Medical School Loan Forgiveness Programs, Repayments, and Scholarships

Medical school is not cheap. In fact, it is expensive. And it would be wise to turn to medical school loan forgiveness programs and scholarships to help fund the bill on special occasions. But, you’ll see why these programs and scholarships may not always be ideal.

U.S. Government Can Help

The government does set aside a bit of money to help medical students pay down the loan. But this help is not free. It requires time commitment from you part. This list of medical school loan forgiveness programs, repayments, and scholarships is a good idea of what is available to you through the federal government and state.

I took a look at some of the offers and they average to about $20,000 a year towards the repayment of your loans. I’ve read that the amount per year awarded has not increased for 10 years now (although medical school tuition cost has been rising every year). Most of the programs are geared towards rural and underserved areas. If you have a desire to go into primary care and practice in the rural area, these programs may interest you.

My Thoughts About Medical School Loan Forgiveness Programs and Scholarships

Before I have entered into medical school, I contemplated on whether or not I wanted to apply to a government scholarship program. At one point, I was considering National Health Service Corps (NHSC) or the military.

National Health Service Corps

Based upon my research, I felt that they were not for me. My main gripe against NHSC is the numerous negative reviews against it. I guess it is like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the place you go to get your driver license. Since it is the government, it cannot go out of business, and it can treat the doctor and patients like crap. In addition, if I join the NHSC, I would be locked into primary care. If I fall in-love with a different medical field in the future, I want to be able to change to that field. But I would not be able to if I joined the NHSC. And lastly, I would be told where to go instead of choosing for myself where I want to practice. My freedom would be severely restricted.

medical school loan forgiveness programs - bureaucracy

Working with the government (and insurance companies) means dealing with bureaucracy and red tape. And there will always be lots of papers to fill out.

Military

My decision not to join the military is because of the cost involved: for every one year they pay you, you must serve for two years. I did not want to give up 8 years of my life after medical school. Time is money. I am already giving up so much time just to become a doctor, at least 7 years starting from the first day of medical school. Visit the how long is medical school section to find out why it takes so long to become a doctor.

How I Will Pay Down My Medical School Loans

What I plan to do is to negotiate a repayment plan or sign-on bonus with my future employer, whether it is a hospital, local clinic, or private practice. If you contact a medical recruiting agency, you will find that there are lots of places looking for doctors. Some of them will offer a sweet incentive for you to join them. This way, I am not tied down in terms of what to practice and where to practice. And I’ll have someone to help me pay off my loans.

You Can Pay Off Loans Without Assistance

Lastly, even without any financial assistance or medical school loan forgiveness programs, if you stay on top of your medical school loans, such as paying the interest during residency, you will eventually pay off loan. Visit the how to pay off medical school loans section for details.

This article is part of the Medical School Loans series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about borrowing money smartly.

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