Having a major case of sticker shock. Does med school seriously cost this much?

kubyx

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I'm not super informed about the whole loan process because a scholarship + a nearly full-time job in college paid for 80-90% of my expenses, and then my parents gave me a gift of ~8k that allowed me to graduate debt and loan free.

I understand medical school is expensive, but I'm having a serious case of sticker shock at the moment.

Take RVU, for example. Some guy on sdn posted up a review of the school back in 2014 and mentioned the cost of attendance was 46k. Today it's about 52k. Not only that, but they reserve the right to adjust tuition but an undisclosed amount each year. You could literally sign up at 52k per year, and the next year it could be 60k by their incredibly one-sided agreement. Their estimated cost of attendance, all in, is $88,000 per year. I realize they are guessing a bit generously on housing, food, etc., but are people seriously paying nearly 90 grand a year for school? I'm somewhat freaking out here and hoping that the 88k is some massively inflated price that no one actually pays, like MSRP, but I'm having a sinking feeling that's not the case. Seriously, 360k for school? This cannot be right, is it?
 

bears1992

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A lot of schools post the percent of students that get financial aid and its usually around 80%. I think the average student graduates with 225k in debt which includes undergrad. I'm guessing that means students won't be eating the entire tuition. I know 400k seems like a ton, BUT it's really not in the long run. The best method I've heard about to pay off medical school debt goes like this. When you start residency, you'll be making around 70k. That's enough to live comfortably on. Once you graduate residency, you'll start making atleast 160k depending on your specialty. Even though you are making 160k, keep living on the 70k that you did when in residency and send the extra salary towards loans. Every model I've seen has the loans paid off in 3-7 years.
 

austintr

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Yeah, it's expensive. My school has estimated tuition to go up 4% or so each year. They highly encourage people to not take out the maximum COA. And I agree wholeheartedly. There will be financial aid presentations and all that crap.

It's insanely expensive. I'm basically paying what my old salary was EVERY year. But, it's what I want to do. So hopefully it all works out.

Only last [email protected] has a valid point about repayment and how beneficial it can be to pay off loans aggressively. There's tons of good info on this in the financial aid and finance forums. BUT I believe 70k is a bit high to estimate for residency. It's more realistic to expect to make ~52k-62k with tiny raises each year in residency. And that is pre-tax. So yeah, it's a liveable wage. But 60k isn't that much money after Uncle Sam takes his share and you contribute to retirement (as you should). And it's really not that much if you pay on student loans while in residency (as you should), even with PAYE/REPAYE.

Bottom line is it's a staggering amount of money and your best bet if you're committed to becoming a physician is to apply for every scholarship you're eligible for, bite the bullet and do all you can to pay off the balance of your loans quickly. 275k can easily become 500k if you pay off slowly and at the minimum rate.
 

allantois

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Your state MD schools should be cheaper.
 
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allantois

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A lot of schools post the percent of students that get financial aid and its usually around 80%. I think the average student graduates with 225k in debt which includes undergrad. I'm guessing that means students won't be eating the entire tuition. I know 400k seems like a ton, BUT it's really not in the long run. The best method I've heard about to pay off medical school debt goes like this. When you start residency, you'll be making around 70k. That's enough to live comfortably on. Once you graduate residency, you'll start making atleast 160k depending on your specialty. Even though you are making 160k, keep living on the 70k that you did when in residency and send the extra salary towards loans. Every model I've seen has the loans paid off in 3-7 years.
Eh 50k is more realistic for first year of residency (even lower in the south). Schools that cost 50k a year would prob leave you with 300k in the end, which is a lot of debt for primary care and alike specialties. Living like a resident when you are 30+ may sound like a fantastic plan now, but not when you are actually done with all that training.
 

YayPudding

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I know that I can pay it off but I was always interested in military service, so HPSP was very attractive to me. No debt and you get a stipend, but you do owe years in the military.
 
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cliquesh

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It's sort of a scam. My wife and I would probably not have gone to medical school if we had to pay for it ourselves. I made 50k as a resident. My wife made 55k as a resident and 65k as a fellow.
 
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CJhooper123

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I'm not super informed about the whole loan process because a scholarship + a nearly full-time job in college paid for 80-90% of my expenses, and then my parents gave me a gift of ~8k that allowed me to graduate debt and loan free.

I understand medical school is expensive, but I'm having a serious case of sticker shock at the moment.

Take RVU, for example. Some guy on sdn posted up a review of the school back in 2014 and mentioned the cost of attendance was 46k. Today it's about 52k. Not only that, but they reserve the right to adjust tuition but an undisclosed amount each year. You could literally sign up at 52k per year, and the next year it could be 60k by their incredibly one-sided agreement. Their estimated cost of attendance, all in, is $88,000 per year. I realize they are guessing a bit generously on housing, food, etc., but are people seriously paying nearly 90 grand a year for school? I'm somewhat freaking out here and hoping that the 88k is some massively inflated price that no one actually pays, like MSRP, but I'm having a sinking feeling that's not the case. Seriously, 360k for school? This cannot be right, is it?
Welcome to life. Be thankful you made the right choices as a 17/18 y/o and have no undergrad loans. I can only imagine what the cost of college will be in 15-20 years (I probably won't have any kids b/c of this, lol)

I guess it really comes down to the question... what are your willing to risk in order to live out your dream? Assuming... your dream is to help others and learn medicine.
 
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kubyx

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A lot of schools post the percent of students that get financial aid and its usually around 80%. I think the average student graduates with 225k in debt which includes undergrad. I'm guessing that means students won't be eating the entire tuition. I know 400k seems like a ton, BUT it's really not in the long run. The best method I've heard about to pay off medical school debt goes like this. When you start residency, you'll be making around 70k. That's enough to live comfortably on. Once you graduate residency, you'll start making atleast 160k depending on your specialty. Even though you are making 160k, keep living on the 70k that you did when in residency and send the extra salary towards loans. Every model I've seen has the loans paid off in 3-7 years.
I suppose that's my confusion - how is the general debt of a graduating physician including undergrad 225k? It looks like avg undergrad debt is about 30k, so people are going to medical school and living off of loans for 4 years on 195k? That's <50k/year for everything, and it seems like most schools I look at, DO or MD, charge that much in tuition alone.

I'm pretty adept at finances, and in the past few years of working I have saved up enough to pay off 2-3 years of medical school outright. The idea of 350k+ in loans is still staggering and daunting, though.
 

bears1992

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I suppose that's my confusion - how is the general debt of a graduating physician including undergrad 225k? It looks like avg undergrad debt is about 30k, so people are going to medical school and living off of loans for 4 years on 195k? That's <50k/year for everything, and it seems like most schools I look at, DO or MD, charge that much in tuition alone.

I'm pretty adept at finances, and in the past few years of working I have saved up enough to pay off 2-3 years of medical school outright. The idea of 350k+ in loans is still staggering and daunting, though.
I'm not sure how the average student graduates with 225k in debt when tuition alone is 50k. It must have something to do with scholarships or financial aid. The rules for qualifying for medical school financial aid might be different than undergrad. I am almost positive students are not pulling any significant income from a part time job during school.
 

EleanorAbernathyMD

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I suppose that's my confusion - how is the general debt of a graduating physician including undergrad 225k? It looks like avg undergrad debt is about 30k, so people are going to medical school and living off of loans for 4 years on 195k? That's <50k/year for everything, and it seems like most schools I look at, DO or MD, charge that much in tuition alone.

I'm pretty adept at finances, and in the past few years of working I have saved up enough to pay off 2-3 years of medical school outright. The idea of 350k+ in loans is still staggering and daunting, though.
I'm not sure how the average student graduates with 225k in debt when tuition alone is 50k. It must have something to do with scholarships or financial aid. The rules for qualifying for medical school financial aid might be different than undergrad. I am almost positive students are not pulling any significant income from a part time job during school.
Yeah so part of the problem is that we're looking at the average. There are a fair share of students who receive significant aid (consider the 1 in 5 students at Geffen on full COS scholarship) or all of the Texas students with their mega-low costs getting factored into this equation. My school heftily subsidizes out of state tuition with grants/scholarships to decrease this. Whereas some of the private school students are going to sit much higher than the average (>400K).

I would dig more into school specific numbers than relying on a national average. Your financial aid office should have this data. It will be a better reflection of your situation.
 

austintr

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Yeah so part of the problem is that we're looking at the average. There are a fair share of students who receive significant aid (consider the 1 in 5 students at Geffen on full COS scholarship) or all of the Texas students with their mega-low costs getting factored into this equation. My school heftily subsidizes out of state tuition with grants/scholarships to decrease this. Whereas some of the private school students are going to sit much higher than the average (>400K).

I would dig more into school specific numbers than relying on a national average. Your financial aid office should have this data. It will be a better reflection of your situation.
This is a good point. It IS an average. Not to mention, there are a number of students (though a small percentage of the overall student population, presumably) that have their school paid for by trusts, endowments, or just outright rich relatives. AND the military also produces debt-free physicians. A relatively high number of them. This will skew the avg to a lower number, obviously. I would guess there are significantly higher numbers of factors that bring the avg down than up. I.e, the number of cash paying students and military students bring the avg down, while it's difficult (though not impossible) to exceed the maximum COA of an institution to drive the number up.

Med school tuition is no less outrageous because of these things though. Especially 3rd and 4th year.
 

Grannywang

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There are ways to pay off debt if you know where to look. Military is a common route or sign a two year contract for rural medicine. The ones that are straddled in debt are unwilling to change their lifestyle and want to live in urban areas.
 

AnatomyGrey12

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I suppose that's my confusion - how is the general debt of a graduating physician including undergrad 225k
It is only an average. State schools alone generally have much lower COA for IS residents and a fair share of students get scholarships at some schools or grants and such. But to answer the original question, yes medical school actually costs this much and often times more.
 

Giovanotto

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OP, I made the same exact thread about this a couple of months before starting school, and I commonly come into these threads to reply because what you're going through is very normal, but I'm not here to say "everything will be fine". On the contrary, think long and hard about this if you have no financial help. I think it's a mistake.

And to answer all of your questions, yes, it is exactly right, and it's absolutely crazy. Most schools are raising tuition at the rate of inflation, = 3%/year.
 
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cliquesh

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I'm not sure how the average student graduates with 225k in debt when tuition alone is 50k. It must have something to do with scholarships or financial aid. The rules for qualifying for medical school financial aid might be different than undergrad. I am almost positive students are not pulling any significant income from a part time job during school.
I think it is because some students have no debt (their family pays for it) while others have lots. I had several residency mates who had 400-500k debt by the time they finished residency. Their minimum repayment is around 4k a month. They all took 400k+/year jobs, so they'll be alright, I guess.
 
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kubyx

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OP, I made the same exact thread about this a couple of months before starting school, and I commonly come into these threads to reply because what you're going through is very normal, but I'm not here to say "everything will be fine". On the contrary, think long and hard about this if you have no financial help. I think it's a mistake.

And to answer all of your questions, yes, it is exactly right, and it's absolutely crazy. Most schools are raising tuition at the rate of inflation, = 3%/year.
The crazy thing here is that the rate of inflation is not 3% right now. Schools are just raising the prices because they can. These schools beat you over the head with ethics, but send secondaries to anyone with a pulse and charge you $50k a year to attend a school that many students don't even find worthy of attending on a daily basis for classes.
 

Gilakend

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You could probably pay 1 million dollars AFTER interest for medical school and still come out ahead financially in the long run. I would say at the very least most people are doubling their salary that they would've made with a bachelors degree even as PCP. If you specialize you will definitely come out ahead financially in a much shorter time.
 

austintr

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You could probably pay 1 million dollars AFTER interest for medical school and still come out ahead financially in the long run. I would say at the very least most people are doubling their salary that they would've made with a bachelors degree even as PCP. If you specialize you will definitely come out ahead financially in a much shorter time.
Right, but there's a flaw in the logic of "high paying fields should be expensive to get into". The average mechanical engineering graduate will make significantly more money than the average psych/humanities/liberal arts graduate. These degrees cost the same to get. A finance/business degree has the potential to earn you six figures a couple years out of school. A master's in management or administration can put one in the position to approach seven figures within a decade. This costs less than one year of med school tuition at nearly any institution. Having the ability to make the money back and "come out ahead" doesn't justify the cost of most medical schools, imo.
 
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Gilakend

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Right, but there's a flaw in the logic of "high paying fields should be expensive to get into". The average mechanical engineering graduate will make significantly more money than the average psych/humanities/liberal arts graduate. These degrees cost the same to get. A finance/business degree has the potential to earn you six figures a couple years out of school. A master's in management or administration can put one in the position to approach seven figures within a decade. This costs less than one year of med school tuition at nearly any institution. Having the ability to make the money back and "come out ahead" doesn't justify the cost of most medical schools, imo.
I agree, I'm not saying it's fair, but just that it is still advantageous financial if that is what OP was worried about.

On a side note, a masters degree in management can make 7 figures? Is it that common or is that 10 years of 80 hour weeks with a bit of luck/connections? I feel like that should be more popular if it's even remotely common. That's crazy
 
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austintr

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I agree, I'm not saying it's fair, but just that it is still advantageous financial if that is what OP was worried about.

On a side note, a masters degree in management can make 7 figures? Is it that common or is that 10 years of 80 hour weeks with a bit of luck/connections? I feel like that should be more popular if it's even remotely common. That's crazy
I agree, it is a good long-term return.

Most places, 80 hours would be very excessive, in my part of the Midwest at least. But it is still very much dependent on connections and interpersonal skills. And luck, with organizational rearrangement, retirement of superiors, etc. But I have worked at a non-profit and very much the opposite of non-profit and have known ~9 people with management/business master's degree or less making in the 850k-1.2M range. It's heavily dependent on who likes you, how much you drink the kool-aid and how willing you are to crush those below you. I hate corporate settings, but they can be lucrative, especially if you're a sociopath.
 
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GypsyHummus

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Its ok. When you are making 200K+ each year, it seems like a small price to pay. I don't think there are any medical specialties that makes less than 200K now, maybe family med and peds (and pods) in saturated cities.

If you can handle living off of 2K/month, you can pay back your loans in 5 years easy.
 
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grapefruit17

Its ok. When you are making 200K+ each year, it seems like a small price to pay. I don't think there are any medical specialties that makes less than 200K now, maybe family med and peds (and pods) in saturated cities.

If you can handle living off of 2K/month, you can pay back your loans in 5 years easy.
not even remotely true
 

Giovanotto

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This is true actually lol. If you're willing to work in a rural area, you WILL make 200k+ as a GP.
To be sure, we need to look at trends, not where the current salaries are. With the way schools are popping up, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw our generation of physicians make 20-50% less than current physicians (assuming the politics around healthcare don't change significantly). Which is hilarious given tuition prices have skyrocketed and people continue to take on astronomical debt to be the next mother Theresa. I honestly don't know what some people are thinking. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but anyhow, offsetting medical school tuition with increased physician reimbursement is a terrible way to move forward, and probably not even realistic or where things are going at this point.

This article: Competition for new docs pushing pay higher
Is in direct contrast with what I'm saying, but I believe that with enough time the supply of physicians will hinder rather than aid our bargaining power.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

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I wouldn't be surprised if we saw our generation of physicians make 20-50% less than current physicians
Don't fear monger and throw numbers out there on a whim unless you have data to prove it. Docs will be just fine.
 

Coltuna

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To be sure, we need to look at trends, not where the current salaries are. With the way schools are popping up, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw our generation of physicians make 20-50% less than current physicians (assuming the politics around healthcare don't change significantly). Which is hilarious given tuition prices have skyrocketed and people continue to take on astronomical debt to be the next mother Theresa. I honestly don't know what some people are thinking. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but anyhow, offsetting medical school tuition with increased physician reimbursement is a terrible way to move forward, and probably not even realistic or where things are going at this point.

This article: Competition for new docs pushing pay higher
Is in direct contrast with what I'm saying, but I believe that with enough time the supply of physicians will hinder rather than aid our bargaining power.
I'm skeptical that there will be a sudden surge in providers that are willing to practice in rural areas though. But I do believe you are correct in saying that the "need" for physicians in rural areas might decrease because a larger number with the same % of physicians choosing rural = a larger number of rural physicians. However, I don't think this will reflect a significant drop in salary.
 
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kopftonmd

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To be sure, we need to look at trends, not where the current salaries are. With the way schools are popping up, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw our generation of physicians make 20-50% less than current physicians (assuming the politics around healthcare don't change significantly). Which is hilarious given tuition prices have skyrocketed and people continue to take on astronomical debt to be the next mother Theresa. I honestly don't know what some people are thinking. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but anyhow, offsetting medical school tuition with increased physician reimbursement is a terrible way to move forward, and probably not even realistic or where things are going at this point.
As I understand it, this isn't quite right, due to the real bottleneck being residency slots. Even if there are a large number of new schools that pop up and start churning out gazillions of new docs, if the government doesn't provide more money for more residents (or private hospital systems funding those slots themselves), there won't be some glut of hugely qualified young docs, as a field like law has.
 

cwilson201

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A lot of schools post the percent of students that get financial aid and its usually around 80%. I think the average student graduates with 225k in debt which includes undergrad. I'm guessing that means students won't be eating the entire tuition. I know 400k seems like a ton, BUT it's really not in the long run. The best method I've heard about to pay off medical school debt goes like this. When you start residency, you'll be making around 70k. That's enough to live comfortably on. Once you graduate residency, you'll start making atleast 160k depending on your specialty. Even though you are making 160k, keep living on the 70k that you did when in residency and send the extra salary towards loans. Every model I've seen has the loans paid off in 3-7 years.
What program offers nearly 70K compensation during residency? Average is 48-52K from everything that I've read and if 70K is in placed like NYC, it's definitely closer to 45-50K with cost -of-living inflation.
 
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Giovanotto

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As I understand it, this isn't quite right, due to the real bottleneck being residency slots. Even if there are a large number of new schools that pop up and start churning out gazillions of new docs, if the government doesn't provide more money for more residents (or private hospital systems funding those slots themselves), there won't be some glut of hugely qualified young docs, as a field like law has.
What's happening now, and I could be wrong, is that residencies are being created at the state level. We have indeed seen a real increase in residency positions, but with the closing of certain AOA ones, maybe it's a wash? Can someone with more knowledge of this chime in?
 

AnatomyGrey12

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What's happening now, and I could be wrong, is that residencies are being created at the state level. We have indeed seen a real increase in residency positions, but with the closing of certain AOA ones, maybe it's a wash? Can someone with more knowledge of this chime in?
Residencies have grown at essentially the same rate for years and years. There is not a huge influx of residencies being creating.