7 Ways to Keep From Crushing Yourself With Medical School Debt

The decision to go to medical school and become a doctor is a huge decision that is full of self- sacrifice. It involves a willingness to have a connection to people and their well-being, as well as the dedication to learn and grow as an individual. Unfortunately, getting a degree to become a doctor isn’t free — not even close. 

In reality, paying for a medical school education can be a staggering cost. But becoming informed about the schools, loan programs and other tips to secure your education can help.

Here are some ways to make sure that you don’t graduate from medical school with a load of crushing, anxiety-causing debt. 

1. Consider Attending an Accredited Caribbean Medical School

Saint James School of Medicine has the cheapest tuition of all accredited medical schools. According to the professionals at Saint James School of Medicine, “A medical career should be attainable for everyone with the commitment and ability to succeed.” The school keeps tuition costs down to almost a fourth of what U.S. medical schools charge — and the costs are even cheaper than some non-accredited schools. SJSM works not only to keep tuition low, but also to keep fees and books affordable. 

2. Start Out on the Right Foot

The MCAT costs more than $300 in registration fees. Plus, application fees to medical schools can run almost $400 for the first school — and close to $50 for each additional school. Then, there are travel expenses to interviews. All of these costs can add up quickly and leave you already stressed about money before you even set foot in a classroom. The good news is there are assistance programs out there that can cover the cost of the MCAT, as well as application fee costs.

3. Focus Your Attention on a Few Schools

 If you do your homework and narrow down your school or schools of choice before applying and interviewing, you can save a significant amount of money. Applying to a smaller number of schools — and focusing your money, time and efforts on those few schools — not only increases your chance to get in but also helps keep your application and travel expenses low.

4. Look into Loan Forgiveness Programs

There are many programs out there that offer loan forgiveness options. Joining the military is one example of this. But there are also privately-run health clinics, hospitals and programs that forgive some if not all of your medical school debt in exchange for your employment with them after graduation. There are also some public institutions focused on research and disease prevention, like the NIH, which offer similar programs. Do your research and consider your options.

5. Use the Information of the AAMC Programs

The AAMC, or Association of American Medical Colleges, has several online resources that can help you navigate your medical school journey. It provides information about affording medical school, as well as how to repay student loans. You can even information on how to handle loans during residency. They also have a program FIRST — Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools — that provides online articles, webinars and videos on all of these topics.

6. Consider an Income-Based Repayment

There are several programs that allow you to pay a certain percentage of your income back toward your debt. This means that you can start paying you debt back much sooner, in much smaller payments. The length of these programs varies, but your debt is usually forgiven after 20 years. These programs are beneficial in that they help you start making a dent in what you owe sooner than other programs, allowing you to be an active participant in your financial well-being very early on.

7. Ask Questions and Seek Information

Students that consult with a financial aid counselor, and most importantly, make a financial plan are the ones who are most likely to pay off their debts and have a much more comfortable lifestyle. Those who put it off and just plan on paying on their loans when they can often miss out on important opportunities that could have saved them time and money — leading to financial freedom. After training, physician salaries can provide enough to begin making the hefty loan payments, but be careful on depending on this as your only path to payback. There can be a lot you can do to make paying back your loans easier and less expensive — even before you start classes — that can help you in the long run.

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More