Debt Management and Financial Literacy

To make the best financial decisions for you and your future, you should understand your loans and your options. We encourage you to organize and track your student loan information, to develop a repayment strategy, and to have a plan for your years in Residency.

First Year Debt Management & Financial Literacy

  1. AAMC Account - Sign up for the AAMC Student, Applicants, and Residents website. Explore the AAMC's FIRST resource for assitance with managing personal budgets and student loan debt.
     
  2. Track Your Loans - One of the most important steps to managing your educational debt is to know who you borrowed from and who to pay back. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the US Department of Education's central database for student aid. Note that NSLDS only contains a history of your Federal Loans. Institutional or Private loans will not be included here so you will want to maintain good records as you move through school of all other forms of debt.
     
  3. Organize Your Loans - The next step is to organize your loan records. The AAMC has provided a free Med Loan Organizer & Calculator to all Medical Students and Residents to keep track of each loan and calculate your repayment options. The Organizer lets you begin entering your loan information as a first year medical student.
     
  4. Create a Budget - As a student, it is important that you create a plan for how you will spend your money on a quarterly and monthly basis. A budget can help you avoid overspending, avoid running into credit difficulty, ensure that your necessities are covered, and also help you plan for unexpected expenses. Take a look at the AAMC's Budgeting Basics & Monthly Budget Worksheet.
     
  5. Check Your Credit Report - Even students can have inaccurate information appear on their credit reports. In order to make sure you are building a good and accurate credit history, it is important that you check your credit report at least on an annual basis. A free copy of your credit report is available to you once each year. Visit http://annualcreditreport.com.
     
  6. Schedule a Debt Management Meeting - All first year medical students are expected to schedule a one-on-one, 30-minute debt management session with the Office of Financial Aid. Meetings will be held during the Winter and Spring quarters. To schedule your debt management meeting, contact the financial aid office at pritzkerfa@bsd.uchicago.edu.

Fourth Year Debt Management

  1. Check Your Loans - As you prepare to graduate you want to take a look at NSLDS and look at your total federal debt. If you have not been organizing your loans from your first year, now is a good time to enter your Federal, Institutional, and/or Private loans into the Med Loans Organizer & Calculator.
     
  2. Contact Your Servicers - Your servicers are the organizations that hold your Federal Loans and where you will send your payments. Students typically have all of their loans with a single servicer, although in some cases students who have loans from a number of schools over a long period of time may have multiple servicers. NSLDS will list each loan and each servicer. Sometime before you graduate we recommend that you register an account with each servicer so that you familiarize yourself with them.
     
  3. Plan For Repayment - After graduation, your Federal Loans will enter a 6-month grace period when payments are not required. After the grace period, you will either enter repayment or you will apply for a Residency forbearance. During a forbearance, payments are not required but interest will accrue on your loans.
     
  4. Choose a Repayment Plan - The default repayment plan is Standard Repayment. On this plan, monthly payments will be an equal amount over 10-years. The Standard plan pays back the loan in the most aggressive and efficient manner, however it can also be costly, particularly for a Resident. Use the Med Loans Organizer & Calculator to estimate your monthly payment on the 10-year Standard plan. Income-driven repayment plans are also available which determine how much you will pay each month based on your income rather than on what you owe. Visit the Federal Student Aid website to compare requirements and eligibility. Once you decide on the right plan, contact your servicer to select the plan.
     
  5. Update Your Address - Once you know your address for your first year of Residency, be sure to log in to your servicer's web page or give them a call to update your address. You want to be certain that all mail from your servicer comes to the right location.
     
  6. Complete All Required Forms - If you sign up for one of the income-driven plans, be sure to complete the necessary income verification form for your servicer and provide any necessary tax or income verification. You will need to provide this verification each year that you are on the income-driven plan. If you plan to apply for Federal Service Loan Forgiveness, you will need to complete the Employment Certification Form from Fed Loan Servicing.