1. Start with money you don’t have to pay back
You can use savings to help pay for medical school. To determine how much you can contribute, you may want to create a budget. A budget can help you understand what your monthly expenses are. Make sure that if you use your savings to help pay for medical school you still have money left to pay your bills and cover any unplanned expenses. If you have any questions, talk to a financial advisor.
Medical school-based scholarships, grants, and assistantships
Some medical schools offer need-based grants as well as merit scholarships and assistantships for students. If you had a high GPA in college, you should research what scholarship and assistantship offerings are available to you. Look at the websites of the medical schools you apply to or talk to their financial aid offices to get more details.
Other scholarships and fellowships
Some medical associations and nonprofit organizations offer financial aid, grants, and scholarships for current med students. You can check with them for more information and leads. School department heads may be able to advise you on additional opportunities.
A few of the associations that medical students may find helpful are listed below.
- American Medical Association: This professional group offers not just scholarship opportunities, but also robust information on how to pay for medical school, how to prepare for residency, and more.
- American Medical Women’s Association: This association keeps a list of more than a dozen scholarships, awards, and grants that medical students can apply to.
- American Podiatric Medical Association: Each year, this group’s scholarship fund distributes about $200,000 worth of scholarships and grants to medical students.
You also can search thousands of graduate student scholarships with our free Scholarship Search tool.
You may be able to get some of your medical school costs covered in return for working a set number of years for a government or military program. Your eligibility for these opportunities will depend on the area of medicine you choose to study.
Here are a few of the programs that may be available to you:
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship: This Department of Health & Human Services program will cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses for medical students studying osteopathic or allopathic medicine for up to four years. In exchange, you must work for one to two years in an approved high-need area, either in a city or rural town.footnote 3 In return for scholarship awards, scholars commit to providing primary care health services in underserved communities. The program provides support to students who seek financial assistance to complete primary care health professions education. The NHSC SP pays for tuition and various other reasonable education-related expenses and also provides a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in exchange for a minimum of two (2) years of full-time service.
- Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP): This program is funded by the military—Army, Navy, and Air Force—for health professions students, including medical students. You can get all your tuition and fees covered, plus a living stipend.footnote 4
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): If you took out federal students loans for medical school, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness if you work for a qualifying organization like a nonprofit organization, government organization, or teaching hospital. Typically, you must have already made 120 consecutive payments toward your loan to qualify.footnote 5