- The student loan repayment break is currently set to expire at the end of August.
- Joshua McGough, a medical resident with $366,000 in debt, said he was ready to start paying off his loans.
- McGough said despite the loans, he still had to work part-time as a medical student to make ends meet.
After graduating from medical school in May, Joshua McGough still has more than $360,000 in student loan debt despite having done ‘the unheard of’ to survive financially and having worked part-time throughout his graduate studies.
McGough, 27, told Insider that the student loan payment and interest break has been helpful in saving his family some extra cash, but he’s working to restart payments if the extension expires. in August. Biden administration officials hinted that the break could be extended.
The conversation about student loan repayments and potential forgivenesssaid McGough, failed to mention that for many people in the medical field or at the university level, the loans don’t just pay for tuition, but for day-to-day living expenses, which means they can get accumulate quite quickly.
“Medical student loans tend to be generally for single people (people) who usually live with roommates and not for me because I’m married and have a 10-month-old child. So even the loans that the government tends to grant don’t cover all the expenses required to be a graduate student and a medical student,” McGough said.
He added: “Like I had to work part-time during my medical studies, which is almost unheard of. I had so many needs for money other than tuition, and that’s in sort of where the system is insufficient for students like me.”
McGough said he was lucky to have two part-time remote positions where he could work his own hours, but he knows medical students who graduate and have to work as delivery drivers, which , according to him, is difficult with rising gasoline prices.
He manages social media platforms for the dermatology department and helps a company run webinars for students entering medical school.
“Fortunately, I was able to work in positions that relied on my medical knowledge, instead of like when I was in college. Like walking dogs. I was a nanny for a while. Just just do anything to make money and just pay the rent and all that,” he said.
McGough told Insider that while he thinks he’ll be fine financially in the long run — and the current loan cancellation proposals will not affect his loans — other graduates need more support.
“The $10,000 for everyone wouldn’t really help me that much when I’m looking at $360,000. However, there are people who have large debts that won’t have the earning potential that I will. as a doctor” he said.
McGough said he supports canceling restoration loans for people with the highest debt-to-income ratios and those who need them the most. Several governors and legislators, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan offered more small-scale efforts this would provide more support for those who had more debt relative to their income.
McGough has laid out a plan in which he expects to be able to repay his loans in a decade, but says there is no certainty, especially as the economy changes. The costs of having a child and the current economic climate have caused her family to reconsider when they can have another child.
McGough says that ultimately there needs to be better financial literacy so teens who take out loans to go to school know and understand the economic burden that comes with it.
“I don’t think there’s enough financial education,” he said, adding that as the only member of his family to become a doctor, he was unaware at age 17 of the long-term financial impact of student loans.
For now, McGough is focused on getting his payments restarted, and while he’s confident his profession of choice will help him repay those loans, he said there should be some common ground for find a solution that would help other borrowers.
“I think if we start understanding that a lot of us made these decisions when we were kids and now that we’re all paying the price, that’s a common ground that we can all build on. Okay,” he said.