Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Top Medical School Scholarships For Students

Attending medical school can be an extremely rewarding path, it can also be an expensive one. Luckily, there are some great medical school scholarships that can help ease the financial burden of attending medical school. Students thinking about attending medical school, or who are currently enrolled, may want to consider looking into scholarships for medical school.

There are plenty of scholarships for medical students and more general scholarships that they can apply for to help pay for college. Keep reading for a roundup of the best medical student scholarships, how to apply for them, and how much they’re worth.

Related: Finding & Applying to Scholarships for Grad School

Brown Medical and Educational Society Healthcare Scholarship

Dollar amount: Unknown

Application process: To apply for the Brown Medical and Educational Society Healthcare Scholarship , students must complete an application, submit an official college or university transcript in a sealed envelope, and submit three letters of recommendation.

Eligibility: To qualify for this scholarship, students must be an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree at a US based four-year university while studying a healthcare degree such as nursing, dentistry, medicine, and allied health. Recipients must also identify as a member of select ethnic groups and must be U.S. citizens.

Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarships

Dollar amount: $3,000 to $5,000

Application process: The application for the 2021-2022 school year is set to open in December 2021. Applicants can expect to submit essays as a part of the application.

Eligibility: To receive a Chinese American Physicians Society Scholarship , applicants must be a student at a US based medical school and applicants are judged on their financial needs, academic achievements, essays, and community service records.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund

Dollar amount: Unknown

Applicant process: The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund requires students submit their application through the dean of the university at the school they are attending for graduate studies. Students can connect with their school’s fellowship or financial aid office to learn more about what the application process looks like for students at their school. Only select schools participate in this program.

Eligibility: Students must be US citizens and attend a US based accredited and designated higher education institution as a graduate student. National descent is not taken into consideration and students are not limited to pursuing Armenian studies.

The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship

Dollar amount: NHHF has awarded $1,555,000 to 306 awardees as of January 2021.

Application process: Applicants must submit the following supporting documents as a part of their application for the The Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship :

• Personal statement or essay that is double-spaced and a maximum of two pages outlining their career goals

• Curriculum vitae that shares up to date employment experience, education history, extracurricular activities, and awards

• One letter of recommendation

• Proof of their US citizenship DACA status, or residency

• Unofficial copy of their school transcripts

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship opportunity, students must have a 3.0 GPA and be currently enrolled full time in a US graduate program studying one of the following subjects:

• Medicine (allopathic or osteopathic)

• Dentistry

• Pharmacy

• Nursing (including BSN)

• Public Health or Public Policy

• Physician Associate

Joseph Collins Scholarship

Dollar amount: $10,000

Application process: Applicants for the Joseph Collins Scholarship must demonstrate an interest in the arts and letters or another type of cultural pursuit that falls outside of the field of medicine and needs to show an intent to specialize in psychiatry, neurourology, or become a general practitioner.

Eligibility: The moral character of the applicant and their scholastic record will be taken into account. Students who are attending medical schools east of the Mississippi river and are ranked in the top 50% of their class are eligible to apply.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

Dollar amount: Full year of scholarship support up to four years.

Application process: To apply for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program , applicants must pass an eligibility screening, submit general information about themselves, their degree, and their backgrounds, as well as providing two letters of recommendation.

In return, recipients of this scholarship will work in primary care in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The time commitment may vary based on how much aid the student received.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants have to be either a US citizen or a US national and be able to submit proof of their status. Applicants must also be enrolled as full-time students and attend an accredited school or academic program in the US or in a US territory.

MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship

Dollar amount: $1,000 to $5,000

Application process: To apply for this scholarship program, applicants must complete the application form provided by MPOWER.

Eligibility: Recipients of the MPOWER Global Citizenship Scholarship must be international students that are legally allowed to work and attend school in either the US or Canada. They must also be enrolled in a US or Canadian school that MPOWER supports .

Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Dollar amount: Up to $90,000 in financial support over two years.

Application process: In order to apply for the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans , students must submit the following information and materials in an online application.

• Personal and contact information

• Higher-education history

• Information about the graduate program they are seeking support for

• Three to five recommendations

• Resume

• Two essays

• College and graduate school transcripts

• Standardized test scores

• Optional exhibits

Eligibility: Applicants must be aged 30 or younger by the time of the application deadline and need to plan on either starting or continuing a full-time graduate degree program in the US.

Students may apply before they begin graduate school or while they are enrolled. Applicants must also meet the scholarship’s definition of “new American,” which is an individual whose birth parents were born outside of the US as non-US citizens.

Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program

Dollar amount: $7,000 per year up to four years.

Application process: Applications can be mailed or emailed and must included the following information:

• Official copy of undergraduate and graduate school transcript if applicable

• Official copy of medical school transcript

• Copy of MCAT scores

• Copy of USMLE score or COMLEX score

• Copy of current CV

• Essay

Eligibility: In order to qualify for the Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program , applicants must be third-year medical students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the specialty of family medicine.

Leadership skills, academic achievements, communication skills, identifiable character and integrity, and community service involvement will all be taken into consideration.

How Student Loan Refinancing Can Help

Those who already have medical school debt and may no longer be eligible for medical school scholarships may want to consider refinancing their existing student loans. Under the right terms, refinancing student loans can save money and help them pay down their debt faster. Refinancing student loans involves consolidating student loans through a private lender into a new loan that ideally comes with a better rate and term.

The student loan refinancing process varies by lender, but generally, the borrower ends up with a new loan, which can be easier to manage than multiple loans.

While some lenders only refinance private student loans, SoFi refinances both private and federal student loans. If the applicant can secure a better interest rate, they may end up paying less over the life of their loan.

When a borrower applies to refinance their loan or loans, the lender will generally take their credit score, credit history, and other key financial information into consideration to determine their rates and terms.

It’s worth noting that refinancing federal student loans into private ones causes the borrower to lose out on federal protections. Private lenders may not offer forbearance, deferment, and hardship programs.

Recommended: Private vs. Federal Student Loans

The Takeaway

Scholarships can be an effective way to help medical students pay for med school.

Application processes and eligibility requirements will vary from scholarship to scholarship so it may be helpful to browse around for different scholarships that fit your unique educational and personal profile.

Learn more about SoFi student loan refinancing.

Photo credit: iStock/JohnnyGreig


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

If you’re passionate about food, a career in culinary arts may be right for you. Going to culinary school can help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience required to work in the field.

But how much does it cost to go to culinary school compared to trade school or traditional college? Simply put, it depends. Culinary school cost varies based on institutional reputation, program type, and the duration of study.

This guide will examine culinary school cost factors and payment options to help prospective students decide if it’s the right move for their future.

Tuition Rates for Culinary Schools

In 2019, the median public in-state tuition for culinary school was $3,635, while median out-of-state and private tuition was $19,504.

When evaluating a program’s sticker price, keep in mind that the curriculum structure and schedule for culinary school can differ from four-year or community college.

Some culinary programs may condense more coursework and in-person instruction into a semester or year, while others offer a more extensive course of study.

Tuition pricing may reflect the entire program cost rather than a standalone semester, too. For instance, the Institute of Culinary Education offers a range of six- to 13-month diploma programs, while a technical certificate from Florida State College at Jacksonville takes 14 months to complete.

Why is Culinary School So Expensive?

Culinary school costs can be steep. For example, tuition and fees amount to $77,310 for the two year associate’s degree program at the Culinary Institute of America’s California Campus.

Culinary schools can have an intensive structure. Condensed schedules can translate to more time spent in both the classroom and kitchen than typical college students.

Whereas a lecture hall can accommodate hundreds of students for an Intro to Economics course, culinary students typically receive more one-on-one instructions in smaller class sizes. Also, culinary coursework that involves cooking and baking has the added cost of buying ingredients and materials.

Culinary school costs might also include purchasing cooking equipment, such as knives, cutting boards, and a kitchen uniform. Depending on the program, these may be automatically factored into the tuition price or tacked on as an additional fee.

Types of Culinary Degrees Available

Prospective students have a variety of options to choose from for a culinary degree. The types of institutions offering culinary degrees include technical schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, and independent culinary institutes.

Students can choose from certificate programs, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts.

Certificate programs are usually the shortest to complete with one to two semesters of coursework and training. Associate’s programs can vary from one to two years and may incorporate a mix of hands-on training, internships, and coursework. Bachelor’s degrees require more time―generally four years―to complete but can help further develop culinary skills and knowledge in related subjects like business and nutrition.

Culinary degrees can also focus on a specific discipline, such as baking and pastry arts or hospitality and restaurant management. Interested students can explore this list of accredited culinary schools to find a program that suits their needs and career goals.

How Can You Pay for Culinary School?

A combination of funding sources may be required to cover tuition, equipment, and related expenses. Prospective students and parents can consider the following options to pay for culinary school.

Grants and Scholarships

Figuring out how much culinary school is going to set you back starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. Students may qualify for assistance in the form of grants if they have significant financial need.

There are also numerous culinary-specific scholarships that students can apply for. The National Restaurant Association awards merit-based scholarships between $2,500 to $10,000 for students pursuing undergraduate degrees in culinary arts and related fields.

Some additional grant and scholarship opportunities include:

• The James Beard Foundation: This nonprofit organization awards scholarships, tuition waivers, and work-study grants to students attending accredited culinary schools.

• The American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF): Full-time students attending accredited culinary schools can apply for an AIWF scholarship from local chapters in California and Kansas.

• Rachel Ray, Yum-o!:The famous Food Network chef’s nonprofit funds culinary scholarships in partnership with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Students can also explore grants for college from state government and private organizations for additional funding.

Federal Student Loans

Students may need to use student loans when scholarships and grants aren’t sufficient, and they cannot afford to pay out of pocket.

Through the Federal Direct Loan Program, students can access both subsidized and unsubsidized loans to pay for school. Subsidized loans are awarded based on a student’s financial need. The Department of Education pays the interest on subsidized loans while borrowers are studying at least half-time, and during the six-month grace period after leaving school. Students may be eligible to defer loan payments further if they attend graduate school, join the military, or experience financial hardship.

Unsubsidized loans don’t require students to have financial needs to be eligible. Schools determine how much students can borrow based on the cost of attendance and a student’s total financial aid package. Borrowers are responsible for paying interest on unsubsidized loans once disbursed.

Dependent students can get up to $31,000 in federal student loans for four years of full-time study. Only $23,000 of this can be subsidized loans. Independent students, however, can take out up to $57,500 in federal loans, with subsidized loans also capped at $23,000.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Employment

If financial aid isn’t enough to cover culinary school costs in full, working while studying could help pay the remainder.

Students with financial need may qualify for part-time employment through the Federal-Work Study program. Work-study jobs are typically geared towards a student’s area of study or community service. Awards can vary according to the student’s need, the timing of application, and how much total funding is available at a given participating school.

Finding part-time work at a restaurant or food-related enterprise is another funding option that also supports professional development.

Private Student Loans

If financial aid and other sources aren’t enough to pay for culinary school in full, students can consider a private student loan.

Students may obtain private student loans from banks, credit unions, private organizations, or colleges. Some students may need a cosigner to qualify for private student loans due to a lack of credit history and income.

Private student loan interest rates and loan terms vary by lender, which gives borrowers more choice in term length. However, private student loans do not carry the same borrower protections as federal student loans, such as income-driven repayment plans, deferment or forbearance, or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Students may want to consider private student loans as an option only after they have exhausted all other sources of aid, including federal student loans.

The Takeaway

While many food-service and restaurant jobs don’t require education beyond a high school diploma, completing culinary school could lead to a higher-paying career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in 2020 for chefs and head cooks was $58,740, compared to just $26,000 to $27,000 for line cooks and food preparation workers.

If you need to borrow to cover culinary school costs, SoFi can help. SoFi offers private student loans with competitive rates, flexible payment options, and no fees.

Finding your interest rate can be done in a few minutes online, and there’s no pressure to sign up.

Learn more about private student loans with SoFi.

Photo credit: iStock/visualspace


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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How Many Grad Schools Should You Apply To?

How Many Grad Schools Should You Apply To?

Applying to grad school can sometimes feel reminiscent of applying for undergrad. After all, you’re familiar with the process of gathering application materials, and some things, like asking professors for references and taking standardized tests, may not be as intimidating as they were when applying for undergrad.

But there still may be other unknowns. Not only may you be unsure about how to effectively create a list of which schools to apply to, but you also may be wondering about how you might pay for your graduate degree.

Thinking about these two questions—where you’ll apply and how you’ll pay—in tandem can help you make smart choices for your future career and your future bank account. Here, how to decide how many grad schools to apply to.

Follow the Money and Consider Cost

Just like undergrad debt, grad school debt can impact your future career path. And if you finished undergrad without debt, you may be unsure what you’re taking on. Grad students currently shoulder a significant portion of student debt—while they make up only 15% of all borrowers, they account for nearly 40% of federal loans issued each year. Federal loans can reach the six figures, and many graduates of grad programs may not have earning power to pay back these loans comfortably until years or even decades after their degree is conferred.

If you’re in the early stages of considering going to grad school, here are a few questions and actions that may help you navigate the choices available to you:

• Talk with people who have gotten a similar master’s degree. What did they wish they had known?

• Talk with the department or departments at the schools you’re considering and ask about graduate scholarships, fellowships, and other programs that may lower program cost.

• Consider your career path. Look on various salary sites for median salaries for your proposed field of study.

In the early stages of heading to grad school, you may also want to determine how you’ll pay for graduate school, as this may impact the school you choose to attend. Here are a few suggestions for crafting a plan to pay for your graduate education.

Recommended: The Return on Education (ROEd): Salary Trajectory by Degree

Talk with your family

Some students have found that their family may support some or all of their grad school journey. Contributions such as free housing or the use of a family car add up as well, so it can be important to factor those in. For example, some students may look at programs where they can live at home, so they don’t need to pay for housing and travel expenses. If this is the case, make sure everyone is very clear about expectations so there are no surprises later on.

Apply for Federal Student Aid

Fill out the FAFSA®. Unlike undergrad education, direct subsidized loans are not available to graduate students. Your loans will also be considered in conjunction with any federal loans you took out as an undergrad when it comes to determining the number of federal loans you’re eligible for as a grad student. Talking to the financial aid office at the schools you’re considering attending can also help you understand what loans, scholarships, and other programs may be available to you.

Recommended: What is the Maximum Amount of Student Loans for Graduate School?

Consider Private Loans

Private lenders generally won’t lend more than what it costs to go to school, and rates and terms will vary. Some students may find they need more money than they are offered in federal loans. Note that because private student loans lack the borrower protections that federal loans offer (like Public Service Loan Forgiveness or deferment options) it’s generally recommended that borrowers rely on these after exhausting all federal aid options.

Consider Relevance And Practicality

In addition to prestige, it’s also important to consider degree relevance and how it may be practical for your future career path. Looking at salaries from people who graduated from that program or with that degree can help you assess what the future after graduation will look like. Sometimes, students can become so focused on getting into a grad program and affording the program that they may forget that the first year out of grad school may require a few months to find a job and find footing in a new career.

Asking yourself some questions can help you further drill down into the best programs to apply for:

How Much Will Expenses Cost?

Room, board, and travel all add up. Considering those costs can help assess overall expense. It can also be helpful to consider the cost of living, too, which can vary based on where the program is based.

Can I Work and Study Simultaneously?

Some programs may be structured for grad students to do both; others might be created primarily for students who can devote all their time to their studies. If you’re self-funding your grad school experience and are currently employed, it may be worth speaking with your HR office to see if there are any options for your company to fund your studies if you are planning to study and go to school at the same time.

How Long Is The Program?

Different grad programs have different time frames. While some, such as law schools, may have relatively standard coursework for traditional students, other programs may offer different structures depending on the school. And it may make sense to see how long or how short the degree can take depending on life circumstances. It can also be helpful to know if an internship or other hands-on experience is essential for the degree, as that may influence feasibility with fitting the degree in with other work.

Consider All Information

When applying to grad programs, getting as much data as possible can be helpful in determining the next steps. Talking with professors, people currently working in the industry, current students, and faculty at several schools you’re considering can all be helpful in assessing how well you may fit in a program—and why a program may be the best fit for you. Because graduate departments tend to be smaller than undergrad departments, you may find it easier to have these sorts of conversations.

It can also be helpful to speak to graduates of a program and to talk with mentors and employers about how a grad degree may enhance your career can be helpful. While some career paths demand a grad degree, such as an attorney, social worker, or doctor, there are other career paths where a grad degree may not be necessary—or may be subsidized by an employer when they consider it essential. So having a range of opinions can be helpful when it comes to homing in on the best grad school programs for your needs.

Recommended: Applying to Graduate School: Smart Tips & Strategies

The Takeaway

Preparing for grad school requires a lot of legwork, but the more prepared you are now in narrowing down your application list, the less overwhelmed you might be when acceptances start rolling in. While not a substitute for federal loans, scholarships, and work-study programs, private student loans can give some flexibility in how you’ll fund your grad school career.

Private student loans do not have the same borrower protections as federal loans—such as income-driven repayment plans—so they are generally borrowed after all other aid options, including federal student loans. Imagining several scenarios and planning for what-ifs can help mitigate “how to pay” stress so you can focus on the next step in your academic career.

Learn more about using a private student loan from SoFi to pay for graduate school.

Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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doctor and nurse on smartphone

What is the Average Medical School Debt?

While many med school students eventually may earn six figures or more, they also can expect to graduate with student debt that averages close to a quarter of a million dollars.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the median medical school debt for students who graduated in 2020 was $200,000. (Among the class of 2020, 27% graduated with no debt.)

That’s just what these graduates owe for their medical school education. Researchers at EducationData.org found that 43% of indebted medical school graduates also have premedical education debt to deal with (for an average of $241,600 in total debt).

Which makes it crucial that aspiring and current medical school students, and graduates, understand their debt repayment options.

Medical School Debt, by the Numbers

Here’s a snapshot of what student debt can look like for medical school graduates, based on a roundup of recent statistics:

•  Based on the most recent numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics , medical doctorate completers in the class of 2015-2016 had, on average, $246,000 in total education debt (premed and medical school). Compare that with the average for the class of 1999-2000: $124,700.

•  When the AAMC looked at members of the class of 2020 who took out educational loans, it found that:
5.4% borrowed $1 to $49,999 for premed studies and medical school
6.1% borrowed $50,000 to $99,999
8.2% borrowed $100,000 to $149,999
13.7% borrowed $150,000 to $199,999
25.1% borrowed $200,000 to $299,999
11.2% borrowed $300,000 to $399,999
2.9% borrowed $400,000 to $499,999

•  While the cost of medical school is rising by about 2.4% annually, the annual growth rate of medical school debt is 11%, as calculated by EducationData.

What Does This Mean for Borrowers?

It’s important to note that, when it comes to borrowing for medical school, loan interest rates offered by the federal government, along with the terms and conditions, might be different from borrowing as an undergrad.

Some med students may benefit from scholarships and loan forgiveness programs that could cut their costs substantially. But many will end up making loan payments for years—or even decades.

According to the number crunchers at EducationData, the average doctor will ultimately pay from $365,000 to $440,000 for his or her educational loans, with interest factored in.

Medical School Loan Options

Types of federal student loans available to medical students include Direct Unsubsidized Loans, with a limit of $20,500 each year.

Rates for this type of loan are currently lower than for the other type of federal student loan available to those going to medical school, Direct PLUS loans. The current rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 5.28%, while Direct PLUS loans have an interest rate of 6.28% through July 1, 2022.

There isn’t a financial need requirement for either type of federal student loan, so many medical students qualify for both. With Direct Unsubsidized Loans, there is no credit check, but there is a credit check for PLUS loans.

Medical students also can apply for private student loans. Generally, borrowers need a solid credit history for private student loans, among other financial factors that will vary by lender. Private lenders offer different rates, terms, and overall loan programs.

Federal loans come with many student protections and benefits that private loans don’t, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and income-driven repayment.

Medical students also may choose to defer federal student loans during their residency, which isn’t typically an option with private student loans.

How to Deal With Debt

There are several strategies that medical school graduates with education bills to pay may consider.

Deferment

If you’ve ever borrowed money—for school or otherwise—you know that two critical factors can influence how much the loan will cost overall.

•  The interest rate you’re paying

•  How long you take to repay the loan or loans.

The repayment timeline is often extended when medical residents make partial monthly loan payments, or no payments at all. Putting off payments may seem like a good idea during a stressful time, but delaying can be costly.

Most federal student loans, when deferred, continue to accrue interest. The problem those in medical fields can face, then, is debt accumulation during their residency, which can last anywhere from three to seven years.

Even while making a modest income—in 2021, the average resident earned $64,000, according to Medscape—the debt would grow considerably.

Part or all of your unpaid interest might be capitalized when you complete your residency. This means the accrued interest is added to the principal of the loan, and that new value is then used to calculate the amount of interest owed.

If you decide to put your loans in deferment or forbearance, making interest-only payments can reduce the amount of interest that could be added to the loan.

Income-Driven Repayment

An income-driven repayment plan is an option for medical residents who can’t afford full payments. The four plans limit payments to a percentage of borrowers’ income, extend the repayment period to 20 or 25 years, and promise forgiveness of any remaining balance.

In general, borrowers qualify for lower loan payments if their total student loan debt exceeds their annual income. Payments are based on discretionary income, family size, and state.

Refinancing Loans

Refinancing medical school loans is an option during residency, after residency, or both.

Refinancing with a private lender might help save you money if you can get a lower interest rate than the rates of f your current student loans.

Refinancing means paying off one or more of your existing federal and private student loans with one new loan, which has one monthly payment.

If you refinance your student loans and get a better rate, you could choose a term that allows you to pay off the loan more quickly, if you’re able to shoulder the payments, which should save you in interest.

Again, refinancing isn’t a good fit for those who wish to take advantage of federal programs.

Consolidating Loans

The federal government offers Direct Consolidation Loans, through which multiple eligible federal student loans are combined into one. The interest rate on the new loan is the average of the original loans’ interest rates, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percentage point.

If your payment goes down, it’s likely because the term has been extended from the standard 10-year repayment to up to 30 years. Although you may pay less each month, you’ll also be paying more in interest over the life of your loan.

Schools With the Highest Student Debt

When it comes to student debt, all medical programs are not equal. According to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Grad School” rankings, the range can be extensive. Out of 118 medical schools listed, the three that left grads with the most debt in 2020 were:

•  Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona: $340,620

•  Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois: $335,960

•  Nova Southeastern University Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (Patel) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: $308,321

On the other end of the spectrum, the schools that graduated students with the least amount of debt in 2020 were:

•  Stanford University in Stanford, California: $89,739

•  Columbia University in New York, New York: $97,891

•  University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth: $101,209

Public vs. Private Medical School

The cost of attending a private medical school is typically higher than a public school.

According to the AAMC, these were the median costs of tuition, fees, and health insurance for first-year medical students during the 2020-2021 school year.

•  Private school, in-state resident: $64,053

•  Private school, nonresident: $64,494

•  Public school, in-state resident: $39,150

•  Public school, nonresident: $63,546

According to EducationData, however, the average public medical school graduate leaves school owing a higher percentage of the cost of attendance (77.3%) than the average private school medical school graduate (65.3%).

The Takeaway

There’s no doubt that studying medicine can lead to a lucrative career, but the route can be daunting, in every way. When the average medical school debt tops $240,000, some aspiring and newly minted doctors look for a remedy, stat.

If you’re leaning toward refinancing, SoFi has a program specifically for medical residents. Potential borrowers might benefit from a low rate or low monthly payments during residency.

Check your rate in a few clicks.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What is the Average Cost of College Tuition?

College tuition varies based on factors like where the school is located, and whether the school is public or private. The average cost of college for in-state students at a four year institution in 2020-2021 was $10,560. Students at private nonprofit four year institutions paid on average $37,650.

Read on for more information about the average tuition costs, and other expenses facing college students.

The Average Cost of College

The cost of tuition has been steadily increasing for decades. When it comes to four year colleges and universities, the statistics typically break down between two types—public and private.

According to the College Board’s annual “Trends in College Pricing ” report, the average cost of attending a four year college as an in-state student at a public university during the 2020-2021 school year was $10,560, as mentioned. As an out-of-state student attending a public four year college, the average rose to $27,020.

The average cost of attending a private four year institution was $37,650. These averages are based on the published price at a college or university. This includes tuition and room and board.

The cost of tuition can be a major factor in determining which school students commit to. According to the 2021 Sallie Mae survey “How America Pays for College 2021,” 60% of parents and students eliminated a college based on cost after receiving their financial aid package.

Historical Average Cost of Tuition

The cost of tuition has increased dramatically over time. For the 1985-86 school year, the average cost of college tuition at a public four year institution was $8,981 for a student receiving in-state tuition. In just 20 years, tuition rose to $15,411 for the 2005-06 school year.

U.S. News reviewed tuition costs at 389 ranked National Universities, those universities included as part of the annual college rankings. According to their data, the average tuition and fees at private National Universities increased by 144% in just 20 years from 2001 to 2021. During that time period, at four year public National Universities tuition for out-of-state students increased by 165%, and for in-state students it rose by 212%.

Average Total Cost of College

A traditional undergraduate college degree takes four years to complete, which means four years of tuition costs. According to EducationData.org, the cost of college has risen, on average, about 6.8% annually since 2001.

This isn’t always the case, so it can be challenging to predict exactly how much a student will pay in tuition costs over the course of their degree. For example, The College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing found that in-state tuition costs at public four-year institutions increased just over 1% from the 2019-2020 to the 2020-2021 school year. For that same time period, tuition increased just over 2% at private nonprofit four-year institutions.

To get a rough estimate of how much college will cost in its entirety, you can take the current tuition rate and multiply it by four. Keep in mind this won’t account for any increase in the cost of tuition.

Average Additional College Expenses

Tuition generally makes up the majority of a student’s college expenses. But there are other fees and costs to factor in including the cost of room and board, books and other supplies. Beyond school specific costs, students might also need to factor in general living expenses.

What Is the Cost of Room and Board?

Some colleges charge “comprehensive fees” which reflect the total for tuition, fees, and room and board.

Other colleges and universities charge room and board separately from tuition and fees. The cost of room and board typically accounts for the cost of housing (i.e., a dorm room or on-campus apartment) and the cost of the meal plan.

The average cost of room and board for the 2020-2021 school year was $11,620 for four-year public institutions (for both in-state and out-of-state students, and $13,120 for four-year nonprofit institutions.

The cost will vary depending on the type of housing accommodations you live in and the type of meal plan you choose. Housing can be another determining factor for students. According to the same 2021 Sallie Mae survey , 83% of college students selected a college in their home state and 41% live at home or with relatives to save on housing costs.

The Cost of Extra Classes

Tuition at some schools may cover the cost of a certain number of credit hours. Depending on how many credit hours you take and the types of classes you enroll in, the number may change. If you exceed the number of credit hours covered by tuition, you may pay an additional fee.

Books and Supplies

On top of those expenses, don’t forget to budget for books and supplies. The average college student attending a four-year college spends over $1,240 on textbooks and supplies over the course of the year.

Transportation

Transportation is another major category of expenses for college students. Will you have a car on campus? If so, plan to pay for gas, insurance, and a parking permit. How often do you plan to go home? Will a trip to visit your family require airfare?

Other Living Expenses

Then there are any additional personal expenses like eating out, laundry, or the cost of a cell phone bill. To get an idea of how much you’ll actually spend every month, you could review your current spending.

College may be the first time you’ve had to learn how to budget. Consider sitting down with your parents, an older sibling, or trusted friend who has already navigated their first year of college to get an idea of the types of expenses you may encounter.

Paying for College

There are, of course, options available to help you finance your education. If you’re planning on going to college for the first time, or returning for further education, consider looking into the following options:

First Thing’s First: The FAFSA®

A common first step for students interested in securing federal financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA®). In order to qualify for federal aid, students must meet some basic eligibility
criteria
, such as demonstrating financial need.

As you get ready to apply, pay attention to deadlines, as they can vary by school and state. After you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll receive an award letter detailing the type of aid you qualify for. This may include scholarships and grants, work-study, and/or federal student loans.

Recommended: How College Financial Aid Works

Planning ahead is one way to set yourself up to successfully pay for college. If you’re not quite ready to fill out the FAFSA yet, you can use the FAFSA4caster ​to get an idea of how much aid you might qualify for.

Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants can be immensely helpful when it comes to paying for college since it’s money that doesn’t need to be repaid. In addition to filing the FAFSA, you could check to see if there are any other scholarship opportunities for which you may qualify. There are also online resources and databases that compile different scholarship opportunities.

The federal work-study program is another form of aid that can help students pay for college. If you are eligible for work-study and receive it in your financial aid award, you may still have to find your own employment at your university. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if your school participates and whether they will place you or if they have a work-study job board.

Student Loans

Student loans offer another avenue for students to finance their college education. Unlike scholarships and grants however, student loans must be repaid. There are two umbrellas when it comes to student loans—federal and private.

Federal Student Loans

Federal loans are also included as a part of a student’s financial aid package and as mentioned, applying for student loans requires filling out the FAFSA. Federal loans for undergraduates can be either subsidized or unsubsidized. With a subsidized loan, borrowers won’t be responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan while they are actively enrolled in school at least half-time. With an unsubsidized loan, borrowers are responsible for paying the accrued interest during all periods.

Whether subsidized or unsubsidized, loan repayment generally doesn’t begin until after graduation (or a student drops below half-time) and the grace period has lapsed.

Most grace periods for federal loans are six months. Interest rates on federal student loans are set by the government (and have been since July 1, 2006) and are fixed for the life of the loan.

Recommended: A Guide to Student Loan Interest Rates for the 2021-2022 School Year

Federal loans aren’t guaranteed to cover your undergraduate or graduate school tuition costs. There are borrowing limits that restrict the amount of federal loans a student can take out each year—for example, a first year undergrad, dependent student is currently allowed to borrow $5,500 in federal loans. In some cases, private student loans may be used to fill in the gaps.

Private Student Loans

Private student loans are offered by lenders, credit unions, or other financial institutions. Terms and conditions of a private student loan are set by the individual lender.

Private lenders will likely review a borrower’s credit history and other financial factors in order to determine what type of loan they may qualify for. If an applicant is applying with a cosigner, private student loan lenders will look at their financial background as well, which might include things like their credit score and current income.

While federal student loans come with fixed interest rates, private student loans can have fixed or variable interest rates. Variable interest rates may start lower than fixed rates, but they rise and fall in accordance to current market rates.

Private student loans don’t always carry the same benefits and protections offered to federal student loans—such as income-driven repayment or deferment options. Some lenders may offer their own benefits. SoFi, for example, has Unemployment Protection, which helps eligible borrowers pause their loan payments if they lose their job through no fault of their own.

The Takeaway

As discussed above, the average cost of college tuition for the 2020-2021 school year was $10,560 for those paying in-state tuition at a four-year public institution. For out-of-state students, the average was $27,020. At a private four year institution it was $37,650.

Paying for college may require a compilation of financing options, including using savings, scholarships, grants, work-study, federal student loans or even private student loans.

Of course, private student loans aren’t going to be the right choice for every student. If they seem like the right idea for you, SoFi’s private student loans might be worth considering.

SoFi private student loans have no fees—that means no late fees or origination fees—and the application process is entirely online, even if you need to add a cosigner.

Learn more about financing your education with SoFi private student loans.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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