Canadian student debt: law, medicine, other health grads owe the biggest, with $60,300 in median loans

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      Earning a professional degree costs a lot of money.

      Getting degrees like law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, and pharmacy often means one thing.

      It involves going deep into student debt.

      A new Statistics Canada study shows how much is owed by holders of professional degrees.

      In 2015, the median student debt for these highly trained professionals amounted to $60,300.

      The debt represents three times more that the amount owed by college graduates.

      Diane Galarneau and Laura Gibson co-authored the study titled “Trends in student debt of postsecondary graduates in Canada: Results from the National Graduates Survey, 2018”.

      Galarneau and Gibson work as analysts with the Canadian Centre for Education Statistics of Statistics Canada.

      The federal agency on Tuesday (August 25) released the study, which focused on the 2015 cohort of graduates.

      The authors noted that about half of graduates in that year reported that they had student debt.

      This rate of student indebtedness has remained the same since 2000.

      According to the study, college graduates had the lowest amount of student debt of $11,500 in 2015.

      Those with bachelor’s and master’s degree holders owed around $20,000.

      Doctorate degree holders held debts amounting to $25,400.

      “Given their higher tuition fees and many additional educational expenses, professional degree holders had the largest amount of student debt of all postsecondary graduates, at $60,300,” the study noted.

      Also, the proportion of professional degree holders with student debts increased from 75 percent in 2000 to 85 percent in 2015.

      “The high prevalence of student debt among professional degree holders is related to the high costs of these programs,” the study explained.

      It noted that tuition fees for students in professional programs were the highest of all undergraduate programs in Canada in academic year 2014-2015.

      These tuition fees were: $18,118 for dentistry; $12,987, medicine; $11,273, pharmacy; $10,563, law.

      In contrast, the fees were $5,998 for the total of all fields of study.

      “However, other costs—such as the cost of instruments or travel costs for medical electives—may also drive up student debt for professional degree holders,” Galarneau and Gibson wrote.

      More details here.