Saturday, October 17, 2020

Paying for Medical School Without Going Bankrupt

You might have been dreaming of becoming a doctor your whole life, but you may not have thought about how much medical school can cost. To afford the often steep prices, it’s important to know how to pay for your education without going bankrupt. The trick is to know where to look. 

Consider Taking Out Private Student Loans

Even if you get financial aid and scholarships from your school, you may not have enough to cover the cost of education. That’s when you may want to consider private student loans. Unlike federal loans, which the government regulates, private loans are issued by other lenders. Depending on who offers the loan, the repayment terms, eligibility requirements, and interest rates might vary. Private loans might have higher borrowing rates, so they can cover the remaining expenses after scholarships and other aid is taken into account. Depending on the lender, you might get a lower interest rate than federal loans offer. You’ll likely need to pass a credit check to qualify, and with some, you’ll need a cosigner. 

Look for Local Scholarships 

When you think of scholarships, you may think about undergraduate programs. But as a medical student, you still have plenty of options open. No matter where you are in the process, whether going to a residency or being an undergraduate pre-med student. Many scholarships are based on merit, so pay attention to your grades. Look up scholarships that aren't related to medicine as well. You might get something based on your outside interests, volunteer work, or even heritage. Even if you just get a few hundred dollars from each, they can add up if you get enough. 

Consider Federal Financial Aid

It’s a good idea to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You likely did this for your undergraduate education, but even in medical school, it’s an important step in getting financial aid for your medical education. The application is used to determine the amount of aid you can get based on need. Even if you haven’t gotten accepted by one school, you should still start your FAFSA to get as much aid as you can. They might offer you a federal loan, but there are limits on what you can borrow, and it might not cover everything. Filling out the FAFSA now is the same as when you did it for your undergraduate education. Just see if certain schools have deadlines. Even as a young adult, you might need a parent to fill out the form, so do your research as soon as you can to give yourself plenty of time to get the paperwork in order.

Look for Service Programs

The military and government both offer service programs. In exchange for working for a certain time for them, you can have all or some of your costs covered. For instance, you might work for a couple of years in an underserved community. Or you might commit to serving in the armed forces in exchange for fees and tuition getting covered.

This is a guest blog entry.

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