Can I Afford To Become A Doctor?

October 21, 2013

Medical school is expensive. There’s just no denying that and it’s not just the high tuition fees that have to be taken into account. Living and housing costs have to be factored in as well. When you add it all up, that total can become a major deterrent for many students considering a medical college education. 

Does that mean that if you do not have the necessary funds that is the end of the road in terms of pursuing your dream of becoming a doctor? Fortunately, there are options available. If you ask around, you will find that the majority of medical school students end up borrowing at least a part of the total required to finance their medical education.


Medical work experience student Stevie scrubbed up in the operating theatre in Chiang Mai, Thailand Explore Your Options

Here are a few options you should explore when it comes to finding the necessary funds for medical school.

Every student’s circumstances are different and you will have to see which solution works best for you. What you have to keep in mind is that a medical education is almost like an investment. In the long-term, it pays for itself. Be proactive and investigate all the potential financing options when you are submitting the medical school applications.

Some possible solutions Include:

  • Speak With Family– Have an honest and open conversation with your parents and other family members you can rely on. Gauge very objectively whether they are able/willing to help with financing your education in any way. Find out if anyone is willing to give you an interest-free loan. This can save you literally thousands of dollars.
  • Financial aid officers– Speak with financial aid officers. Most medical schools have some kind of aid facility in place for students but it is influenced by a variety of factors. Review the financial aid websites/pages of the various medical school and ask the financial aid officers at the school for additional information if you need it. Some of the information you should look for are details on the available institutional scholarships and the average need-based scholarships that the school awards as well as the cumulative educational-debt of the most recent class that graduated.
  • Become loan smart– Every loan is different. Remember that the lowest monthly income need not always mean it is the best loan. The things that you have to consider are the processing fees, interest accrual, interest rates, add-on fees for repayment, deferment option, repayment incentives, monthly payment etc.
  • Scholarships– Service-based scholarships are another option for those who are willing to serve the country as a physician in the military or work in underserved areas. Most medical schools also have private scholarships as well. As far as these are concerned, the requirements, rules and regulations at every college will be different and it is best to check details with the financial aid office.


Get Your Maths Right

There are numerous online calculators that can help you quickly calculate what your expected family contribution will be. Once that has been determined, communicate with the medical college’s financial aid office. They will be able to give you a certain estimate for a need-based award. This is extremely important when you are deciding between schools.

Becoming a doctor is a lengthy, difficult and expensive route. Research all your options carefully; seek guidance from those in the profession as well as from financial aid officers. Understand which loans are available and how they work and look for private and government scholarships. This will help you make a well-considered decision about your future as a doctor.