Medical School Scholarships in 2023

Part 1: Introduction

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!

Part 2: Frequently Asked Questions

I am trying to decide between medical schools. Should I choose a public school instead of a private school due to a lower cost of attendance?

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!

I was accepted to medical school and didn’t receive financial aid as part of my acceptance package. Does that mean I won’t get scholarships or financial aid?

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.

I am interested in applying for scholarships to help finance my education. Where do I look first?

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. 

Part 3: Medical School Scholarships for 2023

Federal Programs

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.

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

  • What is HPSP, and what are the benefits?
    • The U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy all offer both 4-year and 3-year scholarship options that provide full tuition, a monthly stipend, funding for books, a $20,000 sign-on bonus, and officer’s pay during school breaks.
  • What are the requirements to apply?
    • Requirements include U.S. citizenship, an in progress or completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.2, a minimum MCAT score of 500 with a minimum score of 124 on each subsection, acceptance to or enrollment in an accredited MD or DO program where you will be a full time student all 4 years, and the ability to pass a military fitness test.
      • Note: You can apply for the scholarship program before you get an acceptance as long as you provide the list of schools you applied to.
  • What are the obligations if accepted?
    • While in medical school, you may have to attend officer training during the summer after your M1 year. Otherwise, they leave you alone to study.
    • When it comes time to apply to residencies, you will participate in a Military Match, separate from the general residency application (ERAS) to match into your military residency program. After completion of your residency, you are required to work as an active duty physician for the same number of years that they paid for your medical school.
  • How do I apply? 
    • Contact your local Army, Air Force, or Navy recruiter (depending on which branch you would like to apply to) to set up a meeting to discuss HPSP and get the application.
    • Fill out the HPSP application and submit when you submit your medical school application or in your first year of medical school if applying to a 3-year program.
  • You can find more information about the specific eligibility requirements and benefits, which vary slightly by military branch on the following links.

Veterans Affairs Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) 

  • What is the VA’s HPSP, and what are the benefits?
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a scholarship to students planning to attend an accredited MD or DO program that provides full tuition and required fees, a monthly stipend of $1200 a month, and a book stipend.
  • What are the requirements to apply?
    • You must be a U.S. citizen who is enrolled in or been accepted to an MD or DO program with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and no federal debt delinquency.
    • If you are planning to go into pediatrics, you are not eligible for this program.
  • What are the obligations if accepted?
    • After the completion of your residency, you must be willing to relocate at your own expense if required to fulfill your service obligation, which is 18 months of service for every year sponsored at a VA facility.
  • How do I apply?
    • You can complete an online application at any point after being accepted to medical school as well as during your medical education for the following school years.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program (NHSC SP)

  • What is the NHSC SP, and what are the benefits?
    • The NHSC SP is offered to students pursuing primary care health professions and covers full tuition and eligible fees and provides a monthly stipend for living expenses.
  • What are the requirements to apply?
    • In addition to being a U.S. citizen eligible for federal employment and without another service obligation, students must be attending an accredited MD or DO program and entering a primary care specialty.
      • Students pursuing a non-primary care specialty, such as surgery or emergency medicine, are ineligible.
  • What are the obligations if accepted?
    • After completion of residency in a National Health Service Corps approved specialty, awardees must begin their obligation to NHSC within 6 months, though deferments are possible for approved fellowships. Awardees must be willing to relocate based on the needs of underserved areas served by NHSC and work one year of service for every year of tuition and fees paid with a minimum commitment of two years at a NHSC approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
      • Approved specialties include family medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics, OBGYN, general psychiatry, internal medicine/family medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, family medicine/psychiatry, and internal medicine/psychiatry. 
  • How do I apply?
    • After reading the Application and Program Guidance found on the link above, you can proceed to the online application. The link for the application is found within the Guidance PDF.

General Scholarships

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!

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

  • Amount: Ten $10,000 awards and 25 $5,000 awards
  • Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen with proof of enrollment in medical school.
  • Application: Online application that includes your academic records from college and medical school if you are already enrolled, community and service involvement, and essay responses.
    • This is a one time scholarship that you can apply for on a yearly basis. If you win, you cannot reapply.

AAMC’s Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility: You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have DACA status, be entering your third year of medical school, and have a history of leadership in working to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care and addressing the educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Application. Each medical school can nominate one of its students per year, so if you feel you would be a strong candidate, inquire with your financial aid office to see if the school is familiar with the program. The application includes a nomination letter from the medical school’s dean or dean’s designee along with a letter of recommendations from the GSA Institutional Student Diversity Affairs Representative and a faculty member, a personal statement describing your efforts in eliminating inequities in medical education and health care, and a CV.

AMA Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarships

  • Amount: The amount varies as there are multiple awards depending on your eligibility.
  • Eligibility: All nominees must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or have DACA status and be rising final-year medical students nominated by their medical school dean’s office or the dean’s designate. If you are a rising fourth-year medical student, browse the link for the specific requirements for each scholarship available.
  • Application: Your medical school can nominate students for each of the scholarships available, so if you feel you would be a strong candidate for one of the scholarships, inquire with your financial aid office to see if the school is familiar with the scholarship program. The application includes a CV, essay on the social determinants of health, and a personal statement.

American Medical Women’s Association Scholarships

  • The AMWA offers 4 $500 medical education scholarships to women currently enrolled in medical school, 2 $2000 scholarships to underrepresented students in medicine, and additional scholarships to help pay for costs associated with travel to their conference, USMLE-Rx, Sketchy, OSMOSIS, and Lecturio.
  • While you have to be an active member of AMWA, there is a fee waiver to cover the $75 cost per person for all 4 years of medical school for those who apply for it.

National Medical Fellowships’ Scholarships and Awards

  • There are several scholarships available through NMF to students who are part of the following racial/ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American (Vietnamese and Cambodian only), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Students must also be U.S. citizens or have DACA status, be enrolled in an accredited MD or DO program, including MD/PhD and DO/PhD programs, and demonstrate leadership ability and commitment to serving medically underserved communities.
  • Additional eligibility requirements beyond this depend on the individual scholarships, which can be viewed on the linked page.

The White Coat Investor Medical School Scholarships

  • Amount: The prize money is raised from donations and then split between 10 winners, amounting to $7,671 per person in 2021. The winners will also receive a WCI course of their choice.
  • Eligibility: Professional students enrolled full-time in any professional program in the U.S., including MD and DO schools, can apply. 
  • Application: The application is online and includes a 800 to 1,200 word essay on a topic of your choice.

The Brown Medical and Educational Society Healthcare Scholarships

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens attending a U.S. college or university pursuing a degree in medicine, nursing or allied health and be Black/African American, Native American/American Indian, Hispanic/Latin American, or Asian/Pacific Islander. A cumulative equivalent GPA of 2.5 or higher is also required.
  • Application: The complete application packet including the written application form, essay about leadership, official transcript, and three letters of recommendation must be mailed in.

USA Medical and Surgical Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Open to all students studying medicine or other health related disciplines.
  • Application: The application includes a 1,200+ word essay on how medical supplies or medical equipment contribute to healing, improving, or extending human lives as well as an official transcript or Certification of Enrollment.

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!

Part 4: Conclusion

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!

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