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Event Details

Student debt in physical therapy: the crisis and way forward (Webinar)


Critical thresholds of debt make it challenging to balance finances for new graduates. This webinar confronts this reality with data that:

  • Provides updated information about the impact of student debt on the economic value of 10 different healthcare professions.   
  • Offers insights into the importance of student debt among minoritized groups enrolled in physical therapist programs across the United States. 

That's the crisis, but there is a way forward. Despite these economic challenges, this webinar offers feasible and logical strategies to confront student debt. 

60 minute, live webinar on Wed, April 26 at 6 pm ET

  • Current state of student debt problems
  • Solutions
  • Q&A

Who should attend

  • PT educators
  • Academic faculty
  • Clinical educators
  • Clinical instructors
  • Program Directors/administrators
  • Health science educators/learners


    By attending this webinar, the participants will be able to 

    1. Assess the severity of debt among several members of the interprofessional healthcare team.

    2. Understand the net present value of various health science degrees, including physical therapy.

    3. Evaluate the impact of student debt across various minoritized groups enrolled in academic programs in the United States.

    4. Recognize the impact educators have on learners with student loan debt.

    5. Distinguish how payment structures affect income opportunities for graduates.

    6. Identify specific useful resources and certain levels of debt impact debt payoff. 

How to Register

To receive the ACAPT member rate, you must log in to your ACAPT account. If you don't have an account, you can register for free here. When you create your account, ACAPT will review and approve if you qualify for the ACAPT member rate.

ACAPT membership

All faculty members and clinical affiliates of a member institution can use ACAPT member benefits and set up their free online ACAPT account at members.acapt.org. A faculty member or clinical affiliate of a member institution may be individual members of ACAPT.  Individual members do not pay dues to ACAPT.


Rich Shields, PT, PHD, FAPTA

Dr. Shields received a bachelor’s degree in biology, a post baccalaureate degree in physical therapy, a master’s in exercise physiology, and a PhD in physiology (University of Iowa). Dr. Shields managed the acute spinal cord injury program at the University of Iowa for several years. He developed lines of research related to how various doses of stress impact tissue health in people with central nervous system injury. His work strives to improve the health quality of individuals who suffer from reduced activity from paralysis, obesity, injury, or age. His research has been funded for the last 30 years by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and several private foundations.

Dr. Shields has published over 140 scientific papers and has delivered over 300 scientific presentations. Dr. Shields also has over 20 papers in educational research, student debt, and national benchmarking for academic physical therapy programs nationwide.  He was the recipient of the Iowa Neurology Clinical Research Award, the APTA Neurology Section Research Excellence Award, the University of Iowa Outstanding Mentor and Teaching Award, the Mayo Clinic Outstanding Alumnus Award, the APTA Williams Research Award, the research section’s Maley Research Award, the Catherine Worthingham Fellow Award, the Mary McMillan Lecture Award, and recently received the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence at the University of Iowa. He is professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences within the Carver College of Medicine, at the University of Iowa.

Madeline Ratoza, PT, DPT, PhD(c)

Madeline graduated from the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco State University with her DPT in 2015. She has diverse clinical experience across practice settings. She currently is a PhD candidate at Texas Woman's University and an Instructor and ACCE at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, Texas. Madeline’s research agenda focuses on student loan experiences and financial literacy in the DPT curriculum as well as health equity and access.

Related ACAPT resources

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