Financial Aid Office Works to Improve Financial LiteracyAugust 11, 2016
Among its services, the Office of Financial Aid offers free, one-on-one counseling
available at any time.
Recent graduates of osteopathic medical schools nationwide have mean debt level of
almost $230,000, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic
Medicine. What’s more, an April 2015 TG Research Report on the effectiveness of student
loan entrance counseling found that overborrowing is a serious issue; it can increase
the borrower’s loan burdens, financial strain, and odds of default. The report named
two main factors for overborrowing: the unpredictability of the future, and inexperience
on the part of the borrower—which could lead to poor borrowing decisions and the inability
to manage the outcomes of those decisions.
As PCOM’s Debt Management Counselor, Grace Taylor is working to prevent overborrowing
among PCOM’s students. “Our students understand that they have to borrow money to
go to medical school,” she says. “But most of our students only understand bits and
pieces of the larger picture. What they know is only half-true.”
To that end, the Financial Aid staff has enhanced its efforts to form a more robust
education campaign over the past year, to better inform students about smart borrowing
habits by offering information and tactics to help students manage their money more
In addition to mandatory entrance and exit counseling for students, the office holds
table topics throughout the academic year, where students can get information and
have questions answered about saving money, setting up a budget, and public service
loan forgiveness. In addition, Taylor hosts interactive webinars on financial topics
each term on Blackboard. During winter and spring 2016, the office continued its financial
literacy lecture series on topics such as home buying, loan repayment strategies,
and financial planning. And, for the first time in August 2015, the Financial Aid
Office hosted a new student reception to introduce incoming students to the concept
of overborrowing and the value of budgeting. Taylor says the financial literacy program
will continue to develop more events and resources during the 2016-17 academic year.
“The most effective form of financial education is one-on-one counseling, and that
is available to all students, at any time,” Taylor explains. She also travels to the
Georgia campus for a week each term, to build relationships with students on both
campuses. Students can speak with Taylor in person, over the phone, or via video messaging
about issues related to financial aid, but more importantly, about debt and budget
“All of this is a free service we provide, as part of each student’s educational experience
here at PCOM,” says Taylor. “We want to give students the information and tools they
need to make informed decisions about their money, and hopefully leave here with a
better understanding of what their finances will look like once they have to start
paying back those loans.”
For more information about services offered by the Office of Financial Aid, email Grace Taylor at email@example.com or visit the Office of Financial Aid Facebook page.
About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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