Trinity School of Medicine News Blog

New Ideas and Old Assumptions: the Hidden Costs of Federal Loans in Medical Education

 Last year, St. Vincent and the Grenadines received formal recognition from the US Department of Education’s NCFMEA as having medical education standards comparable to those of the LCME in the United States. This recognition allows medical schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that are accredited by CAAM-HP to apply for Title IV recognition and federal student loans for US citizens from the Department of Education.

As the only medical school accredited in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and qualified to obtain Title IV recognition, we are frequently asked by prospective and existing students about our federal loan status. We’re in the process of obtaining Title IV eligibility and believe we’ll gain this status in July of 2017. Securing this status doesn’t mean we’ll choose to offer federal graduate student loans. It's a complicated issue, and one we're happy to dive into.

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Tuition, Debt, and Medicine: The intersection of cost and value for future doctors

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, over 80% of medical school graduates leave school with debt. The median amount of education debt carried by U.S. medical graduates in 2015 was over $180,000. This is significant but surmountable, given the salary of a physician. However, the bigger Caribbean schools do not leave students with an average amount of academic debt. In fact, they can leave them repaying nearly twice as much. They also force students to deal with high attrition rates, 300+ member starting classes, and a sink-or-swim approach to both basic sciences and clinical rotations. 

The question, then, is this: is the greater cost worth it? Do you truly "get what you pay for" in that environment? Or is there a better option? One that also has a demonstrably better dedication to your future? Financially, culturally, academically, and professionally? 

We think so. And it shows in tuition, outcomes, and ROI.

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How Do Medical Schools Compare? Tuition and Outcome

Many of the 'Big Caribbean Medical Schools' want you to believe the old adage, 'You get what you pay for'. Does the end justify the means? Must you spend $200,000 plus in tuition (never mind fees, living expense, housing) in order to secure a Residency match? The answer is no. The cost of attending medical school ranges from less expensive options to very expensive options. While it's probably fair to suggest that the lowest cost options offer less student resources, what do the schools on the high end have to show for their price tags at rates that exceed top ranked U.S. schools like Johns Hopkins and Stanford Schools of Medicine?

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ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Residency Prep, Sallie Mae Loans at Trinity SOM, Caribbean medical school

There are a number of new developments at Trinity School of Medicine contributing to the  success of our Students and their futures as MD's.

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Trinity SOM Secures Sallie Mae as Lending Partner for Student Loans

Trinity School of Medicine now offers students the ability to finance their medical education with Sallie Mae's Smart Option Student Loan® for Health Professions Students. The Smart Option Student Loan offers two types of interest rates and multiple repayment options designed to save students money and make it easier to achieve their long-term financial and professional goals. Payments may be deferred until after students leave school or they may choose an in-school repayment option that fits their needs*.

FEATURES OF THE SMART OPTION STUDENT LOAN

The Smart Option Student Loan is an attractive alternative to federal student loans and other financing vehicles*— one that can help you make a smart start on the road to a graduate health professions degree.

  • No origination fees and no prepayment penalty.
  • Borrow up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance (minimum $1,000).*
  • A quick credit result. Applying online is fast and easy. It only takes about 15 minutes to apply and get a credit result.
  • A lower interest rate. Get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction while enrolled to make scheduled monthly payments by automatic debit.*
  • Smart Reward® — 2% cash back. When you become a Upromise® member (which is free to join) and choose the Interest or Fixed Repayment Option you can get a Smart Reward in your Upromise account of 2% of your scheduled monthly payments that are made on time while in school.*
  • Increased peace of mind with the Tuition Insurance Benefit. Covers up to $2,500 per semester of tuition lost due to a covered medical withdrawal. Available at no cost to you with loans that first disburse July 1 through October 31, 2014.
  • Graduated Repayment Period. The Smart Option Student Loan is the only nationwide private student loan offering a Graduated Repayment Period feature*, providing budget flexibility for graduating students. Students in good standing can sign up at the end of their separation period to make interest payments for their first year of repayment. This could allow you to ease the transition to full principal and interest payments.

*For additional information about the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan, including eligibility requirements for each benefit, please go to
http://www.salliemae.com/student-loans/graduate-student-loans/graduate-smart-option-student-loan

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