The amount of student loans taken out last year crossed the $100 billion mark for the first time and total loans outstanding will exceed $1 trillion for the first time this year. Americans now owe more on student loans than on credit cards, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the U.S. Department of Education and private sources.
For almost three generations, debt has been a nearly inescapable part of becoming a doctor. Over 80 percent of each medical student class will graduate in debt; and while that percentage has remained unchanged for 25 years, the increase in the total amount owed has leapfrogged over all other economic reality checks, like inflation and the consumer price index.According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which has been trying to address the problem for nearly a decade, young doctors who graduated from medical school last year had an average debt of $158,000, or$2.3 billion for the group as a whole. Almost a third of students owed more than $200,000, a number that will only increase with the addition of interest over payback periods of 25 to 30 years.
There’s a per year/per education problem with comparing any numbers here. But the scale is such that medical student debt probably accounts for a nontrivial amount of the difference between mean and median student debt. Law school debt is may be another factor, though I don’t have any good numbers on that yet.
Update: I actually wrote this before Anya K. confirmed it for me (I generally write a ton over nights and the weekend, but publish into a queue that spaces them out over the week). But thank you Anya for your reply — it’s good to get confirmation from someone that has been over the numbers in detail. What I’d really like to know is excluding this sort of debt, what does the debt picture look like? Sure I can find that somewhere….