Loan debt could create doctor shortage in W.Va. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Loan debt could create doctor shortage in W.Va.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- An official at West Virginia University's medical school says rising student loan debt could create a shortage of doctors in the state.

Vice dean Dr. Norman Ferrari says the debt is beginning to influence which specialty students choose to pursue. And, it could theoretically stop people from applying to medical school.

Ferrari tells the Charleston Daily Mail that some students might like to become family doctors. But they're choosing higher-paying specialties such as a cardiologist or an oncologist.

A recent report by the Higher Education Policy Commission says West Virginia medical school students graduated with an average $186,000 in student loan debt in 2012. That figure doesn't include student debt they may have incurred while earning their bachelor's degrees.

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