Medical School LoanMay 28, 2020
A medical school loan is something most students will need when scholarships and grants are not enough to cover your medical school costs. The starting place for your loan search should be with the government before resorting to private lenders.
Typically, the government will offer you much more favorable terms and they are a lot easier to work with when it comes to repayment.
If you need a loan for medical school, start with the Federal Stafford loan. There are two types of Stafford loans:
- Subsidized Graduate Stafford Loans: are awarded based on your financial need, and you won't be charged interest before repayment begins or when you are in deferment. This loan gets its name because the federal government "subsidizes" the interest during repayment and deferment.
- Unsubsidized Graduate Stafford Loans: are not awarded based on your financial need. As an eligible student you can take out an unsubsidized Stafford loan but you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until you pay it off in full.
With any medical school loan, whether private or from the government you have an obligation to repay the loan in full.
This may sound scary, but student loans do not go away. Even if you file for bankruptcy you still must pay back your student loans. So be very careful when borrowing money for medical school.
How Much To Borrow
Your financial aid office is not going to allow you to borrow however much you want, there are restrictions on the amount of money loaned to you.
The amount you can borrow cannot exceed your total cost of attendance and if you have other sources of financial aid this will affect your borrowing limit too.
When Does Your Money Arrive
Federal guidelines mandate that your Stafford loan money cannot be disbursed to students until the first day of classes. There is a hierarchy of who gets the loan money too.
Your loan money goes directly to your school where your tuition and other academic expenses are paid first. Then if you have additional borrowed money left over it will be distributed to you, most likely to cover your living expenses and to buy your books for classes.
It takes time to process your loan money and for it to clear your bank account, so you should expect to have enough money to cover your first month of school.
You'll need to have money saved to obtain your housing, living needs, food, and books until all your funds are in your hand.
How To Get a Stafford Loan
If you think a Stafford loan is what you need to continue your medical school education, here is how you go about applying for this loan.
You will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA, yes that financial aid application which got you money for undergrad still applies for graduate and professional school.
The FAFSA is processed relatively quickly these days and you'll find out what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for your education will be.
Next you will complete the Master Promissory Note, essentially the promissory note for your loan. From here it should be "smooth sailing" but if you run into any trouble contact your school's financial aid office and they can advise you on the specifics of your medical school loan.
Private Medical School Loans
I think you will get a better deal by sticking with the federal government when it comes to financing medical school but there are private lenders as well. Just be sure to do all of your loan research to find the right student loan.
Understanding the terms of your loan, especially the interest rate and repayment options are crucial to your financial health.
I'm not making an endorsement of these lenders but I am familiar with:
- Chase Health Stafford Loan
- CitiAssist Health Professions Loans.
You can do an internet search of these two major banking institutions to determine if their lending products will be of value to you when paying for medical school.
I cannot overstate this enough, only borrow what is absolutely necessary. Living the high brow lifestyle as a student can and will have consequences in the future when medical school loan repayment begins.