Paying for medical school: Medical school is not really easy. Medical school means finishing college for prospective doctors only to sign up for another four to eight years of classes. And all of this schooling also comes with additional student loan debt for most students.
Do not worry if that sounds confusing. There are ways to cover a medical degree’s costs. Using a mix of grants and scholarships, investments, and medical school loans, this guide will actually show you how to pay for medical school.
Start with Money You Don’t Have To Pay Back
See How Much Federal Aid You Qualify For
Look Into Private Student Loans for Medical School
Some sources of funds can be really better of than others and should always be taken advantage of first. To make sure you are borrowing as little as possible, and borrowing wisely, here is how you should approach paying for your medical degree.
1. Start with Money You Don’t Have To Pay Back
This includes trying Med School Scholarships, Grants, and Savings First. It is best to borrow as little as possible, so always first use money from scholarships, grants, personal savings, and work-study programs or college fellowships.
Early depletion of these sources of funds makes a lot of sense as it will take years to earn your medical school degree. You don’t want the whole time you’re in school to be stuck paying interest on the full cost of student loans if you can help.
Herbert W. Nickens Medical School Scholarships: These scholarships are made available to medical school students approaching their third year of schooling who have shown leadership in eliminating inequalities in medical education and addressing the needs of racial and ethnic minorities. Scholarships are worth up to $5,000.
After getting as much free and non-refundable money as you can, rely on your savings next, as using personal savings allows you to fund tuition costs without paying interest.
Then, meet with your university’s guidance counselors and financial aid department to see if there is a TA program or any fellowships or grants that could be available to harness.
When borrowing, try using federal student loans before other student loans. Federal loans have better repayment plans, more borrower insurances, and other special borrower perks such as the possibility to earn loan forgiveness.
To get started with these federal loans, you will need to fill out your FAFSA.
There are a several federal student loans you could potentially qualify for, including:
Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Graduate students can be eligible for these loans regardless of financial need. There are aggregate limits and yearly limits to how much you can borrow. Loans have low fixed interest rates and low origination fees, both of which are set yearly based on when loans are distributed.
Direct PLUS Loans: This is another type of federal Direct loan, these loans have slightly higher interest rates and origination fees, but are still competitively priced unlike private loans. You cannot qualify for PLUS loans with poor credit.
Health Professionals Student Loans: This is a needs-based program. You must apply for funding through a participating school.
Primary Care Loans: These loans are only available to students pursuing degrees in allopathic or osteopathic medicine. The program is needs-based.
While some federal student loans, including Direct Unsubsidized Loans, have very strict borrowing limits, it is also possible to secure federal funding up to the cost of attendance at your school—minus any grants or scholarships you qualify for.
However, this would demand that you PLUS Loans, which you cannot get if you have a poor credit—so you may need a cosigner if you have made financial missteps in the past.
3. Look Into Private Student Loans for Medical School
For most students, federal aid is not enough to pay for the entire cost of a medical degree. Private student loans may be needed to cover the additional expense of becoming a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant.
Sadly, repayment plans are less flexible with private loans, loan forgiveness is not available, and loans may have higher rates.
However, if you need more money for school, private loans can get the job done. If you borrow private loans for medical school, try to shop around to find the most affordable rates.