March 21, 2019

ACR Supports Bill Halting Loan Interest Accrual During Residency

The American College of Radiology (ACR) joined 31 physician and dentist medical societies this week in a letter of support for H.R. 1554, the Resident Education Deferred Interest Act (REDI) of 2019.

Rising medical education costs have forced many future radiologists to take on significant amounts of student loan debt. The required repayments on those loans can be next to impossible for young physicians to afford, particularly during their residencies.

Residents are allowed to apply for deferment or forbearance to place temporary holds on their student loan repayment. However, the resident must meet strict requirements, such as military service, to qualify for deferment.

Under such circumstances, deferment will halt the accrual of interest on subsidized loans, but interest will continue to accrue on unsubsidized loans. During forbearance, interest continues to accrue on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

All medical and dental school loans have been unsubsidized since 2011, so interest continues to accrue regardless of whether a resident qualifies for a deferment or requests forbearance. Such interest costs can add tens of thousands of dollars to a loan’s balance, while the physician completes his or her education.

The REDI Act, introduced by Congressman Bruce Babin, D.D.S. (R-TX), attempts to provide some relief to young physicians by allowing all medical and dental residents to qualify for deferment to halt the accrual of interest on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The House Education and Labor Committee is currently considering the bill.

The ACR will continue to monitor and report on the REDI Act’s progress. Questions may be directed to Rebecca Spangler, ACR Director, Government Relations (rspangler@acr.org).