Investigating the impact of student loan debt on new practitioners


Investigating the impact of student loan debt on new practitioners


Amin KA; Ulbrich TR; Kirk LM; Gothard MD


Journal Of The American Pharmacists Association




Background: United States student loan debt has surpassed $1.7 trillion and continues to rise. Generally described as a “crisis,” the state of student loan debt in the United States is a subject of increasing consideration, research, and analysis by federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations, economists, and students who carry the balance. Excessive student loan debt has been hypothesized to affect students' career choice, diminish quality of life, negatively affect their ability to give back to society at large, and delay progress on achieving other financial goals such as saving for retirement. Current available research evaluating the impact of this debt on student pharmacists and new practitioners is limited. Objective: To assess the impact of student loan debt on financial stability, career choice, professional development, and overall well-being among pharmacists who received first licensure in Ohio within a 5-year period; hereafter referred to as “new practitioners.” Methods: An anonymous survey, consisting of 39 items, was administered using Verint survey software to new practitioners holding an active pharmacist license in Ohio with date of first licensure between May 1, 2012 and March 1, 2017. Results: Total of 4026 pharmacists were invited to participate in the survey, and there were 471 responses, yielding a response rate of 11.7%. Higher student loan debt was associated with perceived limitations regarding amount of available disposable income, career mobility, work satisfaction, charitable contributions, participation in professional organizations, retirement savings, purchasing a home, delay in starting a family, diminished quality of life, and worries about paying off student loans. However, this study did not find a statistically significant relationship between student loan debt and the decision to pursue a residency. Conclusion: On the basis of the results of this study, higher student loan debt has statistically significant effect on new practitioner's perception of their financial stability, ability to pursue professional development opportunities, and overall well-being. (C) 2021 American Pharmacists Association (R). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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Amin KA; Ulbrich TR; Kirk LM; Gothard MD, “Investigating the impact of student loan debt on new practitioners,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed December 7, 2023,