Issue Background

Medical Student Debt and Federal Financial Aid

  • As students graduate with growing debt loads and the nation faces a critical physician workforce shortage, AACOM supports the expansion of scholarship and loan repayment programs that include a service component, such as the National Health Service Corps and the Indian Health Service.
  • AACOM supports lowering interest rates on all federal student loans to help alleviate the significant loan debt medical students face after graduation.
  • AACOM advocates for the creation of new programs and/or the expansion of existing programs that support students pursuing primary care and other needed specialties. 
  • AACOM works to address the legislative and regulatory barriers that challenge osteopathic medical schools and the students they serve.

AACOM recognizes the significant student loan debt burden osteopathic medical students and graduates shoulder, and the overall potential impact this has on students pursuing primary care and other needed specialties.   In the 2016-17 academic year, osteopathic medical schools are educating nearly 29,000 future physicians – more than 20 percent of U.S. medical students.  As osteopathic medical education debt rises, interest accrues on these loans over time, considerably inflating the overall cost of medical student debt.  These students are also entering medical school with higher debt from their undergraduate education. 

AACOM strongly supports the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and other relevant federal programs and encourages Congress to explore fiscally responsible solutions to lower medical student debt.