices about budgeting and spending.

Keeping careful records can assist in this. It is the borrower’s responsibility to be aware of the terms and conditions of loans, to make loan payments on time, and to honor the commitment to pay loans. All MD students borrowing educational loans at HMS are required to use the MedLoans Organizer and Calculator, an online loan tracking system available through the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Loan Repayment Modules

Watch educational videos to help you understand your debt.

Prepayment

You may prepay all or any part of a loan principal at any time without penalty. Since interest accrues daily on the outstanding principal during the repayment period, prepayment will reduce the total interest you will pay over the life of the loan. Submit prepayments according to the instructions of your loan servicer(s). You will have to note that the payment should be applied to the loan principal.

Should you wish to pay a loan in full, contact your loan servicer(s) for a payoff figure, which will include the principal balance plus interest projected through the payoff date. About two months after your loans are paid in full, your original signed promissory notes will be returned to you.

Additional Resource

  • FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) is a program sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges to help members of the academic medical community navigate the complexities of student debt. The goal of the program is to help medical student borrowers expand their financial literacy, make smart decisions about student loans, and manage their debt wisely.