Debt Management

Debt management is knowing how your loans will affect your finances, goals and lifestyle in the future. As a general rule, your total annual loan payments should not exceed 10 to 15 percent of your expected annual gross income after graduation.

Managing Your Debt While In School

The staff at the Financial Aid Office is available to assist you in your financial planning while in school. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to schedule a meeting to assess your current and future debt.

FIRST (Financial, Information, Resources, Services and Tools) for Medical Education is a portal designed by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) specifically for members of the academic medical community to help navigate the complexities of student debt.

If you are new to to the FIRST website, we suggest starting with the FIRST Site Tour. We also recommend entering your existing loans in the Medloans® Organizer and Calculator.

Managing your Debt After Graduation

Repayment After Graduation

It is important during this time to maintain contact with your lender(s). You can view your loan balances and lender information at the National Student Loan Data System (Federal Loans) and University Accounting Service website (Stanford Loans). You can update and track your loans using the AAMC Medloans® Organizer and Calculator.

You must file a deferment form annually (which needs to be certified by your house staff representative) with each lender for those loans that can be deferred during post-graduate training. You must send address changes to lenders promptly. If the bills do not reach you, you may be declared in default and penalized.

Loan Consolidation

In order to make loan repayment more manageable, it is possible to consolidate certain federal student loans into one new loan, with a single payment. Loans eligible for consolidation include: Federal Stafford/GSL/FISL, Federal Perkins/NDSL, HPSL, HEAL, LDS (after 1/93) and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford, SLS/ALAS. A weighted average on your existing loans rounded up to the next one-eighth of one percent will be calculated. Depending upon the size of the consolidated loan, a repayment period of up to 30 years is possible. While consolidation may ease the monthly repayment burden, it will increase the total amount of interest you pay. Detailed information is available in the Financial Aid Office as well as from your lender.

Other Repayment Options

In addition to the standard ten-year repayment schedule, you may have other repayment plan options for your federal loans, including graduated, extended, and income-sensitive repayment:

You will receive additional information about repayment plans and options during your exit interview. If at any time during repayment you experience difficulty managing your loan obligations, it is critical that you contact your lender(s). Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to make special payment arrangements, including making smaller payments or no payments for a certain period of time.

If you would like to obtain an estimate of your total loan repayment (including monthly repayment amounts for the various repayment plans, interest rates, consolidated loans, etc.), please contact the Financial Aid Office. You can also use the loan repayment calculator at

Default and Bankruptcy

Failure to make loan payments according to the repayment schedule may result in delinquency or default proceedings, or both. The costs of collection and penalties are added to the loan. In some cases, the loan must be repaid in full immediately. Stanford University School of Medicine will withhold academic transcripts, Deans’ letters, or any other information about a graduate if a loan is in default. Delinquent or defaulted loans will affect your ability to obtain future loans.

Legislation in many states precludes declaring bankruptcy for at least five years after repayment begins, and some courts refuse to cancel repayment responsibilities.

Repayment and Loan Forgiveness/Scholarship Programs

The Repayment and Loan Forgiveness/Scholarship (RALFS) web site is a searchable database that provides detailed profiles of many state and federal programs available to allopathic medicine and other health profession students.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

This program was established to encourage individuals to enter and continue full time public service employment by forgiving the remaining balance of the individuals Direct Loans

General Information:

Please review: Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Questions and Answers.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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