Hospitalists are board-certified physicians who typically practice internal or family medicine and have completed a four-year degree, attended medical school, completed residency and fellowship programs, and obtained a state license to practice. If you are planning on a profession in hospital medicine, all of the above can add up when it comes to incurring student loan debt.
Although a lengthy process, becoming a hospitalist is a rewarding career. By taking a few minutes to plan accordingly, you can limit your odds of racking up debt that you’ll inevitably have to pay back later.
Top Three Tips to Keep Your Student Loans to a Minimum
- Consider Community College
By attending a community college for the first two years of your undergraduate program, you will save an exponential amount of money in tuition costs. There are many other advantages to first going to a community college and then transferring to a university after two years. These include smaller class sizes, flexibility in class schedules, skilled instructors, less pressure, more affordable courses, and books, as well as giving yourself an opportunity to get a feel for higher education without having to move away from home.
According to the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, annual average tuition for a public two-year college comes in at just over $3,400, while annual average tuition for an in-state resident of a public four-year college is around $9,400, and for out-of-state students it’s nearly $24,000. And a private four-year university is around $32,400 per academic year. Add in housing and other living costs, and you can see how easily it can all add up.
- Apply for Scholarships
With stiff competition surrounding scholarship opportunities, you must be proactive in seeking them out. It’s a good idea to begin applying for grants and scholarships between one and two years prior to attending college. Filling out applications can be time consuming, so procrastination will only limit your opportunity to obtain financial assistance through this route.
Many scholarships and grants also request that you submit letters of recommendation, transcripts, and essays – this means that the longer you wait, the less time you will have to put detailed thought into your responses. Remember, the more financial assistance you receive, the less debt you will incur, and the less time you will have to spend working outside of studying.
- Create a Budget & Stick to It
It can be easy to overborrow when it comes to student loans. Especially in the case of long grace periods for paying back debts and interest rates, it can be very appealing to take more than you need with the intention of paying it back “later.” Without paying much attention to how much you’ve actually borrowed; it can be an abrupt surprise when it comes time to start paying it back. By creating a comprehensive budget, itemizing all of your expenses, and only spending what you’ve allowed as part of your financial plan, you will be much better off. By following this plan, you will likely not fall prey to overspending and overborrowing.
The best way to keep yourself in check is to keep track of all your spending and compare it regularly to the budget you set. If you find you are spending more than you have allotted, then it may be time to make some minor adjustments. If you also find you have a surplus at the end of each month, try putting that money away in savings or begin paying off small chunks of your student loan at the principal amount.
There are many ways that you can limit your chances of incurring hefty student loan payments after graduation. By making practical decisions like those mentioned above, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of needing to take out student loans. Perhaps you won’t have to take any out at all. At the end of the day, enjoying the fruits of your hard work and finding satisfaction in your career as a hospitalist is important. And if you can mitigate stressors such as paying back sizeable debts upon graduation, why not try your hardest to create a plan that will help you do just that.
If you have already incurred student loan debt, consider looking into options like auto-debit monthly payments to reduce your interest rates, as well as student loan tax deductions. For more information, you can check out the IRS website.
Have questions? Our team of hospitalists can help you find answers! Contact us today!
Learn More About Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH)
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. Our providers are highly skilled, board-certified internal medicine specialists who are available around-the-clock to meet the care needs of patients from hospital admission through discharge. Post-discharge from the hospital, we continue overseeing patient care for 30 days.
We’ve found that continued care coordination ensures more accurate medication reconciliation, improved compliance with discharge plans, better scheduling of follow-up visits, and fewer hospital readmissions. Our providers do everything in their power to make sure our patients receive the compassionate and comprehensive care they need to promote healing and prevent a second hospital admission.
For more information about our services and our practice, please contact Advanced Care Hospitalists at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.