Residency Relocation Loans: What They Are and Where You Can Borrow

 September 9, 2020
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residency relocation loan

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Residency relocation loan funding can be used to pay for miscellaneous expenses as medical students match to their residency programs. Since expenses related to exploring residency programs aren’t included in standard financial aid packages, fourth-year medical students may need to find funding through private lenders.

There are options when shopping for a medical residency and relocation loan, however, so it’s important to know where to find a competitive offer.

What is a residency relocation loan?
Where to borrow a residency relocation loan
Using a personal loan to pay for residency relocation costs
Residency relocation loan FAQ

What is a residency relocation loan?

Relocation loans for medical students nearing residency mainly take two forms: private student loans or personal loans. Costs, such as application fees, flights, transportation, accommodations, meals during program visits and moving expenses, may be paid through a residence relocation loan if needed.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, these were some of the average costs associated with applying for residency programs as of 2019:

  • Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) fees: $860
  • National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) fees: $85
  • Interview costs (including travel, lodging, food, etc.): $3,700

Medical students looking to be matched with a residency program spend an average of about $4,645. It’s important to note that the total amount of money that students spend on residence relocation may be more or less, depending on factors such as the number of programs to which they apply and seasonal travel rates.

Considering that thousands of dollars can be spent during the residency search — not including medical school costs — students may choose to take out a residency relocation loan to fund the expense.

Where to borrow a residency relocation loan

Residency Relocation Loan Options
Lender APRs Loan Amount
Sallie Mae ● Variable: 3.25% – 13.59%
● Fixed: 3.75% – 13.72%
$1,000 to 30,000
PNC ● Variable: 1.09% – 8.19%
● Fixed: 2.99% – 9.89%
$1,000 to $15,000

Sallie Mae Medical Residency and Relocation Loan

The Sallie Mae residency relocation loan offers students from $1,000 to $30,000 for residency-related costs.

You can choose from a variable or fixed interest rate, as well as defer payments as long as you’re enrolled at least half-time. The loan also offers deferment during your grace period, which is the first three years after graduating. If you leave school or drop below half-time, your grace period is shortened to nine months.

By enrolling in automatic payments, you lower your interest rate by 0.25 percentage points. The Sallie Mae residency relocation loan doesn’t charge origination fees or early prepayment penalties.


Borrowers must:

  • Be pursuing or have the following degrees:
    • Doctor of medicine (M.D.)
    • Doctor of osteopathy (D.O.)
    • Doctor of podiatric medicine (D.P.M.)
    • Doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M. or V.M.D.)
  • Be enrolled in an accredited institution at least half-time or have graduated from a participating school within the past 12 months
  • Be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents

A cosigner who is either a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident may be included in the loan application if the borrower doesn’t meet citizenship or credit criteria. After you make a minimum of 12 on-time principal and interest payments, you may request to have your cosigner released from the loan if you meet credit history and income requirements.

PNC Solution Loan for Health Professions Residency

PNC Bank offers relocation loans for medical students of $1,000 to $15,000 with no application or origination fees. Additionally, borrowers can choose among three repayment terms: 5, 10 or 15 years.

For added savings on loan interest, you’ll receive a 0.50 percentage point interest rate discount when you enroll in automatic payments from your checking or savings account. This is 0.25 percentage points more than the autopay discount offered by our other featured lenders.

Payments can be deferred while you’re in residency for up to four years, with a six-month grace period. PNC Bank allows cosigners, offering cosigner release after at least 48 consecutive, on-time payments. You’ll also need to demonstrate the ability to repay your loan payments and meet credit criteria to remove your cosigner from the loan.


Borrowers (including students and possible cosigners) must:

  • Be in the process or planning to enroll in an approved medical residency program. Approved programs include doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.), M.D., D.O. and D.V.M.
  • Be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents and have lived in the U.S. for the past 2 years
  • Be able to meet credit qualifications and debt-to-income requirements

Using a personal loan to pay for residency relocation costs

In addition to private student loans, personal loans are another option to pay for the cost of residency relocation. Although these two loan types may seem similar, they are different in a few key ways.

For example, private student loans may offer lower interest rates and require you to use the funds toward a specific expense. Personal loans, however, are disbursed directly to you rather than your school’s financial aid office and are more easily dischargeable during a bankruptcy.

Where to borrow a personal loan for residency relocation

2 Personal Loan Options for Residency Relocation
Lender APR Loan Amount
Laurel Road Fixed: 8.01% – 16.30% $5,000 to $15,000
SunTrust Fixed: 9.99% to 15.95% as of March 12, 2020
— check with lender for latest rates
Up to $50,000

Laurel Road Personal Loan for Medical Residents

Students in training or who have a residency match letter may apply for a loan. The online lender offers up to $15,000 toward residency relocation costs with repayment term options of five or seven years.

When you sign up for automatic electronic funds transfer, you’ll receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount. Additionally, if you have another Laurel Road lending account, you may be eligible for a relationship discount.


Borrowers must:

  • Be U.S. citizen or permanent residents (if a permanent resident, the borrower must show proof that they have a valid I-551 card with at least 10 years between the issue and expiration dates)
  • Meet qualifications on credit history

SunTrust Physician Loan

SunTrust Physician Loans are available to fourth-year medical students who’ve received a residency match. You may apply for up to $50,000 toward personal expenses related to residency relocation. There are no application or origination fees or early payment penalties for this residence relocation loan.

The lender offers repayment terms of up to 10 years. Eligible students may receive the option to make interest-only payments up to the first 48 months after disbursement. After this time, you may be able to renew this option for your second year.


Borrowers must:

  • Be matched with a residency program
  • Be pursuing doctor of dental medicine (D.M.D.), D.D.S., M.D. D.O. or D.P.M. degrees
  • Have qualifying income and credit

Residency relocation loan FAQ

Can a federal student loan cover residency relocation costs? Yes. If you have unused federal student loans, those extra funds can be used toward resident relocation.

How much should I borrow? To reduce the overall medical school debt you’ll owe, maximize the amount of federal student loan funds you’re eligible for and only borrow alternative loans up to the amount you need.

Can I borrow a residency relocation loan with bad credit? Yes. However, you’ll need to find a cosigner with strong credit and a lender that accepts applications with a cosigner. If you decide to apply for a residency relocation loan with a cosigner, try to find a lender that offers cosigner release if possible.

Should I consider a cosigner for a residency relocation loan? If you don’t meet credit requirements or aren’t a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may need a cosigner for a residence relocation loan.

How do I find the best residency relocation loan for me? To find your best residency relocation loan, estimate your realistic residency relocation expenses and compare offers across multiple lenders. Make sure you’re comfortable with the borrowing amount and terms (interest rate, deferment and grace periods, repayment terms and cosigner requirements) before applying.

Paul Sisolak contributed to this report.

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Fixed rates from 7.99% APR to 23.43% APR APR reflect the 0.25% autopay discount and a 0.25% direct deposit discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 8/22/22 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, income, and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Opploans.

Opploans Disclosures

Direct Deposit required for payroll.

Opploans currently operates in these states: . *Approval may take longer if additional verification documents are requested. Not all loan requests are approved. Approval and loan terms vary based on credit determination and state law. Applications processed and approved before 7:30 p.m. ET Monday-Friday are typically funded the next business day.

  1. To qualify, a borrower must (i) be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; (ii) reside in a state where OppLoans operates; (iii) have direct deposit; (iv) meet income requirements; (v) be 18 years of age (19 in Alabama); and, (vi) meet verification standards.
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Happy Money Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

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Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Rates and offer subject to change. All accounts, loans and services subject to individual approval.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
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LendingPoint Disclosures

Applications submitted on this website may be funded by one of several lenders, including: FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank, Member FDIC; Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC; Midland States Bank, Member FDIC; and LendingPoint, a licensed lender in certain states. Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 7% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. Loans are offered from $2,000 to $36,500, at rates ranging from 7.99% to 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 72 months. Minimum loan amounts apply in Georgia, $3,500; Colorado, $3,001; and Hawaii, $1,500. For a well-qualified customer, a $10,000 loan for a period of 48 months with an APR of 24.34% and origination fee of 7% will have a payment of $327.89 per month. (Actual terms and rate depend on credit history, income, and other factors.) The $15,575.04 total amount due under the loan terms provided as an example in this disclaimer includes the origination fee financed in addition to the loan amount. Customers may have the option to deduct the origination fee from the disbursed loan amount if desired. If the origination fee is added to the financed amount, interest is charged on the full principal amount. The total amount due is the total amount of the loan you will have paid after you have made all payments as scheduled.

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LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage and history. The APR ranges from 10.68% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 9.56% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 13.11%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $192.37. The total amount repayable will be $6,925.32. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 2% to 6% (average is 4.86% as of 7/1/2019 – 9/30/2019). In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,001 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.

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Avant Disclosures

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

Based on the responses from 7,302 customers in a survey of 140,258 newly funded customers, conducted from August 1, 2018 – August 1, 2019, 95.11% of customers stated that they were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with Avant. 4/5 Customers would recommend us. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

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Upgrade Bank Disclosures

Personal loans made through Upgrade feature Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) of 7.46%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 1.85% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. Loans feature repayment terms of 24 to 84 months. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.59% APR (which includes a 13.94% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $341.48. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,293.46. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s bank partners. Information on Upgrade’s bank partners can be found at .