Eighty-five percent of 2018 pharmacy graduates have borrowed to fund their pharmacy degree program, according to a survey by the American Association of College of Pharmacy. Of these, the average student loan debt of a pharmacist at graduation was estimated at $ 166,528.
With a student loan balance of $ 166,528, you owe about $ 1,870 a month to the standard 10-year federal repayment plan, assuming an average interest rate of 6.25%.
Average student debt for a pharmacist
The average student loan debt of pharmacists is higher ($ 193,396) among those who attended a private college and lower ($ 137,356) among those who attended public schools.
Graduates of pharmacy schools generally have larger loan balances than those whose highest level of education is a bachelor’s degree. But, compared to some other health professionals, pharmacists have less student debt, on average.
Compared to some other health professionals, pharmacists have on average less student debt.
Here is how the average student loan pharmacist debt is comparable to the other areas of the 2017 promotion, the most recent year for which all data are available.
How to tackle the debt of pharmacy students
Debt repayment from pharmacy schools may seem overwhelming, but you have options. The best repayment approach for you depends on your post-graduation projects.
- If you are doing a residency program: Switching to a federal income-based reimbursement plan can help make payments more affordable with the allowance of a pharmacy resident. These plans cap monthly payments of 10% to 20% of your income and cancel any remaining amount after 20 or 25 years, according to the plan. Once you have completed your residency, consider pursuing a loan waiver or refinance program.
- If you work in the public sector or in an underserved area: You may be eligible for a pharmacist loan rebate program. The most popular program is the forgiveness of public service loans, which offers a tax-free rebate after 10 years of payments, whether you work for the government or for a non-profit organization. To maximize the discount, make eligible payments in an income-based repayment plan.
- If you work in the private sector: Refinancing a student loan can save you money in interest and help you get out of debt faster. To refinance a student loan, you usually need good credit (at least one of the top 600 scores) and a debt ratio of 50% or less. Once you refinance, you are no longer eligible for income-related repayment and government rebate programs, including forgiveness of public service loans.