Student finance problem

Students are forced to take personal loans to finance their education

Here at APHEA, we go by the motto “All People, Health and Economics, Around the world.” As we strive to make it easier for medical students to finance their education so that they may contribute to public health, we notice certain tendencies that pop up for students around the world.  

One big thing that we’re seeing now, is that a lot of students are forced to take personal loans to finance their education. At APHEA we think it’s sad that there doesn’t seem to be any better financing options, so we wanted to go out and see how the students themselves are feeling about this. 

In order to find out more, we interviewed students from the US, Scandinavia, and the rest of Europe. 

More than half of students take up loans

According to an American student we interviewed, he personally feels that it’s almost impossible to get through medical school because the workload and the cost of college are so high. It’s normal to pay $25,000 per year of college, and medical students must often spend several hours per day studying (in addition to lectures). Thereby, little time is left to earn money on the side through a part-time job. 

Naturally, this means that a high number of students have to take up loans. According to statistics at Investopedia, 54% of college students are taking up loans to finance their education. The numbers are not comforting.

The two-sided nature of personal loans

Through our interviews, we have confirmed our suspicions that many students are struggling because they need personal loans to get through college. But we also stumbled upon some other students who looked at the situation a bit more optimistically. 

According to a Norwegian student we interviewed, there are actually two sides to personal loans. We want to share what she said in her own words (and then we will translate it for you afterwards): “Det er jo sant at det ikke er helt ideelt for meg å ta opp forbrukslån for å kunne finansiere studiene mine. Man må jo betale renter og slikt. Men samtidig er jeg takknemlig for at det er mulig å finne et relativt billig forbrukslån gjennom sammenligningsportaler som Lån for deg på internett, siden jeg ikke ville ha kunnet fullføre medisinstudiet uten det.” 

In short, she says that while it’s not ideal to finance her studies through personal loans, she has realized that they have actually enabled her to finish her medical studies. Without them, she wouldn’t have had the financing to pay for her college or living expenses.


Now that we are done with our interviews for this time, we discovered that loans can be tough for many, but that they seem to favor the student who knows exactly what he or she wants to work with when they finish their degree. They appear to feel more confident that they will be able to pay down the loan later. 

While we are happy to hear that some students are taking it well, we can’t brush off the fact that not everyone feels the same way or has the same confidence in their career path. And not everyone is in the same situation; as many people know, college costs a lot of money in the US, and in Norway it’s free. This might clearly affect the way they look at things.

Therefore, we will keep posting articles in order to help all medical students around the world with financing their education.