Top 10 Questions Pre-Meds Should Ask Medical School Financial Aid Officers

The cost of attending medical school is high and most medical students will need to borrow some federal student loans to cover their medical education. However, paying for medical school is possible. We've developed a list of 10 questions to get the conversation started about financial aid and what it looks like for you.

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It’s no secret that the cost to attend medical school is high. In the most recent edition of the Medical Student Education: Debt, Costs, and Loan Repayment Fact Card, which is published every October, the data indicated that 76% of all medical students graduating in 2016 reported leaving medical school with student loan debt. The fact is most students will need to borrow at least some federal student loans to cover the cost of their medical education, so it’s good to start thinking about how to pay for medical school early in the process.

To begin thinking about this, we’ve developed a list of 10 questions to get the conversation about financial aid started:
 

  1. How much does a medical education cost at your school? 
  2. What was the average amount of debt for the most recent graduating class?
  3. Is a supplemental financial aid application required at this school?
  4. Do you require parental information to determine a financial aid award package? 
  5. What scholarships and grants are available and when can I apply for them?
  6. If I get a scholarship for one year, will it continue to be offered in subsequent years?
  7. Does your school offer institutional loans? If you do, what are the terms and conditions of the loan and how much of my yearly cost will they cover? Are they awarded each year?
  8. How can I cut down on my yearly expenses, costs, and borrowing?
  9. Do students who are awarded the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program qualify for any additional financial aid benefits at your school?
  10. Can medical students work part-time while attending your school?
     

To find these answers, visit the school’s financial aid web pages; many of the answers to these questions can be found there. You can also find some of these answers in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), in the Tuition, Aid & Debt section. You can also speak directly with a financial aid officer by making an appointment during a campus visit or contacting the financial aid office via email.

It’s important to always remember that paying for medical school is possible. By obtaining the answers to these questions, you’ll better understand the financial aid application process, learn about the types of aid available at each school, and equip yourself with some tips to help minimize your student loan debt.

In addition to talking with the financial aid professionals at medical schools, you are also encouraged to utilize the free resources and tools available from the AAMC’s FIRST program.
 

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