Debt Management


Dr. Semenza with students in his lab

Loan borrowing is a necessary part of graduate education.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Financial Aid Office is well aware that students must borrow loans to assist with funding their education.  Although low-interest educational loans are made available to students, the fact is, that it is a loan and “loans must be repaid."

Over $8M in loans are borrowed each year by students in the School of Medicine. The table below outlines the average graduating debt of our students over the last several years.  Although the average debt amount is well below the national average for private medical schools, many students still need sound debt management education to help with understanding their options for repayment of the loans.

It is the goal of the Financial Aid Office to help students make responsible decisions about borrowing and repayment of their loans and to provide the necessary tools to make informed and knowledgeable decisions about their future.

Entrance Counseling

By federal law, all first-time loan borrowers must be provided with entrance counseling explaining student’s rights and responsibilities for acceptance of the loans.  Students awarded the Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Graduate PLUS student loans are provided counseling sessions which address general debt management information.

In the School of Medicine, students are required to complete an Online Direct Loan Entrance Interview counseling session at and attend an orientation where they are given an introductory presentation and resource materials to help them to develop a livable budget and debt management plan.   

In addition, students are encouraged to complete the AAMC MedLoans Organizer & Calculator, which will be used to manage student's debt and will provide a list of loan repayment options for consideration.

Med Loans Organizer & Calculator

Loan Repayment Programs

It's never too early to start thinking about how you will repay your student loans after graduation. Listed below are links that provide information on the different types of repayment plans and options that are available to help in managing your student loans.

Military Financial Assistance Programs


Financial Fitness

Overall costs of medical education continue to increase and students must determine how they will finance their education and what funding resources are available to help them meet their goal. 

Through the Financial Aid Office at The School of Medicine, funding sources are limited to federal loans and work-study programs, institutional scholarships and loans, and limited state scholarship funding.

In many cases, employment is not the best option for many students because of their program requirements.  Institutional and state scholarship funding is limited, which means students have to rely on borrowing loans to help offset education costs.  In the School of Medicine, 49% of the student’s budget is funded by loans.  Therefore, it is important that the Financial Aid Office assist the student to manage the increased loan debt by providing the tools, strategies, tips and advice to make knowledgeable decisions to help control their education debt.

Tips: Something to think about

  • Develop a realistic budget to live by -- and stick to it!
  • Keep good records.  Maintain all loan material in a single file
  • Review your credit report.  Learn the importance of your credit rating
  • Limit the number of credit cards that you carry -- out of sight, out of mind!
  • Pay your credit card balances off each month if you can
  • Outline your professional and personal goals -- review yearly
  • Be smart about your loan choices
    • Borrow only what you need
    • Check interest rates to select the best loan
    • Know your repayment and the deferment options
    • Read information about your loan choices