Financial Aid Options For Medical School

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You funded your own journey as you took the PSATs, SATs, got into college mad graduated. In short, you are a pro and this medical school stuff should be a piece of cake. Some things are alike – you know you have to take the Medical College Admission Test or the MCAT. You know you need to send those scores to your dream schools in addition to a couple of others just to be on the safer side. 

From now on though, things begin to get quite different.

Looking For Money In ALL The Right Places

In order to qualify for financial aid from the government, you must once again fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. You may have done this as an undergrad, but things are a little different now in that your parents may not be the people who are going to financially sign for this bill – you will. Or maybe you won’t, in which case you need to fill out an EFC or the Expected Family Contribution. Go to your college guidance counselor for help if you are confused. Getting the right advice is crucial. 

Everyone wants a scholarship but let’s be honest, not everyone gets a scholarship. Financial aid through federal loans is solely based on financial need. One popular example is the Stafford Loan. Direct unsubsidized Stafford Loans are offered by the government at lower interest rates than most banks, and you don’t have to pay back the loan while you are in school. However, interest will build up from the time you take out the loan. The Stafford Loan gets all the press, but there are other options out there:

GradPLUS Loans: These unsubsidized loans have a higher fixed interest rate and are limited to the total cost of Attendance of the institution.

Perkins Loan Program: An exceptionally low interest loan program for students who are determined to have the greatest need. They require an EFC. Not all institutions participate in this program, so Do Your Homework

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According to Bloomberg.com, the median debt for medical-school graduates in 2012 was $170,000. This includes undergraduate loans but excludes any interest on that money. Scared yet? Don’t be! There is a shortage of doctors in this country. A person who wants to go through all that education and training in order to help other people – that’s something special. Don’t let the price tag stop you.

A lot of you will be looking for other ways to help pay for medical school, from taking a year off to work and save money to getting a part-time job during school. And there are those scholarships and grants to consider. Different medical schools have different awards- check to see what the school of your dream offers. The American Medical Association (www.ama-assn.org) is a great site for anyone considering a career in medicine. The site has a tab devoted to financial aid, including their own AMA Grants and student debt.

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