Context

Borrowers burdened by high student debt generally experience financial constraints that can impact them both personally and professionally. To date no published data exists that profiles the education-related debt accrued by entry-level certified athletic trainers.

Objective

To assess the scope and scale of student debt associated with the completion of an entry-level athletic training degree.

Design

Cross-sectional study

Setting

Online web-based survey

Patients or Other Participants

Participants were recruited with assistance from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, who disseminated the survey to 18,689 certified athletic trainers who were members in good standing and who had earned their certification between 2004 and 2022. A total of 2,271 individuals accessed the survey.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The overall amount of student debt incurred to complete an entry-level degree in athletic training and the initial monthly repayment amount were collected from survey respondents. Education-related debt-to-income ratio (DTIR) and monthly payment DTIR which are measures of financial health/stability were also calculated from the acquired survey data.

Results

Among athletic trainers who took out student loans, the average amount owed by entry-level athletic trainers for the period spanning 20042022 was $61,717, with an average initial monthly loan payment amount reported to be $453. The mean education related DTIR calculated from respondents was 169%, which exceeded the benchmark value of 100% recommended within the finance industry. Also, the average monthly payment DTIR calculated from study participants was .144, which approached the recommended acceptable upper-limit of .15.

Conclusions

Education-related DTIR and monthly payment DTIR values reported by respondents suggests the potential for entry-level athletic trainers to experience financial challenges related to their student debt.

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