Could ending the student loan interest deduction reduce interest in radiology?

The Republican plan to overhaul the tax code included one proposal that would impact medical school graduates who leave school with outstanding student loans. The GOP plan calls for the elimination of the student loan interest deduction, which helped 12 million Americans reduce their tax bills in 2015.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 75 percent of med school graduates carried an average of $190,694 in student loan debt, with interest rates in the range of 6 percent. A recent article by STAT described how the elimination of the deduction might have an especially significant impact on healthcare workers.

“What that really translates to is, whenever you make payments on your student loans throughout residency, all of those payments are literally going toward interest. They’re tax-deductible,” said Daniel Gouger, MD, the education and advocacy fellow for the American Medical Student Association. “When you’re thinking about how much interest you’re having to pay when your principal is over $200,000, it’s an incredible amount of money.”

Gouger argues that the proposal is, in effect, another obstacle that could discourage prospective medical school students.

"If we continue, through tax policy or education policy, to create more and more barriers that prevent people from pursuing those careers, then we’ll have much bigger problems," he said.

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