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Medical school student loans

Medical school student loans are necessary for those who need more money to pursue their medical career. In this article, we’ll discuss the average cost of medical school, why you should go into debt to pay for it, and how much you can expect to borrow in student loans each year

Medical school loans

Medical school loans are a type of student loan that you can use to fund your medical education. These loans are available from both the government and private lenders, and most students will qualify for them. There are two main types: federal and private.

medical school student loans

All about federal student loans for medical school

Federal loans usually have fixed interest rates that are lower than private loans. Federal loans may be subsidized if you borrowed them during your undergraduate years. This helps reduce interest capitalization and the burden on the borrower when they go to medical school or residency. Each year, the interest rate for federal loans is updated by the Department of Education. The federal government limits the amount of loans you can take out each year.

Your Free Application For Federal Student Aid determines your eligibility for government loans. Each medical student who is applying for loans must complete the FAFSA. The deadlines vary by school and state. However, the federal deadline is June 30. For verification of deadlines, check with the financial aid offices at the schools where you are applying.

You must be informed by the financial aid office about their aid procedures, deadlines and when your federal aid award will be processed. Based on your FAFSA data, you will receive an award package that includes your Expected family Contribution (EFC), eligibility for federal loans and your status with the work-study program.

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program offers four types of Federal Direct Loans. This program is used for most federal loans. Direct Loans are loans that are eligible for forgiveness under Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

For those who are going to medical school, there are two Direct Loans available:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans, also known as Stafford Loans: These low-interest loans are available to all, regardless of financial need. Unsubsidized Direct Loans have an interest rate that will increase as you go to medical school.
  • Direct PLUS Loans: These loans can be used to pay for any expenses related to attendance that are not covered under other financial aid. When applying for these loans, it is essential that either you or your loan officer have good credit ratings. PLUS loans start to earn interest the moment they are paid.

The Perkins Loan is another federal loan that can be used for medical school. They are available to students with a special need for financial aid and are administered by the medical school. Some students may not qualify for financial assistance. Apply early for financial aid through FAFSA. Talk to your school’s financial aid department about assistance as soon as you can.

Many school-based scholarships are offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Primary Care Loan is available to qualified students who intend to practice primary care. Find out if your school participates in this program and then contact your financial aid representative for more information.

In addition, the U.S Department of Education issues federal loans, and the government guarantees them. You’ll need good credit and a decent income to qualify for these types of loans; once you get approved, though, they offer some flexibility with repayment options compared to private lenders’ offerings.


All about private student loans for medical school

Private student loans are available through banks and credit unions. These loans have an interest rate that is based on your credit score and other factors. Private student loans can offer fixed or variable interest rates. Private lenders usually carry higher interest rates than their government counterparts—sometimes significantly higher—but they don’t require any sort of collateral or guarantee that the borrower will be able to pay back what’s owed them post-graduation (though there are penalties if you default on your payments).


Residency and Relocation Loans

Some students use relocation and residency loans to pay for the costs of moving into residency. These expenses include travel costs for Match season interviews, board exam fees and moving costs once you have found your program. Although these expenses can add up, not all students need to borrow this type of loan. Keep in mind that the less loans you take out the sooner you can keep your salary when you become a doctor.


Up to $40,500 per year may be borrowed by health professional students (aspiring doctors included) in Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The total borrowing limit is $224,000, and the fixed interest rate in 2022-2023 for loans that were first paid between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 is 6.54%.

Scholarship & grant basics for medical school student loans

Scholarships and grants are different from loans in that they don’t need to be paid back. They’re also different in that they aren’t always easy to get—you may have to submit an application and meet specific criteria, such as maintaining a certain GPA or achieving a particular score on the MCAT. But unlike student loans, no interest is charged on scholarships or grants.

Once you’ve applied for your preferred school’s scholarships and grants, be prepared for the possibility that you won’t win any of them. The school can only give out scholarships and grants—and not all schools offer these types of financial aid packages (some require students to take out loans instead).

If your desired medical school doesn’t offer any kind of scholarship program, check with other schools nearby; chances are good that one will provide assistance with tuition costs if you qualify academically.


Types of scholarships and grants for medical school student loans

Scholarships and grants are two different types of financial aid. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, academic achievement, extracurriculars, and other factors. Grants are awarded based on financial need only.

During your pre-medical school application process, you will have the opportunity to apply for several types of scholarships and grants from various sources. You can read my guide on the qualities that colleges look for because these demonstrating these qualities will also help you get great scholarships.

Scholarships and grants can be used to pay for tuition and other expenses such as books, room & board (if you live away from home), lab fees/equipment costs, transportation costs (if you live away from campus), etc.

Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid like loans because they do not accrue interest while they are being received by the student who received them.

Private medical school scholarships

If you’re looking for a private scholarship, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, most private scholarships are funded by individuals and organizations rather than the government.

These scholarships usually come with smaller awards than federal or state programs, but they can still be helpful if you want to pursue your education without taking on debt.

Second, most private scholarships are need-based instead of merit-based, like many selective admissions processes at colleges or graduate schools (and even some medical schools).

This means that if you do apply for one of these awards and receive it, the amount of money awarded will depend on how much financial aid your school requires from students who attend part-time (typically less than half-time) as opposed to those who participate full time (more than half time).

For example: if an award is usually given out twice per year with 20% going towards tuition costs each semester, then only 10% would go towards tuition costs during fall semesters while 20% would go towards tuition costs during spring semesters–that’s assuming all other expenses remain constant between both types of students over time as well.

Federal Grants 

You may have heard about federal grants. But what are they? In short, federal grants are available to medical students who demonstrate financial need and academic merit.

These grants can be awarded for up to four years of undergraduate study or a combination of undergraduate and graduate studies. And unlike loans, there’s no repayment required for these awards—you just receive the money you need.

If you receive a federal grant, you’ll want to make sure that it goes towards paying for tuition costs (known as tuition & fees).

Federal financial aid cannot be used towards room/board or books when calculating your total cost of attendance at any given institution; however, other sources available on campus will help offset this expense.

Here’s how it works: Say you’re accepted into an MD program with full financial aid funding but only half-tuition covered by this award package; to complete their degree requirements without taking out additional loans, one could combine multiple scholarships/grants with Federal Work-Study (FWS).

State Grants

State grants are awarded by the state and may be used for any school-related expense, such as tuition and books.

State grants are typically not need-based, meaning you do not have to demonstrate financial need to receive the grant. However, some state grants require students to have a high GPA or low GPA to qualify.

State grants are popular with students because they don’t need any additional paperwork and can be applied directly toward tuition costs at your school of choice.

Heavily sought after by many applicants, there is fierce competition for these awards each year among undergraduate students who meet specific criteria (for example, a minimum GPA requirement).

Medical school student loans help you pay for medical school

Medical student loans are short-term, long-term, or private loans that help pay for your medical education. They can be federal or private (non-federal) and may require a co-signer.

Not all grants are the same as scholarships. An entity awards scholarships without repayment required after graduation; grants are usually only given to students with high academic achievement and do not require repayment after graduation.

Medical school student loans have pros and cons compared to other ways of financing your education.


Medical school loans are a great way to pay for your education. As long as you stay on top of your payments, the loans should be taken care of once you finish school and start making money as a doctor.

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