Home Career Advice How Much Does Medical School Cost? – Forbes Advisor

How Much Does Medical School Cost? – Forbes Advisor

How Much Does Medical School Cost?

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations.

The price for attending medical school can easily cost as much as a house, with the median four-year cost of attendance ranging from $255,000 to $337,000 for the Class of 2020, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The high cost of a medical education means that 84% of students left school with $100,000 or more in debt, the AAMC reports.

If you have a passion for the medical field, understanding what medical school costs is the first step in devising a strategy to graduate without overwhelming debt. Here’s what you need to know about medical school costs, pricing and payment options.

What Is the Average Cost of Medical School?

The average cost of medical school for first-year students in 2021-22 is between $39,237 and $63,630, according to the AAMC. That includes tuition, fees and health insurance for students, but not living expenses.

Over four years—which includes class time, lab hours and clinical experience—the median total cost of attendance was $255,517 to $337,584 for the Class of 2020. Cost of attendance is a more comprehensive measure of expenses because it incorporates other like tuition, fees , room, board, books and supplies.

There are some notable exceptions to these high education fees. Tuition-free medical schools such as the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and the NYU Grossman School of Medicine award all accepted students a full-tuition scholarship. That means students in those programs must pay only living expenses and non-tuition costs.

What Affects the Cost of Medical School?

Generally, public medical schools cost less than private ones. At public colleges, in-state residents pay less than out-of-state students. The cost of living in the area where you plan to attend school will also affect housing, transportation, food and utility prices. To reduce costs, consider attending school in a low-cost city or state.

Medical training also includes certain costs beyond the basics. For example, after the fourth year of medical school, students participate in a residency program for three to seven years, depending on the specialty they choose. Medical students thus have to pay for residency application fees, travel to residency interviews and moving expenses, if necessary, which can add up.

Residents receive a stipend during this training period, which can help offset living expenses and loan payments (if you choose not to postpone them during residency). The median annual pay for residents starts at $58,650 for first-year residents and grows to $78,627 for eight-year residents, according to the AAMC.

How to Pay for Medical School

The available methods to pay for medical school are similar to those for undergraduate study and other graduate programs. Start by maxing out free financial aid from the government, your school and private organizations. Then, consider federal student loans before moving on to private loans so you can take advantage of federal repayment programs.

Here are the most common options to pay for a medical school:

  • Financial aid: Remember the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA? Fill it out for every year you’re in medical school to qualify for grants and scholarships from the government and your school, and for federal student loans.
  • Private scholarships and grants: If you already have an idea of ​​the specialty you’re interested in, you may find scholarships that will support your schooling. Look for organizations dedicated to the specialty—family or internal medicine students, for example, can check out the American Academy of Family Physicians—and take a look at their lists of scholarships. Trade organizations like the American Medical Association also give out scholarships, and your personal background may qualify you for certain funding options.
  • Federal student loans: Opt for federal student loans, starting with direct unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans if you need them. Federal loans come with multiple income-driven repayment options, which can lower repayment costs when you have a high debt burden but a comparatively low salary in your first years in the workforce. If you work for a nonprofit hospital or a government agency for 10 years, you could have your federal loans forgiven as part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
  • Private student loans: Banks, credit unions and online lenders also offer medical school loans, but unlike federal debt, the interest rate you receive and your eligibility will depend on your credit score and other financial factors. You also have fewer options for lowering payments when you graduate or getting loans forgiven.
  • Savings: If you are the beneficiary of a 529 college savings plan, you can use that money to pay for medical school. You can even open an account on your own to help yourself save for medical school years before you’ll attend.

How to Lower Medical School Costs

Some advice for saving money on medical school costs applies no matter what level of education you’re pursuing. Choose a public school instead of a private one, opt for a public school in your state of residency to receive discounted tuition, and limit housing costs by living with family or roommates if possible.

But medical students have some extra ways to cut expenses. For example, you could participate in a service program in exchange for working in certain fields or locations after graduation. They include:

  • National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program: This federal program covers tuition, fees, books, supplies and other expenses for up to four years. You’ll also get a stipend for living expenses. In return, physicians work for at least two years as primary care providers in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area.
  • Health Professions Scholarship Program: If you’re interested in training and working as a military physician, this program provides full tuition and a living stipend at any medical school in exchange for one year of military medical service for every scholarship year completed. If you attend the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, you’ll receive not only a tuition benefit but an annual salary. You’ll also be considered an active-duty military officer and will commit to seven years of service.
  • Loan cancellation programs: In addition to Public Service Loan Forgiveness, there are many other student loan reduction programs out there for doctors. Some are provided by individual states, and others are available through federal agencies like the Indian Health Service or the National Institutes of Health. In most cases, you’ll commit to a certain number of service years in exchange for forgiveness of your student debt, or for monthly payments that go towards your debt. Search for programs you qualify for using the AAMC’s database. Filter by “Repayment” in the “Type” drop-down menu.

While the cost of medical school can seem prohibitive, it is possible to make it work—especially if you find scholarships or you’re willing to participate in a service program. Even if taking out student loans is unavoidable, you may qualify for a forgiveness option. Or, you can cut monthly payments through income-driven repayment. The ways to lower costs are as varied as your options for making a difference after you graduate.

Compare Student Loan Rates In Minutes

Compare rates from participating lenders via Credible.com



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here