medical school funding

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dave
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medical school funding

Post by dave »

am starting medical school next year and need to figure out how to fund it through loans, grants, etc. just starting process so i don't want to reinvent the wheel. any direction, advice, websites, etc. would be appreciated. thanks
xenial
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Post by xenial »

dave wrote:am starting medical school next year and need to figure out how to fund it through loans, grants, etc. just starting process so i don't want to reinvent the wheel. any direction, advice, websites, etc. would be appreciated. thanks
You might want to take a look at this Index to Physician-related Threads from the forum's Reference Library.

Best wishes,
Ken
ResNullius
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Post by ResNullius »

If finance is a real problem, you might consider joining a program with a branch of the military. They would pay your way through, along with a monthly salary, in exchage for 5 years as a military doctor. Not a bad deal at all. I know a couple of docs who did it this way, plus they were able to serve their country.
Gregory
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Post by Gregory »

The financial aid office at your school should be the first stop.

Greg
Pecuniae imperare oportet, non servire. | Fortuna vitrea est; tum cum splendit frangitur. -Syrus
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White Coat Investor
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Post by White Coat Investor »

Congratulations on your acceptance! That's wonderful. There are basically four ways to pay for med school these days:

1) Use your savings, your family's savings, talk your family or friends in to paying your expenses, or get one of the very few scholarships out there.

This is ideal but only a handful of members of a med school class can do this. This allows the young doctor to make career decisions and select a school without much regard to financial cost/compensation.

2) Sign-up for an MD/PhD program. If you want to be an MD/PhD, this a good option. Otherwise, it is a HORRIBLE way to pay for med school. Usually you won't pay tuition and will receive a small stipend, much like a grad student would, but have to finish a PhD prior to going onto the last 2 years of med school and residency. It could delay the start of your career by as much as 5 or 6 years (in addition to the 7-10 you're already delaying it since graduating from college.)

3) Take out loans. If you can limit your loan amounts to the federal subsidized amount, this is really a very economical way to pay for med school. Only when you get into the unsubsidized loans do they really get expensive. Two nice benefits to loans are that up until a certain level of income the interest is tax-deductible and that at some point in the next decade it is likely you will have the opportunity to refinance those loans at a very good rate. Those who graduated in my class consolidated their loans at under 3%. That's like free money when inflation is over 3%/year.

Subsidized Stafford loans charge a fixed 6.8 percent rate starting six months after you leave school. If you don't qualify for a subsidized Stafford Loan, your next option is an unsubsidized Stafford Loan, which charges interest immediately but gives you the option of not paying interest until six months after you leave school. Parents and professional and graduate degree students can borrow from the PLUS program at rates capped at 8.5 percent. (see http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/ ... rowing.jsp)

http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

http://www.staffordloan.com/stafford-lo ... d-loan.php

Bear in mind that only your first $8500/year is subsidized (meaning you don't have to pay interest on it) by the govenrment.

http://www.gradloans.com/medical_school_loans/

4) Accept a military or public health "scholarship." I call them scholarships because that is what they call them, but the truth of the matter is that they're not very competitive. In fact, the Navy can't even give them away these days. They can't find enough medical students to even meet their quota, much less sustain some sort of competition for them. Do not sign up for a military commitment UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE IN THE MILITARY. It is a poor way to pay for medical school UNLESS IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU TO BE IN THE MILITARY THAN TO BE A DOCTOR. It can create severe difficulties for you and delays in your residency training. In the case of some, like me, you don't even come out ahead with them paying for med school and giving you a stipend because the pay when you do go on active duty is so low. It is a noble thing to serve your country in the military, but the personal +/- financial cost can be very high. Check out this site for more info (and some horror stories) from former and current military med students, residents, and attending physicians:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=72

Good luck with your decision and congratulations on your acceptance.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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White Coat Investor
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Post by White Coat Investor »

ResNullius wrote:If finance is a real problem, you might consider joining a program with a branch of the military. They would pay your way through, along with a monthly salary, in exchage for 5 years as a military doctor. Not a bad deal at all. I know a couple of docs who did it this way, plus they were able to serve their country.
The minimum deal currently is for an 8 year commitment. If they pay for 4 years of med school, you owe 4 years active duty plus 4 years independent ready reserve PLUS any additional time you spend in residency or pick up as a result of residency or fellowship training. From time of commissioning, the military has influence on your life for ~15 years for the average med student who separates at the earliest possible time.

4 years of med school
3 years of residency
4 years of active duty commitment
4 years of individual ready reserve commitment
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
am
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Post by am »

Dave,

Dont worry about funding. Just take the loans out and I promise you that if things do not change dramatically with physician reimbursement and you choose a well paying specialty (not primary care or some IM subspecialties) you can pay off your loans without question in < 3 yrs.
nwhitehe
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Post by nwhitehe »

I agree with EmergDoc. Don't let the military pay for medical training in return for a military commitment UNLESS you actually really want to serve. My dad did this back in the day and feels like he got the short end of the stick in many ways. I think his biggest complaint is that you can't develop your career in the same way in the military. Basically you get ahead in terms of not having debt but behind in your career path earning potential. If you stick around long enough to get a good pension from the military it ends up being financially the right choice, otherwise not. That still doesn't count the personal sacrifice of serving.
nyblitz
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Post by nyblitz »

Congrats on your acceptance. Get ready for a very exciting and tiring next few years.
Emergdoc again gives excellent advice. A few additional thoughts here, and they may or may not apply to you:

It may be helpful to contact the financial aid office and see if there are employment opportunities during the first 2 years were you can study as well (years 3 and 4 are way too busy). I worked at the medical student only computer lab as a help desk operator. I mostly studied and picked up easy $ to place into a Roth IRA. However, if you cannot study and are constantly interrupted, it's not worth it.

Many (I don't) have musical talent and can play at weddings, etc. on weekends.

Most importantly - live prudently and budget like everyone else.

If possible - buy used books - they are very expensive and in most fields, the material doesn't change significantly (a few exceptions).

Study very hard for Step 1.

While going through classes and rotations, spend a significant time on which aspect of medicine you want to go towards. Choosing the wrong specialty (different for each person) is very costly.
Good luck!
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mudfud
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Post by mudfud »

EmergDoc wrote: 2) Sign-up for an MD/PhD program. If you want to be an MD/PhD, this a good option. Otherwise, it is a HORRIBLE way to pay for med school.
Completely agree with this. Unfortunately some students join MD/PhD programs for the perceived financial benefit. Many of these students either haven't done a financial analysis at all, or just a superficial analysis (not considering the time value of money and other factors). Extreme debt aversion makes them take decisions they regret later.

If you absolutely love science, then it's a great program with tremendous synergies. But from a financial angle, most often you'll come out behind.

I also agree with everything else that Emergdoc has written. Great post!

Mud
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