What Are the Different Types of Financial Aid for Medical School?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
A student loan and financial aid application.
A student loan and financial aid application.

The types of financial aid for medical school include private scholarships and institutional scholarships or grants. Many loans, service grants and loan repayment programs also exist. Federal aid typically consists of loans of a variety of kinds, though some service grants and loan repayment programs might be offered.

In the US, a few of the federal loan programs that represent the major types of financial aid for medical school are Perkins, Stafford or direct, and Graduate PLUS loans. The first two take into account maximum allowable aid, and to a certain extent, income. Stafford or direct subsidized loans pay all interest while a student is in school, and the amount students qualify for is based on income eligibility. Unsubsidized Stafford loans accrue interest more quickly, but students of any income may apply for them. Graduate PLUS loans require a good personal credit rating or a cosigner with a strong credit history.

Graduate PLUS loans require a good personal credit rating or a cosigner with a strong credit history.
Graduate PLUS loans require a good personal credit rating or a cosigner with a strong credit history.

Some types of financial aid for medical school don’t come from state run organizations. Private loans, for example, may be offered in much higher amounts, and their repayment terms and interest amounts will vary. Certain loans or grants may be paid off with service.

The grant for services is one of the more interesting types of financial aid for medical school. These may be issued by a state or a private source and they are only grants if the person fulfills contractual obligations connected to receiving them, such as by remaining a family practice doctor for a specified time. If the doctor doesn’t honor a contract, these grants become loans. Some of them have fairly harsh repayment terms, so it’s important not to accept money of this type unless the person is reasonably certain he’ll be able to honor contractual obligations.

It is better for medical students to opt for federal loans rather than private loans.
It is better for medical students to opt for federal loans rather than private loans.

Many of the armed forces have their own grant for services programs. Service may occur before or after medical school, and sometimes involves both. Alternatively, some licensed doctors can find loan forgiveness programs that repay a certain portion of debt each year in exchange for work. Sometimes private hospitals or various state agencies offer loan repayment as a hiring incentive.

Grants are one type of aid that does not need to be paid back by the student.
Grants are one type of aid that does not need to be paid back by the student.

Students may have access to additional types of financial aid for medical school, like institutional scholarships, offered by the schools they attend. Medical boards, charitable agencies, or various health-related facilities also offer private grants to students with demonstrated need, scholastic promise, or both. There are a few fellowship or work/grant opportunities, too, which may help students earn the funds they need. Further, some medical schools discount their prices for students with high economic need or who come from underrepresented populations.

To get a sense of the available financial aid for medical school, students can do more reading online and there are books devoted to the topic. Getting help from financial aid counselors at schools the student might attend is recommended, too. There are experts in this field who believe medical students can exit college without profound debt or financial burden. The path to achieving this might require some careful planning.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • A student loan and financial aid application.
      A student loan and financial aid application.
    • Graduate PLUS loans require a good personal credit rating or a cosigner with a strong credit history.
      Graduate PLUS loans require a good personal credit rating or a cosigner with a strong credit history.
    • It is better for medical students to opt for federal loans rather than private loans.
      It is better for medical students to opt for federal loans rather than private loans.
    • Grants are one type of aid that does not need to be paid back by the student.
      Grants are one type of aid that does not need to be paid back by the student.