Why Students Should Go to the Cheapest Medical School

Future Proof MD has long been a blog for medical students and residents.  Today I want to expand on that audience just a little and speak to those aspiring college students who are looking to commit to career in medicine.  There are many considerations that go into the important decision of choosing a medical school.  I hope to share with you my admittedly biased opinion.  The following post also represents my first article as a Doximity Fellow.  You can read the entire post at Doximity Op-(m)ed.  An excerpt is provided below.

Say an ambitious pre-med college student is looking to commit to a lifelong career in medicine. They’ve aced all their classes, crushed the MCAT, and have an extracurricular activity profile that rivals Mahatma Gandhi’s. Say they’ve just received acceptance letters to all medical schools they applied to. How do they decide which one to attend? There is obviously a long list of factors unique to each individual that go into the deciding such an important question. Despite that, here are a few reasons why I believe they should go to the cheapest medical school:
Reason #1 — Medical education debt spiraling out of control.
According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average 2016 medical school grad left school with a median student debt of $190,000, an increase of 5% over 2015. In 2015, that number was $183,000, an increase of 2% over 2014. This isn’t just a recent trend. A study by the AAMC released in 2013 revealed that in the 20-year period from 1992 to 2002, median medical student debt grew at a compounded annual rate of 6.3%. It’s not that medical students are irresponsible borrowers, because from 2000 to 2012, the Cost-of-Attendance (COA) increased by an annual rate of 5.8% at public schools and 4.5% at private schools. That means borrowing is oftentimes necessary. To give an idea of how impressive that is, the US dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.4% during the same period.
I’d like to think no student wants to go into medicine for the earning potential, but with the increasing amount of medical school debt, an increasing number of studies are examining the relationship of medical school debt and graduates’ major life decisions. In a 2014 study published in Medical Education Online, the authors found that:
“Medical student debt and particularly debt relative to peers at the same institution appears to influence the way that students approach major life choices like when to start a family, when to buy a home, and what specialty to choose.”

Head to Doximity Op-(m)ed to read the rest.


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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.