Every year,medical students graduate with hundreds of thousands in debt. The median debt burden was $190,000 last year on US medical school graduates.
The idea of graduating medical school debt-free may seem impossible, but few medical students have the privilege of receiving a free medical education. Either it is because they attend a tuition free college, or they receive a hefty sum of money in scholarship.
For example, F.Edward Hébert School of Medicine is a university which does not charge any tuition free. Moreover, its students are commissioned officers in the US Public Health Service, US Air Force, US Army, or US Navy, and they also earn an annual salary. As per the school’s website, its students earn more than $60,000 per year during their entire duration of the course. Additionally, they commit to at least seven years of active-duty service after graduation.
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Medical schools with zero tuition fees are rare. But there are options other than Hébert School. For example, Case Western Reserve University’s highly picky Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine provides specialization physician scientists, while providing full tuition fee waiver to every student.
But tuition free schools are not the only option to attend medical colleges for free. Here are three ways in which students can get best scholarships.
- Search for local scholarship opportunities first.
Experts have found out that students often forget to apply for small, local scholarships, and that is a big mistake. These scholarships are less competitive than national scholarships. If you combine multiple small scholarships, then it can add up to a big amount.
- Make federally funded scholarship your choice.
The US federal government offers a full ride scholarship to students who promise to become primary care doctors. Those who promise to commit to working as an active-duty military physician or who would contribute in the areas where country’s health care falls short.
According to the experts, these are exceptional opportunities for students who are certain about what kind of a doctor they want to become and are not meant for those who are uncertain about their career path.
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Another scholarship is from National Health Service Corps Program, which is designed for medical students who are passionate about providing care to underprivileged communities with shortage of doctors.
A condition for this scholarship is to work as a primary care doctor in undeserved region for every year of scholarship funding that is granted, and a minimum of two years of service is a must.
Also, the students should consider if a military career is appropriate for them. If they are ready for it then they should apply for military-sponsored Health Profession Scholarship Program.
- Go to a medical school with merit scholarship.
There are a few medical schools that offer full merit scholarship such as Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles.
These merit scholarships are the rare opportunities and only the most promising medical school applicants are able to qualify.