How Much Does Medical School Cost? – Overview
Attending medical school in the US can cost a lot. The average cost of attending a 4-year medical degree in the US is between US$ 225,000 and US$ 337,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This high cost of medical education means that around 84% of students leave school with over US$ 100,000 in debt.
However, if you are passionate about making a career in the medical and healthcare industry, this article will help you. In this article, we have provided details of the cost of medical education in the US and different ways you can lower the overall financial burden of medical education.
What Is the Average Cost of Medical Education in THE US?
The average cost of medical education in the US for first-year students is between US$ 39,237 and US$ 63,630 per year. This cost includes the expenses of tuition, fees and health insurance. However, this cost does not include living expenses.
Over a 4-year period, which includes lab hours, class time and clinical experience, the average cost of attending medical school comes to around US$ 255,517 to US$ 337,584. The cost of attendance is a comprehensive assessment of expenses as it includes different expenses, such as room, fees, board, books and supplies.
Many medical schools and non-profit organizations in the US today offer full-tuition scholarships, requiring the student to pay only living expenses and non-tuition costs.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Medical School?
Usually, public medical schools cost less than private medical schools. In general medical schools, students from the same state as the school pay a lower fee than students from out of state. The cost of living is determined by the area where you plan to attend medical school, along with the cost of housing, food, transportation, and utility.
To lower these expenses, you should choose to attend medical school in an area with a low cost of living to alleviate some of the financial burdens of getting medical education.
Medical training also requires certain costs which are over and above the basics. For instance, once students complete their 4th year of medical school, they must participate in a residency program for 3 to 7 years, depending on their chosen specialty.
In this situation, the medical student has to pay for residency application fees, travel to residency interviews and moving expenses, which can add up to a significant amount.
Resident trainee doctors receive a nominal stipend during their residency training, which can help balance some of the living expenses and help repay the education loan. The average annual pay for resident trainee doctors in the first year is around US$ 58,650, while eighth-year students receive around US$ 78,627 as expenses, according to AAMC.
How to Pay for Medical School?
The methods to pay for medical school are similar to those for graduate and undergraduate programs. You should begin by using government, private organizations, or school financial aid. Next, you should consider applying for federal student loans before trying to apply for private loans. This way, you can get a complete advantage from the federal repayment program.
Some of the most common methods to offset the overall cost of medical education in the US are:
You should know about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make sure to fill it out every year that you attend medical school. This helps you to qualify for grants and scholarships from your school and the government, as well as for federal student loans.
If you decide on your chosen specialty, you can find several scholarships supporting your medical education. You can start by looking for organizations dedicated to your chosen specialty, for instance, family medicine, orthopedics, etc. You can also check out the official website of the American Academy of Family Physicians to look for the list of specialty scholarships on their website.
Besides this, trade organizations like the American Medical Association also hand out scholarships, and with your background, you may qualify for these.
Federal Student Loans
You can also choose to apply for federal student loans. You should start with PLUS loans and direct unsubsidized loans. Federal loans have several types of income-dependent repayment options, which can significantly lower the overall cost of medical education and reduce your student debt drastically.
Besides this, if you work for a government agency or a non-profit hospital for ten years straight, you may even have your federal student loan forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Private Student Loans
Private sources, such as credit unions, banks, and online lenders offer student loans. However, unlike federal student loans, the interest rate on your private student loan and your eligibility to receive the loan will depend on your credit score and other financial aspects.
In addition, you tend to have fewer options for lowering payments upon graduation or getting your loan forgiven with private student loans.
You can use the amount to pay for medical school if you are eligible for the 529 College Savings Plan. You can also open an account on your own to save for medical education before you graduate.
Medical education in the US costs significantly, especially if you don’t find sources to offset the cost. For instance, you can lower the overall cost of medical education by applying for federal or private student loans, scholarships and grants or seeking financial aid from the government under FAFSA.
Make sure to read the term of eligibility before applying for any kind of financial aid to fund your medical education in the United States.