Financial Aid for Medical School
Medical school is expensive! This means that finding financial aid for medical school is extremely important.
The cost of medical school is in the $20-50,000 per year range. And that's just for the cost of
tuition! When you factor in the amount of money you'll need to survive, the cost of medical school goes up substantially. It is difficult but not impossible to work during medical school. Medical school jobs generally consist of tutoring or doing paid research. These types of medical school jobs usually don't even come close to covering the cost of medical school. This means you definitely need some medical school financial aid.
So, there are four main ways of paying the cost of medical school. These include paying the cost of medical school with your own or someone else's money (like a rich uncle), medical school loans, medical school scholarships, and medical school grants. These are the main sources of medical school financial aid.
Photo courtesy of yomanimus
Using Your Own (or your family's) Funds
This is certainly an option to help you cover the cost of medical school. Most forms of financial aid for medical school will require you to pay the money back. If, however, you have saved up a good amount of money, you may not need financial aid for medical school.
Your family may also be able to help you out and give you terms that you could not meet with a loan from the government or from a private company. Your rich uncle might just want you to pay you back sometime at zero interest. Now that's my type of medical school loan!
Another option is to use your time now to build up a stream of passive income. You can do this in a number of ways, but one great way is to build a website! Choose something you love and you can make a website out of it using SBI!, like I did. Check out my About Me page to learn more about how to make money by building a website. That way while you're studying at medical school you'll be making money at the same time. Nice!
Most students end up taking out medical school loans as their primary form of financial aid for medical school. If you do this, as most medical students do, you will likely have close to $200,000 in debt at the end of your four years of medical school.
I like to think of this as an investment in my future. As a doctor, you can expect to make at least $100,000 per year after your training. The exact amount will depend on how much medical training you receive and which specialty you choose. It could be upwards of $500,000 per year.
So, if you think of the cost of medical school more as an investment, you are spending around $200,000 to secure $100,000 per year for the next 30+ years. Not a bad deal!
You will also have the opportunity to do a medical school loan consolidation at the end of medical school. This means that your federal loans can all be grouped together. You can also group your private medical school loans. However, you cannot group together your federal and private loans into one loan. To learn more about this process, click here.
For more details about medical school loans, click here.
Another form of medical school financial aid are medical school scholarships. As a premed, you may have had a merit scholarship at your college. You had good grades and good extracurriculars and your school rewarded you for that financially.
Unfortunately, there is less opportunity for merit scholarships for medical school. That's not to say they don't exist, they're just not as easy to find and receive.
For example, at UCLA medical school our financial aid office is constantly on the lookout for potential scholarships for medical school students. They want us to find financial aid for medical school as much as we want it! However, the medical school scholarships that become available often apply to only a small group of people and are for a small amount of money. For example, there might be a scholarship for residents of Bakersfield, CA for $5,000. This definitely helps, but would not be a primary means of financing medical school.
There is, however, one big exception to this rule, which is the military medical school route. You can either attend the country's military medical school (USUHS) or the Army, Navy or Air Force will sponsor you and pay for the entire cost of medical school. You will also receive a monthly stipend while you are in medical school. If you do choose this route, you will be required to be active duty in the military for several years after you complete your medical training. For more about these programs, you can click here.
Photo courtesy of the US Army
Another exception is the University of Central Florida. This is a Florida medical school that offers scholarships up to $240,000 for their students. That covers the cost of medical school plus living expenses for the four years. Now that's some serious financial aid for medical school!
For more information about medical school scholarships, click here.
Medical School Grants
You will again be disappointed if you think that financial aid for medical school is like the Pell, SMART and other grants you get for undergraduate.
There are, however, some programs that function like medical school grants. One of these is the MSTP or Medical Scientist Training Program. With this program, you will receive and MD and a PhD degree during your training. Your medical school and PhD will be paid for by the US government and you will receive a monthly living stipend. For more about this program, click here.
Other programs that function like grants are programs that will help pay off your medical school debt from medical school loans. Often these involve working in areas where there are few doctors for several years. This is definitely a good option if you are thinking about practicing in one of these areas anyway. If you are not, you may be somewhere that you would rather not be for a long time. For a list of these programs, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Financial aid for medical school is definitely available and comes in many different forms. The best way to avoid owing someone either your time or your money is to create a passive income stream now so that you won't have to worry about paying the cost of medical school. Click here to learn how to make money while you study by building a website.
Your other options include medical school loans, medical school scholarships and medical school grants. Check out my pages on each of these for more details.
Financial aid for medical school will always be available. People realize that medical students are good investments because they will one day be doctors who have good incomes. Just be careful and decide whether you want to owe money to a bank/the government or owe your time to the military or a rural place.
Return from Financial Aid for Medical School to Medical School Insider