Funding Your Medical School CareerFebruary 22, 2014
For many students, getting into medical school was, if not easy, in their control. Too often though, the academic journey through medical school an be trumped by the financial considerations that must be taken into account for funding such a tremendous undertaking. Medical school tuition at public universities typically exceeds $120,000 over the course of four year; attend medical school at a private university, and your total bill approaches $300,000. Though the numbers are daunting, your goal of earning that medical degree is doable with wise planning and money management.
Make Your Plan
The first step is to find the costs of medical school education, the types of loans available, payment plans, and scholarship availability. Sit down with the financial aid offices of the schools you will be applying to and research grants or other opportunities that involve service in repayment for tuition. If you know where you’re going, the journey becomes less fraught with problems.
Medical School Loans
The loans available to pay for medical school are as diverse as the fields available to practice in upon graduation. The one that fits each student is an individual preference. There are private loans through banks and credit unions, federal student loans and foundation-based loan programs. The terms can be varied and structured to meet the needs of many medical school students. Participating in a program like the National Health Service Corps allows for a great portion of your medical school loans to be forgiven when you commit to serving and working in an under-served, often rural, community.
Merit-based scholarships are becoming more prevalent as schools attempt to recognize budding scholars and researchers. The majority of these merit scholarships are for medical students who are interested in a career in medical research, and they typically allow for a student to earn a combined MD/PhD degree. These types of scholarships are offered at individual universities as well as through the National Institutes of Health. With a severe minority of doctors pursuing the “physician investigator” route (only 2%), you’ll have a greater chance of obtaining scholarships that will pay for most, if not all, of your medical school studies.
You may not want to be beholden to the military in order to get your medical degree, but this scholarship program pays full tuition and fees for qualified participants, as well as provides a comfortable living stipend. The military will utilize your medical skills after you complete your degree; you’ll get a chance to see the world and give back to you country in exchange for a world-class medical education.
Don’t be scared of amassing a substantial debt to fund your medical school pursuits. Because salaries are high, you’ll find that the investment you made for those four to eight years of training is well worth it. Your ability to relocate and be flexible in your subsequent medical practice will open a range of student loan repayment opportunities. Don’t fear the financing. Embrace it as a means to making your career dreams come true. — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.