Financing Professional School Education


The cost of attending professional school is more than just tuition. Financing your professional education will begin with the fees for standardized tests and applications as well as expenses incurred for travel to interviews and deposits. In addition to tuition, the total costs of attendance include school fees, textbooks and equipment, health insurance, housing, food, relocation costs, and miscellaneous living expenses.  For example, for the 2014-2015 academic year, the median costs of attendance (tuition, fees, estimated living expenses etc) were $56,779 at public allopathic medical schools and $76,376 at private allopathic medical schools.
(From the AAMC 2014 October Debt Fact Card at AAMC FIRST/ )

The majority of students enrolled in health professional schools will receive financial aid, and most of that aid will be comprised of need-based assistance in the form of loans. There is very little merit-based financial assistance for medical school.

The resources below have been provided by professional school associations and “service-obligation” scholarship programs to assist prehealth students in researching and understanding the complexities of financial aid. Much of the general loan information described in the medical and dental school publications is applicable to financing other health professional schools. Note also that many of the service obligation programs provide funding for several health professions in addition to medicine and dentistry.

Note for International Students:

Educational loans from the U. S. government are only available to U. S. citizens and permanent residents. Some private alternative loans are available to international students if they have a U. S. citizen as a cosigner. There are extremely limited financial resources for international students to attend medical, dental, veterinary or other health professional schools in the United States.

Planning for financing professional school: What can you do now?

1. Get your financial records in order. Know the terms and have the paperwork for all undergraduate, (and/or graduate and postbac) loans. You need to know the details about which banks hold your loans, amounts of loans, interest rates etc. Inventory your loans to determine the total you owe now because there are aggregate limits to the amounts of Federal loan debt that a person can have at one time.

2. Pay off debts such as credit cards, car loans, etc. Professional school financial aid packages do not budget money for these expenses . Undergraduate and other graduate student loan payments can be deferred during medical/dental/veterinary school and residency.

3. Check credit reports annually to avoid identity theft or other problems.

4. You should try to establish your credit history now. If you do not have a credit card, get one and use it sparingly and responsibly. This serves as a test for responsibility and credit worthiness later.

5. Read over financial aid information from the professional societies (see below) to become informed about loan programs and to learn their terminology.

6. Talk to your parents about their level of cooperation.  Will they give you their asset and financial information to enable you to fill out  some need based financial aid forms that require parental information? (Note that not all need based aid applications require parental information.)  Will your parents be able to provide this information well in advance of deadlines? Will they contribute toward any of your post-college educational expenses?

Financing Medical School

Allopathic Medical Schools
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has a comprehensive web site about financial aid planning for premedical students, medical students, and medical residents. We encourage you to review the AAMC web sites as you plan for your medical school education expenses.

AAMC resource directory: FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools) for Medical Education

AAMC Financial Aid Toolkit for medical school applicants, students, and residents

The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), published onilne annually by the AAMC, includes information about the tuition, fees, and estimated living expenses for all U. S. allopathic medical schools.  The MSAR also includes detailed information about medical school programs and admission criteria.

Osteopathic Medical Schools
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) provides a web site with information about financial planning for osteopathic medical school students.

The Osteopathic Medical College Information Booklet, published annually by the AACOM, provides an overview of the costs of attending each osteopathic medical college as well as detailed information about admissions criteria. The Osteopathic Medical College Information Booklet can be downloaded from the AACOM web site.

Financing Dental School

The American Dental Association (ADA) web site has information about financial planning and management for dental students and for dentists at all stages of their careers. The ADA Financial Planning Resource Site for Dental Students has some informative booklets about financial planning for dental students and dental student loan repayment programs.

The ADEA has partnered with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to provide financial planning resources for dental students.  You can access those resources from the AAMC web site AAMC/ADEA Dental Loan Organizer and Calculator (DLOC).

The ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools published annually by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) provides information about the costs of attending U. S. and Canadian dental schools as well as detailed information about the admissions criteria at each dental school. Many sections of the ADEA Official Guide to Dental School are freely available as downloadable pdf chapters at the ADEA web site. The chapter on “Financing a dental education” is essential reading as you plan to apply to dental school.

You can also purchase the Official Guide from the ADEA web site.

Copies of the Official Guide to Dental Schools are available in the Resources Room of the Office of Health Professions Advising and on the Prehealth Reserve Shelf in Collier Library.

Financing Veterinary School

The Association of Colleges of Veterinary Medicine (AACVM) provides information about service-obligation loans, Federal student loans, and scholarship for veterinary school.  Visit the AACVM page on options for financing veterinary education.

Government-Sponsored Service Obligation Programs For the Health Professions

National Health Services Corps
A program supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the mission of the NHSC is to provide primary health care to medically underserved communities throughout the United States. Their scholarships and loan repayment programs can be used to support education in medicine and dentistry as well as education in other allied health professions.

United States Air Force Health Care Education
The U.S. Air Force provides educational benefits for several health professions.
The local recruiter for the U.S. Air Force is

SSGT Ashley Warden
Email:  ashley.warden.2@us.as.mil
Telephone: 610-930-6079

United States Army Health Care Corps
The U.S. Army Health Care Corps is comprised of six corps: Dental Corps, Medical Corps, Medical Service Corps, Medical Specialist Corps, Nurse Corps, and Veterinary Corps. Review the web page for each specific corps to learn about its educational benefits and Health Professions Scholarship Programs.

The local recruiters for the U.S. Army are:
CPT Jason Rogers
Email:  jason.a.rogers.mil@mail.mil
Office: 856-414-4937

SGT Seth. E. Lenker
Email: seth.e.lenker.mil@mail.mil
Cell:  877-787-2172

United States Navy Health Care Careers
The U.S. Navy provides educational benefits for several health professions. The local recruiter is:
HM1 Monje Noel
Email: monje.m.noel@navy.mil 
Office:  215-697-7100

United States Department of Agriculture
The USDA sponsors the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) that will pay up to $25,000 each towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a NIFA designated veterinarian shortage situation for a period of three years.

State-sponsored veterinary loan repayment programs
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has an online directory of states that have loan repayment programs for veterinarians.

Other Scholarship Programs and Resources

Many states offer loan repayment programs for physicians, and there are loan repayment programs for physicians choosing public service positions. The Financial Aid Fact Sheets from the AAMC provide more information about some of the following programs.

Indian Health Service (IHS)
The Indian Health Service is dedicated to providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive health services to American Indian and Alaskan Native peoples. The IHS sponsors a Health Professions Scholarship Program for American Indian and Alaskan Native students who are enrolled in health professional schools.

National Institutes of Health
The NIH sponsors several loan repayment programs for physicians interested in careers in research.

National Medical Fellowships
NMF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase the number of minority physicians. NMF offers financial assistance and promotes other programs for minority medical students.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Scholarship and loan programs for financially needy/disadvantaged students. Some of these scholarships and loans can be used for dental school, veterinary school, and other graduate degree programs in health care fields.

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