Paying off school debt has become an issue for growing the chiropractic industry and attracting new students
This past February, the Ohio House of Representatives signed off on a bill that would repay outstanding chiropractic school debt for doctors of chiropractic who agree to serve in regions of the state where there is a chiropractic shortage. With an impending DC shortage across the U.S., should all states or the U.S. Government offer loan repayment programs for service for paying off school debt?
“Yes — if we are meeting a need in underserved areas this is a great thing — long overdue, not to mention our profession has an extreme problem with the amount of debt we graduate with — with little guidance and/or help from any of our associations on a national or state level.”
— M. Preneta, DC
“I think service to the country or state or in some way helping society in some organized way should be recognized by reducing and possibly eliminating student loans.”
— South Florida Medical and Wellness Clinic
“Government debt repayment programs for DCs working in under-served areas would help to increase the number of clinics in those communities, but there still would be the issue of preparing chiropractors to start work quickly upon graduating. Oftentimes, new DCs find themselves in limbo after graduating because they still have to study for boards in addition to finding the money to complete them while making a living as well.”
— M. Edwards, DC
“We all know that our profession has a problem. We cannot afford the tremendous debt that follows new doctors into practice. Our educational institutions have an insatiable thirst for tuition dollars. Classroom seats must be filled, and salaries paid to instructors and administrators. And yet we also have a responsibility to those coming into colleges who are choosing to believe that any amount of debt will be worth it in the end.”
— P. Chinn, DC
“I believe that professional organizations and chiropractic education programs should establish task forces, steering committees or subcommittees to address the school debt and the industry. Legislation to further advance chiropractic and provide equity of service reimbursement, i.e. the Chiropractic Medicare Modernization Act of 2019 (HR3654) can also play a role in reducing debt-to-income ratio for chiropractic graduates. Further, in addition to legislation, I believe that increased reimbursement for chiropractors that have undergone specialized training, such as a diplomate or residency, can reduce debt-to-income ratio.”
— C. Rogers, DC
“If you work for a nonprofit or a government agency, consider the 10-Year Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which offers many advantages. Sponsored by the federal government, it can cover virtually any field of practice — including chiropractic.
Here’s how it works: While you are employed full-time for a public-service organization, you must make 120 on-time, full monthly payments. Qualifying employment is any job with a federal, state or local government agency, or a nonprofit that has 501(c)(3) status, as well as certain nonprofits that are not 501(c)(3)s. The federal government forgives your balance at the end of the 10-year program.
As part of this process, you will have to choose a payback program based on your earnings. You want to enroll as soon as possible once your education is complete because you pay on the earnings reported on your tax return. If school ends in June, this means you’ll bank nine or 10 months of low payments until you’ve filed your taxes. There are increasing rumblings that ‘alternative medicine’ is becoming more mainstream, so many chiropractors are now being employed at hospitals and other nonprofit entities. This is a great program for them.”
— D. Denniston, CFA
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