How to Go to Medical School for Free
- Feb 23, 2023
- MCAT Blog
- Reviewed By: Liz Flagge
Unfortunately, for many, there is a roadblock that can stop the physician dream from coming to fruition—the exorbitantly high price of medical school. The price tag of a medical degree has been increasing steadily for decades, and now has become difficult to afford for most people.
Student loans from the government and private companies have become a mainstay of the medical school financial discussion. These loans come with interest rates that tend to saddle you with debt and loan repayments long after leaving medical school. Luckily, you have a few options to keep your dreams afloat that will help pay for medical school or even make it free depending on your personal situation. Here’s how you can get that medical degree with less debt.
The first, and best, option is to obtain a medical school scholarship. There are typically two types: merit based and need based. Scholarships do not require any repayment and can reduce tuition fees and student loan debt for medical school. Many medical schools offer merit-based and need-based scholarships, and it only takes some clever internet searching to seek them out. Schools like Duke, The Ohio State University, University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan all offer merit-based and need-based scholarships (grants).
Many American medical schools do not require a separate application to apply for these scholarships; they are awarded upon admission in a process known as “need-blind” admissions. The need-blind admissions process does not take a family’s financial abilities into account and is based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and federal student aid information. When thinking about which medical schools to apply to, be sure that you search for schools with these types of funds.
Some state schools, such as those in Texas, offer scholarships based on your state citizenship. Perform some research to see if your state’s med schools offer these scholarships for their in-state medical students. This information can make your decision on where to apply or attend much simpler.
In addition to institutional scholarships, look for external scholarships to help eliminate student debt and help pay for medical school. These are typically application based (another essay!) and are great supplements to either round out institutional scholarships or provide a few hundred to thousands of extra dollars. Blueprint Prep offers an annual $20,000 scholarship (without requiring an essay) and financial aid for our MCAT courses!
Many companies and local organizations offer these scholarships as well. A Google search can show what opportunities your community and religious organizations or those based on your personal heritage can provide. Apply to as many of these scholarships as you can and you will see your tuition bill and loan amount drop.
Alternatives to Scholarships
Finally, another path to achieving free or heavily reduced medical university costs requires the most commitment: public service.
The National Health Service Corps has a scholarship program and a loan repayment program. Both of these have you work as a doctor in areas that have a shortage of health professionals (there are plenty in the US).
Applying for Free Medical Degrees
Free tuition isn’t something that’s easy to come by. Student loans or financial aid is often what students in med school need to receive when tuition is highly expensive; however, another solution is applying early to tuition-free schools. One example is the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J Tyson School of Medicine. Currently, the school is waiving all tuition and fees for students through 2025. Take advantage of this opportunity by applying as soon as possible. Since these programs are highly sought-after, and free, spaces fill up very fast and more often than not people who apply late are not offered admission.
Med school is expensive. For each school you apply to, check their financial aid page to see if they offer financial aid opportunities and the requirements to receive them. Talk to local leaders about community-based scholarships from local businesses and Google will provide you information for large corporations that may offer scholarships. Financial aid is out there and, as a medical student, you should keep each of these options in mind to help you achieve that M.D. or D.O.!
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