- name: Primary Care Loan
- interest rate: 5%
- interest type: subsidized
- maximum repayment term: 25 years (and at least 10 years)
- grace period: 12 months
- maximum loan amount: tuition and living expense
Advantages of the PCL
If you qualify for this loan, then you are golden. Your financial burden from medical school will be less than most people. Why? Because it has a combination of low interest rates, subsidized interest (government will pay the interest on the loan while you are in school or when the loan is deferred), and can cover the full cost of medical school and living expenses. In addition, you get a year for grace period. During grace periods, the interest is still subsidized.
Disadvantages of the PCL
But the downside of the loan is that it is very hard to qualify for:
- You must show you have financial need, which is not hard for most medical school students.
- You must also show that your parents have financial need, which is very unlikely for most medical school students.
- You must practice in primary health care. To figure out what primary health care means, check out University of Minnesota’s page regarding PCL. You must choose a primary health care residency and practice in the field until the loan is paid, which will take at least 10 years.
You cannot pay the whole loan in full; it must be stretched out for at least 10 years and at most 25 years. That means you will be stuck paying the interest even if you have extra money to pay off the loan. This is the only government loan that I am aware of which requires a minimum repayment period.
Who Should Take Out the Loan?
So who is it good for? If you and your parents are poor and you are absolutely certain you want to pursue primary medicine, this is the loan for you. That pretty much rules out most of the medical school students.
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.