The cost of medical school is so high that you might need medical attention after seeing the dollar signs.
In fact, the average Class of 2018 medical student will pay a median cost of $243,902 for public school or $322,767 for private school to earn a four-year degree, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). And that doesn’t include residency expenses.
However, medical school scholarships can help shrink these costs — and lessen your reliance on federal or private student loans.
Here are five of the best medical school scholarships available to help you put a dent in your tuition bill.
1. Physicians of Tomorrow Awards
Sponsored by the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation, the Physicians of Tomorrow Awards program gives $10,000 to 10 third-year medical school students.
But you can’t apply on your own. Your school dean must nominate you for one of the 10 awards. If you’re interested in being nominated, take it up with your school’s financial aid office.
Once you’re nominated, you’ll need to submit an application, your personal statement, a letter of recommendation from your dean’s office and a faculty member, your transcripts, and a financial statement.
Each award has its own eligibility requirements. For example, you must have a proven interest in women’s or children’s health to be eligible for the AMA Alliance Grassroots Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship. There also are awards dedicated to minority students as well as for people attending schools in specific states.
2. Diverse Medical Scholars Program
The United Health Foundation and a nonprofit called National Medical Fellowships are partnering to award a $7,000 scholarship to 30 medical school students each year.
Unlike many medical school scholarship programs, the awards offered by the Diverse Medical Scholars Program are renewable, so you could receive funds for multiple years. In exchange, you’re expected to complete 200 hours of volunteering in your community. You also have to create a presentation detailing your experience.
The materials you need to provide in your application include a short biography, resume, and two letters of recommendation.
As the program’s name implies, you must identify as one of the following minorities to be eligible:
- Native American
- Asian-American (Vietnamese and Cambodian only)
If you don’t make it to the final round of this program, consider these minority student scholarships that aren’t specific to medical school.
3. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
Amount: $5,000 to $10,000
Every year, the Tylenol Future Care Scholarship program — paid for by the pain relief product maker — awards of $10,000 to 10 students and $5,000 to 30 students.
To be eligible, you must be seeking a career in patient care. Medical school students are welcome to compete for the awards, as are college students with aspirations of attending medical school.
In your application, you have to include an essay, your college GPA, academic records, and a description of your community involvement. An independent selection committee evaluates the applications.
4. Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships
Every spring, the AAMC awards Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships worth $5,000 to five third-year medical school students.
But these aren’t ordinary students. The AAMC targets future doctors who have worked to make medical education more accessible for minorities while also serving their health care needs. One 2017 recipient, for example, mentored African refugees through the Student National Medical Association.
After all, the award is named for the late Dr. Herbert W. Nickens, the first vice president and director of the AAMC’s division of community and minority programs. Nickens sought to increase the number of minority students attending and teaching at medical schools.
To apply for the award, you must be nominated by your medical school and complete an application. A faculty letter of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and other materials will be required.
5. National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program
If you’re willing to trade at least two years of work in an underserved area for two years of medical school tuition and fees, consider the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program (NHSC). It also will provide a living stipend while you’re in school.
What’s more, some of the funds could be tax-free. “The tuition, eligible fees, and other reasonable costs portions of the scholarship award are not subject to federal taxes,” according to the NHSC application guide.
However, the stipend payment portion of NHSC scholarship awards is subject to federal income tax and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. “Applicants chosen for an award must submit an IRS Form W-4,” the guide says.
The program is open to aspiring health care professionals, including:
- Nurse practitioners
- Certified nurse midwives
- Physician assistants
You’d begin your service after concluding your residency. The number of years you serve corresponds to the number of years you received financial aid, between two and four.
Applications are judged on a variety of criteria, including your academic merit, financial need, and your demonstrated commitment to a career in providing primary care for underserved communities.
This video can give you an idea of how the awards are determined.
Apply for more medical school scholarships
Although the five medical school scholarships listed above are prestigious, they also are competitive. Make sure you consider other ways to pay for medical school, including lesser-known scholarship programs.
Start your search at your school’s financial aid office. Your school may offer scholarships based on need and merit, or it can point you to external scholarships.
Your school also could direct you toward additional sources of aid, including:
- Your state government’s grant and scholarship programs
- Professional associations that offer awards partly based on your gender, race, or specialty
By applying for a wide variety of medical school scholarships, you’ll increase your chances of winning some money. Whether it’s a national award totaling five figures or a local organization’s scholarship, it all goes toward shrinking your medical school costs. Every dollar you earn is one less dollar you’d have to borrow via student loans.
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Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
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If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
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|3.99% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
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|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|