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How Much Does Medical School Cost?

It’s no secret that medical school can be an expensive process. From preparing for the MCAT to actually applying to medical school and matriculating, the average cost of medical school is steadily increasing. In this article, we’ll be giving an overview what expenses you should expect when applying and then look at options you have for paying for medical school. 

How Much Does Medical School Cost?  

According to the AAMC, the average cost of medical school in 2019-2020 was $250,222 at public institutions and $330,180 at private schools—this is all four years of tuition. The most expensive medical school is Midwestern University in Illinois (average MCAT score: 507) and the most affordable medical school is Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (average MCAT score: 508).

However, these numbers don’t take into account the other expenses you’ll need to make it into medical school and then just…live. Check out this chart for a high-level look at the things you’ll also need to add to your medical school budget. 

Disclaimer: Many of these figures are totally subjective and no two students will have the same total. Cost of living, especially, will differ based on where you attend medical school—your expenses will likely always be higher in a big city than in a smaller town. 

Expense Category Necessary Expenses Variable Expenses Total
MCAT and MCAT Prep Registration Fee: $320 Prep Courses: $1,999 $2,019
Med School Applications $170 for primary application and one school

$100 average secondary application fee

Additional $40 fee per school for primary

$100 per school for each secondary

$500 (est.) for traveling to in-person interviews

Highly variable, but can exceed $3,000
Medical School Tuition $54,767 per year Additional years for med school (dual degree, etc.) Highly variable: average $250,222
Cost of Living Rent, Utilities, Food, Insurance, USMLE Step 1 registration, USMLE Step 2 registration, etc. Going Out, Travel, Personal, Study Materials, etc. Variable, dependent on school but info can be found on school websites.

How To Afford Medical School

One obvious way to pay for medical school is through grants and scholarships. Nearly every medical school offers students some sort of financial award, sometimes even full-rides. NYU Medical School offers its students full-tuition scholarships to all current students and future matriculated students in their M.D. program, regardless of merit or financial need. 

While some schools offer significant financial aid based on need and/or merit, it is often not enough for a lot of students trying to figure out how much does medical school cost. This is especially true for students who are younger than 25-years-old because their financial need is determined based on the candidates’ FAFSA application that includes their parents. 

A wide majority of students pay their tuition and living expenses with federal loans. One resource the AAMC endorses for helping students manage their education debt is the MedLoans Organizer and Calculator.  Another resource the AAMC has free to students is the AAMC Financial Wellness program, which can help students navigate this ongoing financial journey and adapt as their situation changes. 

Don’t forget about your own schools’ financial aid officers. Both in undergrad and med school, financial aid officers are well versed in financial aid and planning, so take advantage of that resource whenever you need it. More often than not, they are happy to help you and can give you advice unique to your own financial situation. Your premed advisor might also offer you some advice.

Regardless of what you use to pay for med school, you will likely need to create and stay committed to a budget. Where you live can play a huge part in how much you need to allocate for personal expenses like rent, food, etc. and the estimated costs of this are often included in medical school websites. 

To create your own budget, make sure you are tracking your income, fixed expenses, and variable expenses. An example of what that can look like can be found here

That being said, you need to make sure that you maintain balance. Should you have take-out every night while you’re in med school? No, but that does not mean you should feel guilty if you budget to treat yourself every once in a while or book a flight to see family or friends. The journey through medicine is expensive but there are tools in place that can help. 

MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which is not affiliated with Blueprint.