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April 8, 1992

Medical Student Indebtedness and Choice of Specialty

Author Affiliations

Boston University School of Medicine

JAMA. 1992;267(14):1921. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480140047025

To the Editor.  —The costs of medical education rise yearly and a large proportion of these costs are met by borrowing. Nationwide, the average debt incurred during medical school in 1989 was $40 636 with only 24% of graduates having no reported debt. Conventional wisdom suggests that students select higher-paying medical specialties in order to repay the debt.1-2Boston University School of Medicine is a private school with a high tuition ($23 900 for the calendar year 1990-1991) as compared with state schools. The average indebtedness of those who borrowed to complete their medical education at the school was $64 500 for the 1990 graduating class. Approximately 23% of the graduating classes at Boston University School of Medicine incur no reported debt, although it is possible that their family members lend them money (or assume the financial obligation for tuition) to complete their education.But I do not believe