Scholarships for Medical School

How to find funding for medical school

How to Find Scholarships for Medical School

How to Find Scholarships for Medical School

It is well worth your time to search for scholarships both before and after you enroll for medical school. There are many opportunities to receive special funding support. Eligibility requirements vary from scholarship to scholarship. For example, some rewards may be based on premedical status or your year in medical school, specialty choice, academic achievement, service obligation, or affiliation with a specific organization.

These opportunities can be applied toward a range of costs, from tuition to travel for special activities like conferences. Many family medicine conferences and meetings give students money to help them attend and broaden their professional experience.

Although not everyone qualifies for a large enough scholarship to cover the costs of medical school, there are likely several sources of funding that are available to support your interests. Smaller scholarships that offer a couple hundred dollars can especially add up over time if you apply to several. Anything that helps reduce your final student debt is very valuable because of the impact of interest capitalization.

Start your search online

Know where to search online. Websites such as FastWeb(www.fastweb.com) and the U.S. Department of Education(www.ed.gov) contain scholarship databases that can help you find opportunities. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) maintains a loan repayment and scholarship database(services.aamc.org) organized by state, and students are eligible for many of the opportunities listed.

Several scholarship apps are also available, some of which include features that will match you with potential funding opportunities based on your needs and background.

Avoid companies or organizations that require a fee or make guarantees to help you identify a specific amount of money in scholarship aid.

Find medical school scholarships locally

Your university’s counselors, and state and local governmental agencies can help get you started when connecting with scholarship opportunities in your state or community.

Contact local hospitals and ask to speak to a staff member in the human resources department about scholarship opportunities. Some hospitals and their foundations offer scholarships to medical students or financial aid in the form of tuition assistance in exchange for a specific number of years of employment after completion of residency.

Many religious institutions, through personal endowments, have funds available for members to further their education. Contact your religious institution's business office to inquire about such resources and any eligibility requirements.

Local businesses, clubs, and nonprofit organizations often provide scholarships support to students from their communities. Navigating these can take some extra work, as you may have to do some targeted online searching, directly call businesses, or ask area mentors for help identifying these opportunities.

Ask your medical school

Check with the medical schools that you are applying to or are already attending, including the school’s office of minority affairs, for scholarship opportunities. Request a financial aid packet from the medical school’s financial aid office and ask about scholarship opportunities that are unique to that school. Many medical schools offer financial assistance to academically-competitive medical students who demonstrate severe financial hardship. Arrange for you and your family to speak directly to one of the school's financial aid officers about your situation and the options available to you.

Research scholarships for minority students

Many organizations are committed to the important work of ensuring the development of a diverse physician workforce. Through scholarships, they support minority and underrepresented students working toward their medical degrees.

Some notable sources of scholarships for minority students are:

The AAFP has identified a collection of useful resources for minority medical students. Among these resources are scholarship opportunities.   

Explore scholarships in primary care

If you are interested in a career in family medicine, there are many scholarship opportunities for future primary care physicians. In fact, many of these scholarship programs will help you pay a significant portion (if not all) of your educational costs.

When exploring medical schools, consider those with primary care tracks. If you know you want to specialize in a primary care specialty, these programs often include tuition waivers or scholarships. Although limited in number, there are several three-year medical school programs for future primary care physicians. These programs reduce the overall costs of attending medical school, and some provide extra scholarship funding that eliminate most costs.

As a student committed to primary care, you can apply for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program(nhsc.hrsa.gov), which pays for tuition, fees, and other costs. Another program they have is the Students to Service Program(www.nhsc.hrsa.gov), a loan repayment program.

The Pisacano Leadership Foundation(www.pisacano.org) provides up to five third-year medical students who are strongly committed to family medicine as much as $28,000 in financial support. Scholarships are available each year. This foundation also provides a helpful list of scholarship programs(www.pisacano.org) for students seeking scholarship opportunities.