While getting accepted to medical school can be a long and challenging journey, if you are looking into medical school scholarships for 2023, you made it! Congratulations! Now that you are accepted, you are likely worried about the cost of attending medical school. According to the AAMC’s 2020 report, “Physician Education Debt and the Cost to Attend Medical School”, in 2019, the average four-year cost of attendance was $250,222 for those who attend public medical schools and $330,180 for students at private institutions. Fortunately, scholarships can be a great way to cut down on costs and graduate with less debt. In this post, we will cover frequently asked questions regarding scholarships for medical school and the medical school scholarships and programs that you can apply to now!
While it is tempting to choose a school based on cost alone, the median debt of students is pretty similar across both public and private options ($215,000 compared to $200,000 for public students in 2019). You may be thinking, “Wait! I thought private schools were on average $80,000 more expensive when comparing cost of attendance.” While private schools have higher cost of attendance, they also often offer more scholarships and aid to their students, resulting in a comparable debt at graduation between public and private students. You are going to spend the next four years of your life at whatever school you pick, so choose the one you feel is the best fit for you! Cost should be only one factor and secondary to where you can see yourself thriving!
No need to worry! Medical schools often give out their scholarships and financial aid differently than you may be used to for undergrad when it was part of your acceptance. Private medical schools often have scholarships and financial aid available to admitted students that you apply for after you begin medical school. However, public medical schools already have a lower cost of attendance and typically have less financial aid and scholarship money available to give out.
The first step is to talk to the financial aid office at the medical school you plan to attend/are attending. Private schools especially often have donor scholarships and grants, need based scholarships, and even academic, leadership, and service scholarships for their students. Even if your medical school doesn’t have additional scholarships available, the financial aid coordinator at your school may know of local scholarships within the community or with the hospitals in the area that you would be eligible for. Reach out to the financial aid resources at your own medical school first and inquire about what scholarships are available to students, when you apply for these, and how often students receive scholarships from these opportunities as well as any additional local or hospital scholarships they may be aware of. Since you are not guaranteed any of the scholarships you apply to, you can also look at the AAMC’s reports to see the average debt of your medical school to better assess how that compares to the cost of attendance and decide what outside scholarships you should apply to and if you want to apply to a federal scholarship program with a commitment.
Federal scholarship programs often cover full tuition and fees and usually also come with a living allowance for expenses, allowing you to come out of medical school debt-free. These are awarded in exchange for the commitment of military service or practicing in an underserved area after you complete residency.
There are also many outside scholarships available for students pursuing medicine that may be open to all medical students or specific to students who are underrepresented in medicine. Some of the medical school scholarships available for 2023-2024 school year are listed below, but make sure that you explore other scholarships that you may be eligible for based on your demographics and background!
These represent just a few of the scholarships available for you to apply to as a medical school student. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University keeps a scholarship database that includes even more scholarships that you may be eligible for, so make sure you check out that link for more opportunities to lower your medical education cost!
Whether you are gearing up to attend medical school in the fall or if you are already in medical school now and looking for some extra scholarship money, scholarship applications can be overwhelming, but they are worth it! The good news is that most scholarship applications have similar essays, so don’t be afraid to reuse and revise already written material. I recommend applying to all of the outside scholarships that you are eligible for that you feel like fit your values and experiences. You can also consider federal scholarship programs if you are comfortable with their obligations after residency and want to come out of medical school debt-free. While you won’t be awarded every scholarship you apply to, the more scholarships you apply to, the greater chance you have of lowering the amount you take out in loans! While medical school debt can be scary to think about, there are many opportunities for you to earn some scholarship money to put towards your education if you are willing to take the time to research and apply to them!