The lifetime cost to English students of borrowing to invest in a medical degree: a gender comparison using data from the Office for National Statistics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Objective:
To evaluate this impact on male and female English medical graduates by estimating the total time and amount repaid on loans taken out with the UK’s Student Loans Company (SLC).
Setting:
UK.
Participants:
4286 respondents with a medical degree in the Labour Force Surveys administered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between 1997 and 2014.
Outcomes:
Age-salary profiles were generated to estimate the repayment profiles for different levels of initial graduate debt.
Results:
2195 female and 2149 male medical graduates were interviewed by the ONS. Those working full-time (73.1% females and 96.1% males) were analysed in greater depth. Following standardisation to 2014 prices, average full-time male graduates earned up to 35% more than females by the age of 55. The initial graduate debt from tuition fees alone amounts to £39 945.69. Owing to interest charges on this debt the average full-time male graduate repays £57 303 over 20 years, while the average female earns less and so repays £61 809 over 26 years. When additional SLC loans are required for maintenance, the initial graduate debt can be as high as £81 916 and, as SLC debt is written off 30 years after graduation, the average female repays £75 786 while the average male repays £110 644.
Conclusions:
Medical graduates on an average salary are unlikely to repay their SLC debt in full. This is a consequence of higher university fees and as SLC debt is written off 30 years after graduation. This results in the average female graduate repaying more when debt is low, but a lower amount when debt is high compared to male graduates.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere007335
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ open
Volume5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • journalism, MEDICAL EDUCATION & TRAINING