Aiming to reduce student loan debt and increase the number of high skilled workers in South Carolina, Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina announced a combined graduate school program which reduces the time it takes to graduate by a year and lowers student debt.
In a statement announcing the new program, the two schools said with one initiative undergraduates of Clemson University can apply for admission to nine health graduate programs at Medical University of South Carolina which will reduce their studies by one year. The programs include medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, and public health. The other initiative is a joint doctoral program in which students take classes at Clemson and Medical University of South Carolina and earn diplomas with both seals. The aim with the second program is to “rapidly” grow the workforce in biomedical data science and informatics.
According to both schools, shortening the time it takes to graduate with a medical degree could save thousands of dollars in tuition and living expenses. These savings have the potential to reduce student debt at a significant rate. “Not only are these accelerated degree programs significantly reducing total student debt, which is a priority for all academic health science centers, but they also align perfectly with MUSC’s strategic pillar to foster innovative education,” MUSC Provost Lisa Saladin said in the press release. The initiative kicks off in the fall and is the latest example of how schools are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to combating student loan debt and churning out more qualified graduates.
The move on the part of Clemson and Medical University of South Carolina not only addresses a shortage in high skill fields that is plaguing all parts of the country, but it tries to pick away at student loan debt that exceeds $1.41 trillion, affecting around 44 million people according to LendEDU data. South Carolina averages student loan debt of $30,387 per graduate borrower which is higher than the national average of $28,000. Clemson University average debt per graduate is only a little better coming in at $30,213 on average with 49 percent of graduates owing at least one student loan according to LendEDU.
Clemson and Medical University of South Carolina aren’t the only schools in the state aiming to help college graduates with their outsized student debt. In March, the Horry County Schools school district in South Carolina started mulling a plan aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers by paying a portion of their student loan debt if they agreed to stay in the district for five years. The idea is to pay $5,000 towards new and existing teachers’ student loans to incentivize them to stay in the district.
Author: Dave Rathmanner
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