Student Pharmacists’ Personal Finance Perceptions, Projected Student Loan Indebtedness, and Career Decision Making

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Objectives: 1) Describe relationships between student pharmacists’ personal finance perceptions and projected post-graduation indebtedness; 2) Examine the association between personal finance perceptions, demographic characteristics, and post-PharmD career intentions. Method: Student cohorts at two colleges of pharmacy (N= 226) completed a self-administered 39-item questionnaire assessing personal finance perceptions, behaviors, student loan indebtedness, and post-PharmD career intentions. Parametric and nonparametric independent t-test and one-way ANOVA equivalents, and logistic regression techniques were used to examine differences across and relationships between study variables. Results: A 73% usable response rate was obtained. On average, students anticipate $169,323 (± $81,641) in post-graduation student loan debt and expect to pay off debt in 8.0 (± 6.4) years. Over 75% of students feel pressured to get out of debt upon graduation and 55% have a plan for debt repayment. Projected student loan debt did not differ across students who anticipate pursuing postgraduate training versus those planning to enter practice directly. However, students intending to directly enter practice were 2.6 times as likely to indicate debt influences their post-PharmD career plans compared to individuals intending to pursue postgraduate training (p=0.001). Students intending to practice in community pharmacy settings were 3.3 times as likely to indicate debt influences their post-PharmD career plans compared to individuals planning to enter all other practice settings (pImplications: Our study adds to recent literature exploring the relationship between student indebtedness and career decision-making. Further research is warranted to explore interventions that foster increased personal finance self-awareness in student pharmacists and minimize student indebtedness.


Johnson City, TN

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© Copyright American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. This abstract was originally published in (2014). 115th Annual Meeting of the American Associaton of Colleges of Pharmacy, Grapevine, TX, July 26-30, 2014. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education: Volume 78, Issue 5, Article 111.

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