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Poll: PA School Student Loan Debt

PA School Student Loan Debt  

140 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. How much student loan debt did you have upon graduation from PA school? (Do NOT include other debts including other student loans)

    • $0
      10
    • $1-25,000
      6
    • $25,001-50,000
      7
    • $50,001-75,000
      17
    • $75,001-100,000
      17
    • $100,001-125,000
      25
    • $125,001-150,000
      28
    • $150,001-175,000
      16
    • $175,001-200,000
      7
    • $200,001-250,000
      5
    • =/> $250,001
      2

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  • Poll closed on 06/13/2019 at 09:17 AM

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I'm also interested to see how much this is different between the varying graduating class years etc. but this should be interesting. If this has been done recently elsewhere on the forum let me know.

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Another interesting question is the variation between folks who went to PA school straight from undergrad vs. folks that were in the workforce for awhile.

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Aren’t the most expensive programs still less than $100,000? My question is what the heck were those in debt over $150,000 doing? Does no one know how to live within their means anymore? Rent the cheapest place, eat a lot of peanut butter, or cans of whatever is on sale!  

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8 hours ago, Hope2PA said:

Aren’t the most expensive programs still less than $100,000? 

I have been out almost 3 years now, and out of the programs I applied to - several had tuition approaching, at, or even above $100k.  So, depending on where the student is living, if tuition is $100k - factor in 2+ years of normal expenses.  $50k does seem excessive depending on location, but it's almost ubiquitous to ignore the "cost" of student loans until out of school.

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10 hours ago, Hope2PA said:

Aren’t the most expensive programs still less than $100,000? My question is what the heck were those in debt over $150,000 doing? 

My program is $110k for the full 27 months and I already have debt from undergrad! Most of the schools I applied to were around $80k-$100k. My husband and I own our home and will be living frugally and I’ll still be $150k in debt without taking out extra loans to help us with living expenses. I worked full time as an anesthesia tech during my entire bachelors and still had to take out student loans. Everyone’s finances are different! 

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I know it's been 20 years, but jesh.  Over $100k was Med school cost when I went to PA school.  I could not imagine spending $100k on PA school now....mercy.

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My program cost about $90,000 in tuition.  By living as simply as I possibly could and having savings already, I graduated $64,000 in debt.  Now, one year later, I have $33,000 in debt.  Over $100,000 seems reasonable to me for younger students who didn't have time to save up money to pay some of the costs upfront.

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Luckily I had the blessing of a spouse who got a great job a few months into my program and was working full time. Even so, we still made out with debt at the 120k mark and I just graduated a few days ago. We were in a high COA area and moved across the country for it, and then back. Program was about 90k for the 28 months. Obviously most PA students don't have a full time income to support them. 

Based off my estimates, minimum payments will be about $1600 ( which includes a few undergrad loans but not much). If I wanted to pay the loans off in roughly 5 yrs vs 10, we would have to put an extra $1,200 towards it a month. Yay...

All you pre-PA kids, read up! 😅😅

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13 hours ago, Hope2PA said:

Aren’t the most expensive programs still less than $100,000? My question is what the heck were those in debt over $150,000 doing? Does no one know how to live within their means anymore? Rent the cheapest place, eat a lot of peanut butter, or cans of whatever is on sale!  

Of the five schools I applied to, JUST tuition and fees were: $64k, $88k, $90k, $120k, $142k.

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14 hours ago, Hope2PA said:

Aren’t the most expensive programs still less than $100,000? My question is what the heck were those in debt over $150,000 doing? Does no one know how to live within their means anymore? Rent the cheapest place, eat a lot of peanut butter, or cans of whatever is on sale!  

Not always that simple. Wife, newborn child at the start of PA school. No savings, and no income. Loans for private school (well above 100k where I attended) plus living expenses, medical bills, etc. It adds up quickly. 

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The debt today stuns me.

Graduated 1992 - UTSW Dallas - in state tuition. Single, no kids at the time.

Zero undergrad debt.

Tuition AND living expenses for PA school - $26K in debt.

Paid off in 5 yrs.

First job out of school $55K for ortho spine.

28th year in - still plugging away.

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The program I start this fall is $54,000 tuition per year in CA where apartments are $1200-$2000 for something “cheap” so I’m looking at around $190,000 for the whole program after calculating in all of my current/future bills, rent, gas, etc.

Quite intimidating.

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Wow!!! My mistake!!! I had no idea programs had gotten so ridiculously expensive. Last I looked the most expensive were in $80,000 range.   No wonder it seems like every little college and university is starting PA programs. It’s $$$ for them, screw the graduates trying to find jobs. So sad to be in such debt and graduate with rapidly accelerating  competition.  Likely those new students with families and attending programs with HCL don’t or won’t want to go to rural areas with jobs and end up taking low pay. With that much debt, should never accept below 100k unless a residency type position. 

The profession is great, but given saturation, cost to attend and, on average, below 100k salary to start, Just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. 

It does concern me that students coming out having such huge debt, struggling to find jobs so will take lower pay. Sure hope OTP or independence moves more quickly and  title change is done by next May. I really feel for anyone having more than 10 years to go before retirement. 

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7 hours ago, Cideous said:

I know it's been 20 years, but jesh.  Over $100k was Med school cost when I went to PA school.  I could not imagine spending $100k on PA school now....mercy.

Makes little financial sense going $100k in debt (worse yet, debt which you cannot bankrupt out of) for a career that makes about $100k/year.

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The sad thing is the utter time sink/commitment required for PA school.  It is very tough to do it with a family and then when you do graduate, the "pay back school loan" time starts for the next 5-10 years.  At what point do you get to be a normal mom or dad and PA?  After divorce proceedings? 

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1 minute ago, Cideous said:

The sad thing is the utter time sink/commitment required for PA school.  It is very tough to do it with a family and then when you do graduate, the "pay back school loan" time starts for the next 5-10 years.  At what point do you get to be a normal mom or dad and PA?  After divorce proceedings? 

Amen to this. Now I have to decide when I can even have children since I don't want to start a new job and go on maternity leave when I'm just starting to get the hang of a few things, plus the debt. 

Yes, I know these are all considerations to make BEFORE PA school or whatever but just something interesting to think about for those pre-PAs looking in. 

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There is another option to this.....live on $30k/year and pay off your student loans in 3 years.  Then you can really enjoy your income, have kids, and build wealth.

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Lucky enough to have had the VA pay for all tuition and provide living expenses! Grateful! 

Debt: $0

Edited by corpsman89
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2 hours ago, Boatswain2PA said:

Makes little financial sense going $100k in debt (worse yet, debt which you cannot bankrupt out of) for a career that makes about $100k/year.

I'm not sure I agree...it's about the same for the average medical school these days in terms of debt to income (approximate total school debt = 1 year of income) - except we make more out of the gate, and of course MD/DO income is very dependent on area of medicine.

 

But, it's definitely not as advantageous as several years ago when schools were more in the $30k-$50k range total.

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Over $150k just out of school for a 3 year PA/MPH program in a very high COL area.  Looking at easily close to or more than $200k with interest over 10 years. 

Luckily had a lot of help and don't have to deal with it but plenty of classmates who do.

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9 hours ago, pastudentw said:

Luckily I had the blessing of a spouse who got a great job a few months into my program and was working full time. Even so, we still made out with debt at the 120k mark and I just graduated a few days ago. We were in a high COA area and moved across the country for it, and then back. Program was about 90k for the 28 months. Obviously most PA students don't have a full time income to support them. 

Based off my estimates, minimum payments will be about $1600 ( which includes a few undergrad loans but not much). If I wanted to pay the loans off in roughly 5 yrs vs 10, we would have to put an extra $1,200 towards it a month. Yay...

All you pre-PA kids, read up! 😅😅

Take.  Note.  I've been preaching this around the forum.  It's a harsh reality but one that potential students need to consider.

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On 5/16/2019 at 7:33 PM, mgriffiths said:

I'm not sure I agree...it's about the same for the average medical school these days in terms of debt to income (approximate total school debt = 1 year of income) - except we make more out of the gate, and of course MD/DO income is very dependent on area of medicine.

Delving into math a little further on this shows that physician level debt/income offers much greater ability to build wealth than PA level debt/income.

Let's assume 30% taxes, and a minimum of $30K/year needed for minimal standard of living.


PA with $100K debt, making $100K/year.  $70K after taxes, $40K after minimum standard of living.  That's $40K a year to pay that $100K off, then build wealth.

MD with $300K debt, making $300K/year. That's $210K after taxes, and $180K after minimum standard of living.  That can pay off that debt faster, then build wealth much, much faster.

Of course, MDs bear the risk of graduating med school with this debt and not matching into residency, or washing out of residency, etc.  They also lose a couple more years of income with their longer schooling, but this also is quickly made up with their greater income.

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2 hours ago, Boatswain2PA said:

Delving into math a little further on this shows that physician level debt/income offers much greater ability to build wealth than PA level debt/income.

Let's assume 30% taxes, and a minimum of $30K/year needed for minimal standard of living.


PA with $100K debt, making $100K/year.  $70K after taxes, $40K after minimum standard of living.  That's $40K a year to pay that $100K off, then build wealth.

MD with $300K debt, making $300K/year. That's $210K after taxes, and $180K after minimum standard of living.  That can pay off that debt faster, then build wealth much, much faster.

Of course, MDs bear the risk of graduating med school with this debt and not matching into residency, or washing out of residency, etc.  They also lose a couple more years of income with their longer schooling, but this also is quickly made up with their greater income.

I don't disagree with you...except that your math  for the PA salary doesn't add up ($70k PA income with $40k and $40k), has the same tax rate for both salaries (30%)...which isn't reality, and your math ignores the time it takes to become an MD.  But, your math also aligns up with what I said:

PA with $100k salary has tax rate of around 25% taxes ($100k - $25k - $40k)...$35k toward debt will take ~3 years...

MD with $300k salary has around 35% taxes ($300k - $105k - $40k)...$155k pays off debt in ~2 years.

(Note: for taxes I'm assuming single and including FICA, not just income tax rate.)

 

So, it takes maybe 1 extra year to pay off the debt...and you begin accruing wealth MUCH sooner...totaling ~6 years from start of PA school vs. 9 years from start of med school.  Do you win financially long term going to medical school...yes...but when I was deciding PA vs. medical school the calculation came out to be approximately 15 years for physician to finally overtake PA.  Of course after those 15 years the physician curve grows rapidly...but my goal is to be financially independent in approximately 10 years and relatively retired in 20.  The financial earnings of a physician barely even apply.

Edited by mgriffiths

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4 hours ago, Cideous said:

$40k per year....for a family?   Ouch.

Lots of people live on less than that.   Quick search found this :"While the median household income is $51,371 in the US, this varies by age. Households with heads under 25 years old have a median income of $24,476 compared to $55,821 for those with heads aged 25 to 44 years old. Households headed by those aged 45 to 64 have the highest median incomes of $62,049, but those 65 and over have a median income of $36,743."   This is 2012 data, but gives a quick perspective (from http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/04/08/median-income-family-vs-household/)

 

 

2 hours ago, mgriffiths said:

I don't disagree with you...except that your math  for the PA salary doesn't add up ($70k PA income with $40k and $40k), has the same tax rate for both salaries (30%)...which isn't reality, and your math ignores the time it takes to become an MD.  But, your math also aligns up with what I said:

Yes, I was over-simplifying with rough numbers, but like you said, it doesn't change the end result much.  (and I did mention the time differences in lost income 🙂  )

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