What Are the Opportunity Costs of Self-Financing Medical Education?

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Excerpt

We read with great interest the recent study from Marcu and colleagues1 comparing the effectiveness of various financing strategies for medical school education. One critical factor that was not included in the investigators’ otherwise meticulous models was the potential opportunity cost of self-financing a medical education. For those who self-finance, the money they pay in tuition could have been invested with equivalent or higher returns than the interest rates on educational loans.
Given that the investigators did not take into account the opportunity cost of self-financing medical education, it seems that they arrived at an intuitively obvious conclusion—that starting one’s medical career without any debt is the most advantageous in the long run. Understanding the influence and magnitude of potential opportunity cost is essential to enabling prospective medical students and families to weigh the decision of investing family resources into self-financing medical school versus diverting these resources into other equally high-priority family investments (i.e., retirement, stocks, housing).
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