It’s amazing to me how much tuition has grown over the past decade. Back when I started college, tuition was in the mid-$20Ks at a private university. I was curious how much it was now – nearly $48,000 per year! And that’s not including room and board, fees, books, etc. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know…), the median household income was $55, 516 in 2015. That means most people attending college are accruing some significant debt. And will be spending years if not decades paying it off.
Of course, there are some coming from more affluent families who are willing to help with costs, at least in part (*raises hand*). And also lots of grants and scholarships (*waves both hands*). But not everyone is so fortunate. The worst thing is with so many people choosing to go to college (whether community, public, or private), employers can rule out those without college degrees in applications, even if that education isn’t required for the job. With the interest rates these loans have, most 1st jobs after graduation will hardly cover payments.
Doctors are lucky in that very few are unemployed (assuming they match into and complete residency) and salaries are high. Still, I see physicians paying off their debt well into their 50s, especially if they chose to have children or get a mortgage for a house right after they finish training. At my medical school, tuition alone will net you about a quarter million dollars in debt. No wonder our students shy away from lower-paying specialties like family medicine. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know I’m lucky to have a full scholarship and able to consider fields like family med, pediatrics, psychiatry and many others without worrying about my financial future. Maybe there should be more programs like the military services where you get to school for free if you serve for a certain number of years. Regardless, debt from higher education is a real problem and I always encourage any future college or medical students I meet to choose the offers with the most financial aid over the “prestige” of the school. I firmly believe it’s worth it in the end.