Best Federal and Private Medical School Loans in the U.S.
Graduating with a medical degree is like a dream come true for many. Still, there are thousands of deserving candidates who are unable to get admission into medical schools because of a lack of finances.
Medical education is fulfilling but it is also very expensive. Studies show that the average medical school debt is around US$ 232,200.
Still, there are ways an aspiring candidate can afford to get admission into reputed schools with medical school loans in the USA.
If you aspire to become a doctor but are worried about the huge fee of medical schools, then this article will be helpful. Here, we have listed the best medical school loans that you can apply for in the US.
Federal Loans for Medical School
Federal loans typically have lower interest rates compared with many private loans.
Federal loans during undergraduate school may subsidize some portion that reduces the burden of interest capitalization during medical school and residency.
Every year, the Department of Education updates interest rates for federal loans.
Advantages of Federal Loans for Medical School
Medical school is considered the most expensive form of professional training. Not all families can afford to pay the costs of a medical degree without some form of financial aid.
Federal loans for medical students are the primary source of student loans. Here are some of the features of federal loans for medical school.
- They are not tied to formal credit evaluations. Therefore, students with good credit, bad credit, or no credit can borrow from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
- Interest rates on federally funded loans are commonly low and carry fixed rates that allow for budgeting and consistent repayment.
- Several flexible repayment alternatives facilitate timely payments and affordably structured terms.
Types of Federal Loans for Medical School
Federal loans for medical school are considered the best borrowing option for students of higher education. Here are four types of federal loans:
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Also referred to as Stafford Loans, these are low-interest loans (6.8%) available for undergraduate and graduate-level studies regardless of demonstrating financial need.
Your school considers how much it costs you to attend medical school and calculates how much loan is required.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans require you to pay interest throughout the loan’s lifetime.
If you decide to defer interest payments while you are in school or during the grace period, that interest will continue to be collected and added to the loan principal, which means you will have to pay off more debt.
For more information, https://studentaid.gov/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized.
Direct PLUS Loans
PLUS Loans provide unsubsidized funding from the Department of Education at 7.9% interest. These loans cover any costs of attendance not covered by other financial aid you may be receiving.
PLUS Loans are secured with formal credit checks.
Students and parents with adverse credit histories are excluded from the program unless cosigners guarantee loans with positive credit histories.
Also, student applicants must adhere to general federal financial aid eligibility requirements. PLUS, loans begin to accrue interest immediately after they are disbursed.
For more information, https://studentaid.gov/plus-app/
Individual campus financial aid departments administer Perkins loans to supplement the exceptional need for financial assistance. Not all students with financial needs receive help.
Financially disadvantaged students with outstanding higher education expenses, even after scholarships and government grants, qualify for campus-based Perkins Loans.
It is recommended to apply for this aid early through FAFSA and talk to your school’s financial aid office about support as early as possible. Perkins candidates must submit signed promissory notes.
Primary Care Loan
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers Primary Care loans to students who are in need and plan to specialize and practice in primary care.
The funding is sent directly to medical schools, which is then lent to students. It is a revolving loan fund, meaning the new funds become available as old funds are repaid.
Find out if your school participates in this program, and contact a representative in your financial aid office for more information.
For more information, visit https://bhw.hrsa.gov/funding/schools-apply-loan-program/primary-care-loans-faq.
2 Most Common Federal Loans for Medical Schools
1 – Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is considered the best overall for medical school loans in the US. The loan comes with the lowest fixed interest rate.
The best part is that as this loan is not awarded based on your credit history, you won’t need to find a co-signer on it.
Eligible medical school graduates can request and receive this loan irrespective of their credit rating.
However, there are chances that applicants with a good credit history are likely to get the loan at a lower interest rate from private lenders. They do not enjoy the wide variety of consumer protections that are often useful in the future.
If you qualify for the federal graduate unsubsidized loan, then you also get access to impressive income-driven repayment options that decrease the due amount. Borrowers working in the public service fields are also eligible for loan forgiveness.
Although most private lenders do not charge any, you must pay around 1.057% of the requested loan amount as an origination fee for direct unsubsidized loans. However, for many, the loan benefits and low interest rates make the loan fee worth it.
Eligibility criteria for direct unsubsidized loans dictate that applicants should be enrolled at least part-time in a medical school that is part of the federal direct loan program.
This loan is provided for a term duration ranging between 10 to 25 years, according to the specific repayment plan.
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan awards between US$ 20,500 annually and US$ 73,000 on average. This also includes loans for undergraduate courses.
2 – Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan offers numerous benefits to borrowers. This loan is usually advised to cover those expenses that the federal unsubsidized loans cannot.
As compared to the federal direct unsubsidized loan, the federal graduate PLUS loan has a high interest rate while the origination fee is set around 4.228%. The origination fee is deducted from the loan amount.
However, applicants for the federal graduate PLUS loans will have to undergo a credit check. The eligibility criteria for this loan require applicants to be enrolled part-time at a reputed medical school and should have a good credit history.
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan comes with a loan tenure of 10 to 25 years, depending on the specific repayment plan.
Federal loans help medical students seeking loans to pay for their degrees. It carries fixed and low interest rates. After gathering family data, financial need is calculated, and loans are given.
All federal loans for medical school require applicants to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa and apply today!
Private Loans for Medical School
Private loans for medical school cover the cost of education, including tuition fees, books, lab supplies, computers, or living expenses. Medical school costs a pretty penny, and it easily means having more than six figures of debt.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the education debt for medical school graduates in 2019 was around $200,000.
The fact is medical school costs a lot of money. So, it’s only natural to assume that those who put themselves through the rigor will need some support in terms of loans.
Taking out loans for medical school is no small decision. So, you should make sure you’re taking out the suitable loans. Government and charities have annual funds for medical education grants.
Most importantly, make sure you first try to apply for college grants for medical schools. Here are some of the top private loans for medical school.
How Do Private Loans for Medical School Work?
Private medical loans are also known as alternative student loans. After federal loan options have been exhausted, you typically need to research to find a suitable private loan for medical school.
While there are some key advantages you should research, there are drawbacks as well.
Do Private Medical School Loans Require Credit Check?
Private Loans do check credit. Excellent credit can be advantageous as it lowers interest rates.
What is the Borrowing Caps for Private Medical School Loans?
Private Loans allow you to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance. Higher borrowing caps help an individual cover the costs of a pricey school or attending medical school.
What is the Variable Interest Rate for Private Medical School Loans?
Private loans are ineligible for income-driven repayment or federal forgiveness programs. Additionally, while some lenders offer fixed interest rates, many do not.
Is There a No Interest Subsidy for Private Loans?
The interest begins from day one. Some students will even need a cosigner to qualify for a private loan.
6 Private Loans for Medical School
Some medical students cannot rely on federal loans alone to pay for medical school. Federal loans often get exhausted due to the school’s cost.
Students need more funds to cover living expenses or more time to complete their education, which increases costs.
Private loans for medical school may be a cheaper alternative due to low interest rates and excellent borrower programs.
However, it is recommended to compare the options available as it makes getting a loan super easy. Here are five options for private medical school loans to consider.
1. Ascent Medical Student Loan
Ascent’s medical school loan is an innovative private student loan program providing access to higher education funding. It encourages the financial wellness of students and their families.
Highlights – Ascent Medical Student Loan
- Fixed APR: 4.60 – 13.57%
- Variable APR: 3.65 – 12.40%
- Min. Credit Score: mid-500s
Advantages – Ascent Medical Student Loan
- Forbearance of 24 months
- A grace period of 36 months
- Without a hard credit check, you can see if you qualify and at what rate
Qualifications – Ascent Medical Student Loan
- A typical credit score of cosigners: Not available
- Minimum income: Not available
- Loan amounts: up to $200,000
Term Lengths – 7, 10, 12, 15, or 20 years
For more information, visit https://www.ascentfunding.com/
2. Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan offers borrowers up to 100% coverage for their funding needs.
The lender also offers a medical residency and relocation loan to help cover costs associated with residency. You can delay payments in residency for four years.
Highlights – Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
- Fixed APR: 4.25 – 12.59%
- Variable APR: 1.25 – 11.35%
- Min. Credit Score: Not disclosed
Advantages – Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
- Provide loans to part-time students
- Borrowers can access online tutoring and track free credit score
- Non-U.S. citizens can apply with a U.S. cosigner
Qualifications – Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
- A typical credit score of cosigners: Not disclosed
- Minimum income: Not disclosed
- Loan amount: $1,000 up to 100% of the certified costs
Term Lengths – 5 to 15 years
For more information, visit https://www.salliemae.com/student-loans/private-student-loans/
3. College Ave Medical Student Loan
College Ave helps you make your medical school loan payments fit your life. It is the most suitable option for med students who’ll need extra time before starting repayment.
Highlights – College Ave Medical Student Loan
- Fixed APR: 4.84 – 9.95%
- Variable APR: 1.89 – 8.99%
- Min. Credit Score: Mid-600s
Advantages – College Ave Medical Student Loan
- Without a hard credit check, you can see if you qualify and at what rate
- International students can apply with a cosigner.
- You can submit payments up to an additional 48 months during fellowship after the grace period.
Qualifications – College Ave Medical Student Loan
- A credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.
- Minimum income: $35,000/year
- Loan amount: $1,000 up to the entire value of attendance.
Term Lengths – 5, 8, 10, 15, or 20 years
For more information, visit https://www.collegeavestudentloans.com/student-loans/
Ascent offers medical school loans with a convenient 3-year grace period after graduation before starting the repayment process.
This is extremely helpful for fresh graduates to find employment and make convenient arrangements to repay the loan. This lender also offers a 4-year deferment period.
This helps medical residents with low income to put their student loan repayment on hold. Besides, borrowers can receive cash-back rewards of 1% of the loan’s principal balance after graduation.
However, Ascent medical student loans come at a significantly high-interest rate of 13%, higher than most on our list.
US students pursuing medical school at least half-time and international students with US citizens as co-signers can apply for Ascent loans.
The company offers varying loan repayment terms, ranging from 7 to 20 years for variable-rate loans and 7 to 12 years for fixed-rate loans.
Ascent offers as much as US$ 2,001 to cover the total cost of attendance and a total of US$ 200,000 annually in Ascent loans.
5. College Ave
College Ave offers a 3-year post-graduate grace period for loan repayment. It also offers a 4-year deferment period for residency. College Ave max interest rates are comparatively lower and the lender offers various loan repayment options.
However, there are no graduation rewards with College Ave. Students from abroad must have a Social Security number and a US citizen as a co-signer to qualify for this loan.
Eligibility criteria for this loan require applicants to pursue a medical degree with full-time, half-time or part-time attendance.
The loan term varies from 5, 8, 10, 15 and 20 years. College Ave offers medical school loans with US$ 1,000 to cover the cost of attendance and up to US$ 150,000 in the total loan amount.
6. Citizens Bank
Suppose a student borrower or their co-signer already has an account with Citizens Bank. In that case, they get an extra 0.25% loyalty discount to lower the overall interest rate with auto-pay to 0.50%.
The bank offers a 6-month grace period after graduation but does not provide a rate estimate through a soft credit check to the borrower.
The eligibility criteria for this loan require students to be enrolled for at least half-time. International students can also apply for this loan if they have a co-signer with US citizenship.
The Citizens Bank medical student loan comes with term durations of 5, 10 or 15 years. The bank awards US$ 1,000 to US$ 350,000 as a loan amount for medical courses.
Additionally, borrowers can choose to defer payments for a maximum of 8 years, which includes a residency period.
Private medical school loans can help if you have excellent credit and don’t plan to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Before approval, the lender does a hard credit pull to verify credit history. The interest rate depends on credit, the loan term, and whether you choose a fixed or variable rate.
The above is our list of the best private and federal medical school loans in the USA for 2023. Make sure to check the exact, detailed eligibility criteria and other information on the lender’s official website.
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