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Consistency, transparency, and financial literacy: Those are fundamentals of a new report that will help inform an upcoming APTA examination of the state of student debt.

A new report from the Student Debt Task Force of the Education Leadership Partnership examines issues influencing physical therapy student debt, including ratio of debt to income, financial aid, cost of education, reimbursement for clinical services, curricular issues, and the impact of student debt on physical therapy programs.

The partners — comprising representatives from APTA, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy, and the Academy of Physical Therapy Education — recently released the task force’s Final Recommendations Report, which includes five recommendations:

1. That APTA, ACAPT, and APTE promote the use of fact sheets that provide financial information on DPT and PTA programs in a consistent manner so that student and prospective students can more easily compare costs between schools.
2. That academic programs provide access to current and prospective students to the financial literacy information available from the APTA Financial Solutions Center.
3. That ACAPT, APTA, and APTE provide access to the report’s FAQ — which addresses loans, financial aid, cost comparison, managing debt, and financial aspects of a program’s clinical experience — to prospective and current students and encourage their members to do so.
4. That the ELP partners’ liaisons to CAPTE discuss potential inclusion in the Annual Accreditation Report, known as the AAR, of the financial disclosure information.
5. That the partners’ liaisons ask CAPTE to require that information from the DPT and PTA financial fact sheets be posted on an academic program’s website.

APTA is developing a report on the state of physical therapy student debt, scheduled for release in June, in support of the association’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan goal to foster long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession in part by championing student and early-career issues including debt burden and career-earning potential. It’s expected that findings from this Student Debt Task Force Final Recommendations Report will inform APTA’s upcoming report.


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