Whether you are an actual or aspiring medical student, you would want to know available options for you to tackle the financial burdens. Medical school is expensive, and that’s why many medical school students graduate with hundreds of thousands in student loan debt.
What if you learned that you can still graduate from medical school debt-free? While the whole idea of graduating debt-free may seem difficult, it’s possible. Several medical students are already enjoying the privilege of receiving free medical education through medical scholarships. Read on to find out everything you should know about medical school scholarships, including what makes you eligible for them. We’ll start with the most important question:
Does Medical School Offer Scholarships?
Before choosing a medical career, you must understand that it requires a serious financial commitment. Many families are already so tired from paying undergraduate tuition bills that asking them to pay more for graduate and doctorate level studies would seem like pushing them into a suicide mission. With an average medical graduate accumulating over $150,000 in student debts, there’s no better time to be interested in a medical school scholarship than from the first day you start.
Thankfully, there are several medical student grants and scholarships that you can leverage to reduce your medical school education cost. Medical school assistance is broadly categorized in the same manner as the financial aid that carried you through your undergraduate studies, so it shouldn’t cause you so much confusion. Almost every stakeholder, from individual colleges to government agencies and even private entities, provide funding to help cash-strapped medical college students through school. Medical students are generally expected to tap into the available forms of scholarships in order to bridge the gap between their resources and medical tuition costs.
Fortunately, there are several types of these scholarships available to help support your underfunded medical degree pursuits. One of the best ways to earn scholarships is to maintain good grades. Students generally open doors for merit-based scholarships when they show consistency in their academic results over time.
How Do You Get a Scholarship for Medical School?
With tons of medical school scholarships available, you are probably wondering how you can get one of the scholarships. The truth is that you must work for each scholarship and the amount of work required for each scholarship typically depends on the type of scholarship you apply for. However, you’ll have to maintain an excellent academic record to get any of the scholarships for medical school. If you are wondering how to get a scholarship to study medicine, here are some common ways to get scholarships.
Scholarship by Merit
This is perhaps the most popular way to get a medical school scholarship. Medical schools that offer scholarships are mostly searching for academically exceptional students. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that a significant percentage of the scholarships are awarded based on merit. Merit in this context means maintaining rigorous academic standards through school. Students would usually need to maintain an outstanding GPA (grade point average) throughout their high school to be considered merit-based scholarships. You’ll also need to score very high on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to qualify for this award. Bear in mind that the criteria for awarding this scholarship may differ from school to school. So you are encouraged to consult with your school’s adviser to know what works in your school.
Scholarships for Armed Forces Personnel
Different countries have different scholarship programs for armed forces medical professionals. For instance, military personnel in the United States get military benefits like the Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP). The program puts the obligation of paying the medical school fees of armed forces medical trainees in the military. In addition to getting full exemption from paying tuition fees and other fees, students that fall into this category also receive small remunerations every month to offset most of their living expenses. In return, students are expected to serve a year-for-year match in terms of reserve duty. You can attend any medical school you want as a beneficiary, but an accredited medical school must have accepted you before requesting HPSP participation.
Bear in mind being accepted into medical school means that you’ll be commissioned as an inactive reservist. However, you’ll need to participate in active duty for at least forty-five days each year throughout medical school.
Medical Association Scholarships
Medical associations around the world recognize the extraordinary financial burden that medical students typically have to battle with. In direct response to three financial shortcomings that most aspiring medical professionals face, medical associations set up foundations that issue several scholarships each year. To apply for such scholarships, you would need to consult the program administrators and financial aid representatives from your institution to know their requirements. Bear in mind that application forms are typically subjected to some campus-based rules.
To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be pursuing medical degrees in primary care disciplines. Applicants must also sign an undertaking to practice medicine in areas that exhibit the greatest levels of needs upon graduation or satisfactory of residency training.
Is It Possible to Get a Full Scholarship in Medical School?
Receiving a medical school acceptance is one of the biggest dreams of students. Of course, it takes work and more work to get to the point of being accepted into a medical school. However, the joy of medical school acceptance is often cut short by the realization of how expensive medical school tuition can be. As explained earlier, financing medical school is not the easiest thing to do.
The expensive nature of medical school calls for one crucial question: ” can you get a full scholarship in medical school?” The short answer to this question is YES, absolutely!
Indeed, winning a full-ride scholarship for medical schools is not full-time, but it is possible. If you want to study medicine but don’t have enough money to take care of the financial obligations, don’t worry! There are several programs designed to help you study medicine for free. Most of these programs are funded by the government, while the army service and medical institutions fund others.
Even if you do not qualify for full scholarships for medical school, you can still qualify for some sort of financial aids. These financial aids will lower your initial tuition sticker shock to a reasonable extent. However, you should target honors scholarships that pay your entire tuition.
What Medical Schools Give Scholarships?
Most public medical schools around the world give scholarships. However, since we are focusing on the American system, we will review the top 5 public medical schools in the United States that offer the most financial aid, emphasizing scholarships.
University of Central Florida, College of Medicine
The University of Central Florida holds its record as the first medical school in the United States to offer full four-year scholarships to an entire class. This trend has led to an incredibly low rate of indebtedness. 100% of students attending this college receive financial aids of some form (mostly loans and scholarships).
University of California, Davis, School of Medicine
This school offers financial aids in loans and scholarships to 95% of its students. This leaves students at an average indebtedness of $146,756.
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
One significant reason why many students want to attend medical school at UCLA is the scholarship they offer. At least 1/3 of all incoming students are eligible for a merit scholarship. Merit scholarship typically covers full tuition, living expenses, and additional provision of stipends. On the other hand, 95% of its students receive general financial aid.
Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota
90% of students are eligible to receive scholarships.
98% of students would receive general financial aids.
83% of students are eligible to receive loans, putting its average indebtedness at $142,043.
What are the Requirements to Get a Scholarship in Medical School?
Having talked so much about medical school scholarships and how they work, you are probably convinced you should go for it. However, you’ll need to know that there are requirements beyond being an actual or potential medical student. The different scholarships have their unique requirements, and you’ll need to understand what each entails before applying for them. Here, let’s review the requirements of some of the common medical school scholarships in the United States.
Academic Merit Scholarship
Arguably the most popular medical school scholarship in the United States. This scholarship typically covers each semester’s worth of tuition and is awarded to students with a solid overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Most schools award this scholarship automatically to qualified incoming students.
Students must have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.30*. Students with a minimum MCAT score of 500 are also eligible for the scholarship. Students must also hold an offer of admission to the said medical school.
Most schools allow you to choose only one scholarship, even if you qualify for more than one. Continued eligibility for each scholarship will require satisfactory academic progress in subsequent programs after admission and enrollment.
Dean’s Academic Scholarship
Under this scholarship, two semesters’ worth of tuition is awarded to students with a high MCAT score or undergraduate GPA.
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must attain a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.50*. Students with MCAT scores above the 505 benchmark can also apply for the scholarship. However, all applicants must hold an admission offer in the said medical college.
Trustees Academic Excellence Scholarship
Students that qualify for this scholarship are typically awarded three semesters’ worth of tuition. This scholarship is also awarded to students who have shown strong academic prowess, and the amount varies from school to school.
To qualify for this scholarship, students must possess a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.70*. Students whose MCAT score surpasses the 510 benchmarks can also apply for the scholarship. As usual, you’ll need to hold an admission offer to an institution to be eligible to apply for this scholarship there.
Community Outreach Award
This scholarship is typically awarded to medical students with exceptional records in their dedication to charities, community services, and hospital assistance. Different schools have different criteria for awarding this scholarship, but students would still need to maintain satisfactory academic progress to be continually eligible for it. Check with your school to determine your eligibility for this award.
This type of scholarship is reserved for qualified international students (That is, students from another country outside the United States).
To be eligible for this award, students must prove their citizenship/permanent residency of another country outside the United States. Such students need to show satisfactory academic progress to continually be eligible for the scholarship. Other additional requirements are determined by each school’s scholarship board.
Wrapping Things Up: Are There Scholarships for Medical School?
There’s no denying the fact: medical school is expensive, and unfortunately for medical students, the cost of obtaining a medical degree has continued to increase. Whether you are attending a private, public, or out-of-state medical school, the truth remains that it’s very expensive and would often require that you take loans to support your education. Of course, loans come with their own disadvantages and can take a lifetime to pay up.
Fortunately, medical students can opt for scholarships as alternative medical school financial aid to support their education. Throughout this article, we’ve reviewed important information that you can leverage to apply for medical students’ grants and scholarships. Remember that the goal is to walk through medical school without letting the financial burden affect your academic performance.