Transitioning to Medical School: Financial Tips

November 28, 2022

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The FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) program can help you make a smooth, successful, and informed transition to medical school. This is probably one of the biggest financial and personal investments of your life. Utilize the resources available to make wise and knowledgeable decisions about your future.

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Starting Off on the Right Foot

While you are attending medical school, one of the most important offices in your life will be your financial aid office. Financial aid may, at times, seem complicated, even if you had student loans as an undergraduate; however, the financial aid office staff is available to assist you when you have questions or concerns.

The amount you borrow in medical school may be a larger amount than what you borrowed as an undergraduate student, or even as a graduate student; however, don’t let loans intimidate you. Be mindful of the amount of money you borrow to cover your education expenses so that repayment will not be a surprise. 

Remember, you don't have to borrow the entire amount you are offered. Instead, consider accepting and borrowing only what you need. If you borrow more than necessary, check with your financial aid office to see if you can return a portion of your loan. Remember, once a loan is disbursed, you pay an origination fee and interest starts accruing on the loan, so you will pay back more than just the amount you borrowed.  Keep in mind, the less you borrow during medical school, the less you will have to pay back when you graduate from medical school.

Money Management Tools and Resources

The FIRST program has valuable and practical tools to help with financial aid and money management. Become familiar with the FIRST website, our monthly webinars, and the Financial Wellness program

Use the MedLoans® Organizer and Calculator (MLOC). It's a tool designed specifically for medical students to keep track of their loans and manage their loan repayment options.

Additionally, you may want to review our FIRST Fact SheetsThese are informational articles that explain topics that are sometimes considered complicated or confusing. Fact sheets that may be of interest to transitioning medical students include:

Talk to Your Advisors and Friends

You are not alone. Many of your classmates are in the same financial situation as you. Support each other by using, sharing and discussing the FIRST resources and tools available to help with understanding financial aid, money management, and loan repayment. 

If Possible, Start at Zero

One of the best things you can do prior to beginning medical school is pay down any debt you have on credit cards and/or undergraduate loans. If you can pay this debt off before starting medical school, that’s even better! The less debt you have when you start medical school, the less you will have to repay when you enter residency or practice. 

Debt Management Tip: If you can't pay off all your debt, try to pay down the debt with the highest interest rates first.

Review the Education Debt Manager.  This is our most comprehensive financial guide. It can help you navigate the complexities of financing medical school through responsible borrowing and wise money management.

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AAMC Financial Wellness

Access free financial calculators, articles, and videos to help you create a budget, track your spending, create financial goals, and enhance your financial knowledge about credit, financial planning, money management, and more!

Visit AAMC Financial Wellness