Medical School Scholarships – How to Go to Medical School for Free

Medical School Scholarships

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Medical school scholarships are quite a bit more difficult to find than scholarships for undergraduate students. As a medical school applicant, you are probably used to having much of your education paid for by scholarships.

Now you are in the big leagues! Everyone in medical school is smart, and all potential scholarship donors know that you will be making a good income in the future and therefore will likely be able to pay off your loans.

These factors make it more difficult to obtain a medical school scholarship.

But, do not despair! There are medical school scholarships available.

Here are some of the available options:

  • Your Medical School

    • This is the first place you should look for medical school scholarships. Your medical school will have access to funding from private donors. These are often alumni of the school that want to help others who are going to their Alma Mater. This is one benefit to going to a top medical school, since they generally have more private donors.
    • Ask the Financial Aid Office of the schools you are applying to what kind of scholarships are available.
    • These are often need-based
  • Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

    • This is one way to get a “full-ride” scholarship through medical school. You also obtain a PhD as part of this program.
    • There are about 170 positions available each year
    • MSTP participants receive a monthly stipend, along with having their tuition paid for. They may also receive some money for travel, equipment and supplies
    • This money is available for up to 6 years, though many students take more than this as obtaining a PhD can be a lengthy process.
    • This is a great option if you are interested in research or teaching.
    • For more information on this program, click here.
    • For other research programs available through the NIH, click
  • Health Professions Scholarship Program

    • This is another one of the medical school scholarships that will not only pay all your tuition but will also give you a monthly stipend for living expenses.
    • Generally you will pay this back with one year of military service for each year you receive aid
    • Available through Army, Navy, Air Force and a military college called the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences.
    • I seriously considered this option, but decided against it. I have a family now and did not want to be deployed away from them for extended periods of time. Also, it is possible, though the military will tell you it is unlikely, that you will not get to choose the specialty you want if the military does not have particular need for that specialty. From my research, the Air Force has the best lifestyle of the options (less time away, more understanding of family duties, less danger).
    • For more information about this program, click on the following:
  • Air Force
  • Uniform Services University of the Health
  • Loan Repayment/Forgiveness Scholarship Programs

    • There are several programs available from state and local governments that provide loan repayment or forgiveness
      in return for service agreements. These are generally working in under served areas for a predetermined amount of time.
  • There are many of these opportunities and they vary by state.
  • An extensive list of these programs with links is available here
  • Contact your state government to find out about other available options for medical school scholarships.
    • National Medical Fellowship

      • These programs are specifically for minority students. They include significant scholarships and opportunities to travel to Ghana or Uganda to focus on critical regional health care needs.
      • For more information about this opportunity, click here.

    As you can see, there are many options on how to finance your medical education. Most people end up using medical school loans for most of the cost, so don’t be upset if not many of the above options apply to you.

    Good luck!

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