Loan Forgiveness, Repayment Assistance Programs, and Scholarships

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It’s never too early to start thinking about your financial planning strategy for medical school. Learn about four programs that can help you reduce your indebtedness after medical school.

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Group of diverse college students sitting on campus

Attending medical school is expensive and most students will take out loans to cover their medical school expenses. Eventually, these loans must be repaid, and navigating the repayment process can be challenging. Fortunately, loan forgiveness, scholarships, and loan repayment assistance programs are available to help you repay your loans.

Here are four financial assistance programs to look into when applying to medical school:

Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs
The IHS offers a federal loan repayment program to help students offset the cost of medical school in return for a service commitment. Repayment assistance is provided for a two-year commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indians and Alaska Native communities. Physicians who are currently licensed or applying for a license, and have completed a medical residency or fellowship training program that makes them eligible for board certification, are eligible to apply.

National Health Service Core (NHSC): Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs
The NHSC offers four different programs to assist physicians and soon-to-be physicians with the cost and debt they collect from pursuing a medical career. Recipients of loan repayment or scholarships are required to perform a specific number of service hours in a health professional shortage area in return for financial assistance from the NHSC. Candidates must show dedication to primary care work in underserved areas and be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national to be eligible for the programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
The PSLF is a federal loan program that offers loan forgiveness for borrowers who meet mandatory eligibility requirements. To qualify for loan forgiveness, borrowers must have eligible federal Direct Loans, make 120 required payments while enrolled in an eligible repayment plan, and work full-time for an eligible qualifying employer.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs
The Department of Veteran Affairs provides repayment assistance and scholarship opportunities in return for a service commitment. Recipients of VA repayment assistance or scholarships must provide a service commitment at a VA facility for a specific period of time.

For additional information and to learn about more opportunities, check out this fact sheet compiled by the AAMC's Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools program.

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