Educational Debt of Physicians-in-Training: Determining the Level of Interest in a Loan Repayment Program for Service in a Medically Underserved Area

Michelle A. Price, Stephen M. Cohn, Joseph Love, Daniel L. Dent, Robert Esterl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The amount of financial debt incurred by Texas medical students and residents during training was examined as well as the impact of this debt on these trainees' career choices. Method: An invitation to participate was sent in a Web-based survey to medical students and residents at 6 university programs in Texas during the 2005-2006 academic year. Results: Overall, 818 students (20%) and 529 residents (14%) responded to the survey. Of these, 96% of students and 85% of residents had taken out educational loans, and approximately 62% of students and residents expected their debt to exceed $100,000. More than half of students and residents expected educational debt to influence their choice of practice type and practice area and to affect important personal decisions. Approximately 52% of students and 38% of residents indicated an interest in participating in a loan repayment program that involved service in a medically underserved area. In general, women and members of minority groups were more likely to express such an interedst. Conclusions: Medical students and residents incur considerable financial debt, which seems to affect their career choices. Approximately half of the students and one third of the residents surveyed indicated that they would consider participating in a loan repayment program that required practice in an underserved area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009



  • Patient Care
  • Professionalism
  • Systems Based Practice
  • educational debt
  • medically underserved areas
  • physician workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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