Digging into Debt: The Financial Burden Associated with the Otolaryngology Match
To quantify the cost incurred during the match process for otolaryngology applicants, determine sources of expenditures, and highlight potential methods to alleviate financial burden of the match process.Study Design
Online survey.Subjects and Methods
An electronic survey was sent via email to those who applied to the otolaryngology residency programs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital during the 2016 application cycle. Questions regarding demographics and experiences with the match were multiple choice, and questions regarding cost were open answer. Data were downloaded and analyzed on Excel and Minitab software.Results
Twenty-eight percent of the total 370 applicants completed the survey. The mean cost of away rotations was $2500 (95% confidence interval [CI], $2224-$2776). With application fees and the cost of interviewing, the mean total cost of applying for the 2016 otolaryngology match was $6400 (95% CI, $5710-$7090), with a total range of $1200 to $20,000. Twenty-eight percent of students did not have sufficient funds for applying and interviewing despite seeking out additional monetary resources.Conclusion
In 2016, otolaryngology applicants spent a mean of $8900 (95% CI, $7935-$9865) on away rotations, applications, and interviewing. Half of the applicants obtained additional funding to cover this cost, while 28% still did not have sufficient funding. Methods of decreasing cost may include instituting a cap on application number, videoconferencing interviews, regionalizing interviews, and adjusting the interview timeline.