Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 143–145

The impact of educational loan burden on housestaff career decisions

  • Dale Berg
  • James Cerletty
  • James C. Byrd
Brief Reports


The past decade has seen declining interest in primary care medicine and a dramatic increase in the cost of a medical degree. Seventy-nine percent of housestaff in an internal medicine residency program responded to a survey to determine whether medical school loan burden was related to career choice in a primary care field or specialty area. Overall mean indebtedness was $45,185 (median $40,000). Thirty-eight percent of residents with debts < $40,000 chose a career in primary care, compared with 10% with debts > $40,000 (chi square =9.44, p<0.01). Fourteen percent of those with debts <40,000 and 59% with debts > $40,000 stated that financial conditions had a moderate to marked impact on their career decision making. Excessive loan burden has a significant influence on residents’ career decision making and a negative influence on choosing careers in primary care internal medicine.

Key words

career choice educational debt loan burden decision making 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Berg
    • 1
    • 3
  • James Cerletty
    • 2
  • James C. Byrd
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.the Department of General Internal MedicineZablocki VA Medical CenterMilwaukee
  2. 2.the Internal Medicine Residency ProgramZablocki VA Medical CenterMilwaukee
  3. 3.Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Department of Ambulatory Care (DB, JCB)Zablocki VA Medical CenterMilwaukee
  4. 4.Department of General Internal MedicineZablocki VA Medical Center (111B)Milwaukee

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