At the 2016 House of Delegates, the Oregon chapter proposed the following RC regarding student debt in physical therapy: That the American Physical Therapy Association evaluate existing and emerging data available from internal and external sources, such as the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, to identify possible effects of student loan debt upon the physical therapy profession, and develop a plan with feasible options to address the identified issues with implementation initiated no later than June 2018.
Cindy Rauert, the Student Assembly PT delegate, spoke to the assembly in support of this RC. The following position statement of the ACAPT Board of Directors was read to the Assembly by Mark Reinking, vice-president of ACAPT and ACAPT consultant to the House of Delegates:
The Board of Directors of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) recognize that student loan debt is a complex and multifactorial issue in higher education. At present, there are limited data on the amount of debt incurred by graduating physical therapists, including both their undergraduate and graduate (DPT) education. There is also little known about the effect of such debt on lifestyle decisions including the clinical setting where graduates choose to work and pursuing residency or graduate education. The ACAPT, as an organization of physical therapist education institutions, is well-positioned to take the lead in a study of debt in physical therapist education, and to partner with the American Physical Therapy Association in efforts to address issues of financial literacy, indebtedness, loan repayment, and the cost of physical therapist education.
This motion was passed unanimously by the House of Delegates. The ACAPT Board looks forward to working with APTA on a plan to address this motion. As further details are available, the Board will communicate those to the member institutions. Questions can be addressed to your ACAPT Board liaison.