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So I have a bachelor's degree and am planning on applying to medical school this year (in the US). I've previously used federal student aid to cover the cost of my undergraduate degree.

My question is, what types of sources of funding are available to cover the cost of medical school? From what I'm reading, it seems like you can no longer get federal student aid after you have already attained a degree.

Note: I am not asking ("shopping") for specific sources, I am just wondering what types of sources (e.g., loans, stipends, savings) medical students in the US typically use to fund their studies.

  • Have you checked with them? You may be reading it wrong, or right... and they may also know who you could contact... – Solar Mike Dec 23 '18 at 0:32
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    I don't think this should have been closed. It's a question about how to finance postgraduate education (of a particular kind), and we have lots of questions and answers about teaching assistantships, research assistantships, etc. Of course each institution may make specific offers, but someone could certainly write an answer about what sorts of funding sources are generally available for medical students in the US. – Nate Eldredge Dec 23 '18 at 5:27
  • Note that "FAFSA" refers to a single form which is used to apply for need-based financial aid through many different programs (Pell grants, work-study, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, etc, etc), each having their own criteria. Some may be available for postgraduate studies and others may not. So conflating them all as "FAFSA aid" is likely to lead to confusion. – Nate Eldredge Dec 23 '18 at 5:31
  • I made some edits which I hope will make the question more clear to readers. Please feel free to edit further if you don't agree with the revised wording. – Nate Eldredge Dec 23 '18 at 5:40
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    I don't feel like this is sufficient for an answer but...Most medical students in the US pay for medical school from their own funds (including loans). Unlike other countries, the US does not subsidize medical education. The assumption is that upon completion of a degree and obtaining a professional position you will be compensated sufficiently to pay off any loans etc necessary to get there. I think there is a lot of room to debate that structure but SE is not a great format for debate. – Bryan Krause Jan 5 at 7:57
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By far, for professional medical education in the US, it is most common to pay for education with loans (or personal funds, if available). Even low-cost schools are expensive relative to undergraduate education. The median educational debt for graduating students is >$190k in the USA. Debts are worse if you consider earning potential in other fields.

It is simply uncommon for medical study in the US to be paid for government or other funds - these funds are limited to programs for underprivileged minorities and for those pursuing joint degrees in the sciences (and even then, loans predominate).

Being a medical doctor in the USA is lucrative, but becoming one entails major risk. Further discussion is probably beyond this stack but these discussions are constant in academic journals.

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Not in medicine, but since no one else is answering, and I do know a bit about paying for grad school....

My question is, what types of sources of funding are available to cover the cost of medical school?

There is a good discussion of this here. In brief, you pay with:

  1. Your own money (that you already have)
  2. Scholarships and grants (which don't need paid back)
  3. Loans

There are also service programs (e.g., in the military), in which they subsidize your education in exchange for a commitment to take a particular job for a few years after you're a doctor.

From what I'm reading, it seems like you can no longer get federal student aid after you have already attained a degree.

This is incorrect; federal student aid and federally-guaranteed student loans are available for both graduate and undergraduate students. The Stafford, Perkins, and Grad PLUS are specifically designed for this situation, and can cover up to the full cost of attendance.

In practice, my (anecdotal) understanding is that loans are the most common source of funding, and most doctors graduate with six figures of debt.

Note, the situation may be different for international students, who would not be eligible for federal student aid, including federally guaranteed loans.

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    By far, for professional medical education in the US, (1) and (3) are most common (really, probably (3)). (2) is incredibly rare, limited to programs for underprivileged minorities and for those pursuing joint degrees in the sciences (and even then, 1 and 3 predominate). – Bryan Krause Jan 5 at 7:59

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