To become a medical doctor doesn’t come easily, it requires a huge amount of money to facilitate the process. To ease the financial burden involved, there are available and reliable student loans for medical school that can help ease the stress and put you on the right track towards achieving your life ambition.
Stay with me as I take you through the best student loan options available for medical students whether you’re an international medical student or graduate student.
Most college students these days take out student loans to pay for the cost of higher education. In fact, 68 percent of college seniors who graduated from a public or nonprofit college in 2015 had student loans, according to a study by the Institute for College Access and Success.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 75% of medical school graduates had educational debt in 2018.
So, due to the fact that medical school costs a lot of money, it’s important to seek some type of support in terms of loans.
This post will bring to your notice the ways you can access student loans for medical students.
There’s a table of content below for ease of access.
- What is A Student Loan?
- Types of Student Loans
- Why Should I Take Student Loan For Medical School?
- How Much Can You Borrow for Medical School?
- Federal Student Loans For Medical Students
- How Do Private Loans Work For Medical Students?
- Student Loans For Graduate Medical Students
- Are there Student Loan For International Medical Students?
- What Is The Current Interest Rate On Student Loans For Medical Students?
- What To Consider Before Taking A Student Loan For Medical School?
- How To Quickly Offset Medical School Loans
- FAQs on How Can I Get Student Loans For Medical School In 2020
- We Also Recommend
What is A Student Loan?
Just as it sounds, a student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in the fact that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in school. It also differs in many countries in the strict laws regulating renegotiating and bankruptcy.-Wikipedia-
In addition, many of these loans are offered to college students at a low-interest rate. Ideally, students are not required to repay these loans until the end of a grace period, which begins after they have completed their education.
Types of Student Loans
Not all student loans are the same. Some are privately funded while some are sponsored by the federal government.
All You Need To Know About Private Funded Students Loan
A private loan is a financing option offered by non-government entities with the sole aim of getting a better amount in return. However, private loans, which are heavily advertised, do not have the forbearance and deferral options available with federal loans (which are not advertised). In contrast with federally subsidized loans, interest accumulates while the student is in college, although repayment may not begin until after graduation.
Private student loans, on the other hand, are acquired from a bank, credit union or online lenders and credit scores are a big factor in determining the interest rate.
Also, private loans often come with higher interest rates unlike the federal government sponsored loans.
A number of financial institutions administer private student loans, including banks like Wells Fargo, and specialized companies. There are also a number of state-affiliated, nonprofit student loan lenders, which account for approximately 10% of the private student loan market. This segment includes organizations such as VSAC and MOHELA.
All You Need To Know About Federal Government Sponsored Loans
Federal student loans are made by the government, with terms and conditions that are set by law, and include many benefits (such as fixed interest rates and income-driven repayment plans) not typically offered with private loans.
These loans normally come with low interest rate and offer services such as; subsidies, credit check, tax benefit, consolidation and refinancing, postponement options, repayment plans, prepayment penalties and loan forgiveness.
Why Should I Take Student Loan For Medical School?
Loans are a necessity for most medical students as it aids the payment of medical school tuition, other fees, and helps to cover living expenses.
There are many types of student loan options for medical students, and students often take out a mix from different lenders to ensure they have enough funds throughout the training.
Each lender and loan type has its own provisions, qualifications, and requirements, and the interest rates they charge vary greatly.
Being knowledgeable and strategic about the types of loans you apply for and accept can help in your decision making. Federal loans and private loans are the primary sources of medical school loans.
How Much Can You Borrow for Medical School?
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 75% of medical school graduates obtained loans in 2018.
The average amount of student loans for medical students loans when finishing is $196,520. Nevertheless, it all depends on the med school you choose to attend and the loan scheme. Consider the following loan schemes.
Federal Student Loans For Medical Students
To obtain a federal loan, you have to apply by submitting a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Federal loans are funded by the government and offer alternative repayment options than private lenders might not offer you.
Congress sets the interest rates applicable to these federal loans so you might end up paying a higher interest rate than with a private loan.
The good news is you don’t need to prove financial need to qualify for federal loans. Here are the federal loan options obtainable for medical students;
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Graduate Loans
When attending medical school, you might be eligible for a higher direct unsubsidized loan amount. In such a situation, you need to go through your school’s financial aid office to see if you can get up to $40,500 per year for tuition.
Furthermore, you can borrow up to $20,500 per year in graduate loans, from the federal government without the need to bother about credit or income requirements. However, the total amount you can borrow is $138,500.
The more you can get through direct unsubsidized loans, the better off you’ll be, especially if you’re concerned about preserving protections like income-driven repayment.
Visit website below for details
Federal Grad PLUS Loan
If you’ve reached your limit for the federal direct medical school loans, you can turn to the federal grad PLUS loan program. As long as you don’t have adverse credit information, you should be able to qualify for these loans.
You can get up to the cost of attendance at your medical school, minus the amount of other financial help you receive.
How Do Private Loans Work For Medical Students?
It is possible to get private loans to pay for medical school. With private medical school loans, you’re subject to income and credit requirements and might need to get a cosigner to qualify.
However, depending on the situation, you might be able to get a lower interest rate on a private loan than you would with a Federal Grad PLUS loan. Carefully compare your options before making the decision.
Many private student loans require payments while you are still in school, but some do allow you to defer payments while in school.
Private lenders will require a credit check and may also require a cosigner, but they rarely have borrowing limits or other requirements that may apply to federal loan options.
Here are available private loan options for medical students;
CommonBond Private Student Loan
Student loans are for fulfilling your dreams, not emptying your bank account. CommonBond is lowering the cost of school and simplifying the process in the meantime—no more stressful applications.
CommonBond Private Student Loan offers undergraduate, graduate, MBA, dental, and medical loans.
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan covers all your school-certified expenses like tuition, fees, books, housing, meals, travel, and even a laptop. No max for all years of medical school.
Sallie Mae offers the following to medical students;
- 36 months grace period to support you during the start of your medical career,
- 48 months of deferment during your residency and fellowship
- 20 years to repay your Medical School Loan with no prepayment penalty
- 12 interest-only payments for eligible borrowers after the grace period for repayment flexibility
- Lower your total loan cost—get a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction when you enroll in and make monthly payments by auto debit.
- Pay no origination fee or penalty for paying off your Medical School Loan before its due date.
- Get the shortest cosigner release qualification period in the industry. You can apply to release your cosigner after you graduate, make 12 on-time, principal and interest payments, and meet certain credit requirements.
- Keep on top of your credit with a quarterly FICO Credit Score, available online for free to you and your cosigner.
- Pay for all your residency expenses with a single lender. With the Sallie Mae Medical Residency and Relocation Loan, you can borrow up to $30,000 to cover your travel and relocation costs.
Visit website below to apply for this loan.
Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
The Wells Fargo loans for medical school cover the cost of education, including tuition, books, lab supplies, computers, or living expenses.
- Students make no payments until six months after leaving school (36 months for allopathic and osteopathic medical students).
- No application, origination, or late fees, and no penalty for paying off your loan early.
- Select a competitive fixed or variable interest rate option.
- Lower your private student loan interest rates with a qualifying relationship discount.
Most students can qualify on their own without a cosigner. However, a cosigner may help you get a lower interest rate.
Citizens One Private Student Loan
With Citizens One Private Student Loan, you choose how and when you want to pay with options to make full (principal and interest) or interest-only payments in school. Students have the option to defer payments until after graduation.
It also reduces your competitive rates by 0.50% with our loyalty and auto payment discounts plus saves with no application, origination, or disbursement fees.
See website below for details on how to apply.
PNC Private Student Loan
With PNC Private Student Loan, you can;
- Choose your interest rate option
- Get 0.50% off your rate with automated payments from your checking or savings account.
- Apply for a cosigner release after 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments.
- Use the funds for any education-related expense.
- Receive a preliminary decision within minutes of applying online.
- Apply up to 60 days after the end of the school term.
- Choose your interest rate option: variable or fixed rate.
You can visit the website below for eligibility, requirements, product details, and a whole lot more.
College Ave Student Loans
Wondering whether you need a private student loan? College Ave student loans can cover up to 100% of your cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, books, housing, and other college costs.
We’ll match you with a loan you can live with, from repayment options that fit your monthly budget to competitive interest rates. It takes just three minutes to apply and get an instant credit decision.
College Ave also offers nice loan repayment options to medical students. The application process is highly smooth and easy. Visit the website below for loan rates and other details.
Earnest Student Loans
Earnest offers variable rates start at 2.74% APR and fixed rates at 4.39% APR (including 0.25% AutoPay discount)
An interest rate is assigned based on the length of your loan, as well as the credit history of you and/or your cosigner.
Benefits of Earnest private student loans
- Fast application and approval process.
- 9-month grace period. (3 months more than most lenders)
- No fees for origination, disbursement, prepayment, or late payment
- Skip a payment once per year. (once repayment period has started)
- Expert support from our Client Happiness team.
- 0.25% AutoPay discount.
- Covers up to 100% of the school’s certified cost of attendance.
Check the website below for eligibility, requirements, loan options and start the application.
Student Loans For Graduate Medical Students
Just like the undergraduate federal government and private loan packages, graduate medical students can apply for financial aid through the federal government loan schemes and private lenders mentioned earlier on in the post.
Are there Student Loan For International Medical Students?
Federal student loans are mostly for US students studying in the US, but they are not available to international students. Instead, international students are qualified for international student loans, specialized private education loans available to international students studying in the US.
International Student Loans are now a very genuine way to finance your education in the US. Loans are very flexible and can offer loan amounts high enough to pay for your entire education, but with extended repayment terms and reasonable interest rates, so you can afford the repayment after you graduate.
When applying for students loan as an international student, the following are to be considered;
Interest is the amount charged by the donor in addition to the amount of money that you borrowed.
The interest rate is measured based on an index plus a margin that will add an additional percentage interest rate depending on your cosigner’s creditworthiness. The two most common indexes used for international students are the Prime Rate and LIBOR Rate.
- Prime Interest Rate – This index is determined by the federal funds rate which is set by the US Federal Reserve.
- LIBOR – London Interbank Offered Rate is based on the British Bankers’ Association and is used on the London interbank market. The rate is an aggregate of the world’s most creditworthy bank’s interbank deposit rates for overnight and one-year terms.
When evaluating the loan, the lender will explain which index the plan uses. Then, there will be an extra margin that will be added based on the borrower’s individual criteria, including the cosigner’s credit history.
Based on their creditworthiness, an added interest rate will be attached to the index. This will be the total interest you owe. When your application is authorized, your specific margin will be revealed to you, at which point you can accept or refuse the loan.
RELATED POST: 15 Best Student Loans For Masters degree | Apply Now
Repayment will differ depending on the loan option you choose. Since most international students are not able to work while they study in the US, repayment must be viewed as an extremely crucial feature in your loan.
You will need to consider how much the monthly payments will be when payments will begin, and how long you will be able to defer paying back the loan.
The repayment period usually ranges from 10-25 years, but the larger the loan, the longer the repayment period. The standard repayment plan options are:
- Full Deferral – Students are able to defer payment until 6 months after graduation as long as the full-time status is maintained. Students can defer payments for a maximum of four years, which is the ideal length of a degree.
- Interest Only – International students only pay the interest while in school, up to four successive years, and can defer the principal until 45 days after graduation, or when the student drops their course load to part-time.
- Immediate Repayment – Payments on both interest and principal are due immediately once the loan has been dispersed.
What Is The Current Interest Rate On Student Loans For Medical Students?
Student loans are intended to help students reach their higher education goals. Because of this, they ideally carry lower interest rates than other types of loans. However, your exact interest rate is based on what type of loan you take out.
Federal student loans come with low-interest rates, especially if they are need-based. The federal government places fixed interest rates for the different loans they have available for students.
Privately funded student loans depend on your credit history and tend to carry higher rates. However, these interest rates can still be significantly lower than the rates of other loans such as credit card debt.
Interest is added to the total amount of money that you owe. This means that as you pay back the original amount of money you borrowed, you are also responsible for paying any interest that gathers.
It can add considerably to the total amount you owe, especially if you delay your payments and allow interest to accumulate before you begin your repayment plan.
Interest Rates for Federal Student Loans
Federal student loan interest rates for the 2020 school year range from 4.53% to 7.08%. As of July 2006, all federal student loans have fixed interest for the life of the loan. Although rates are reevaluated by Congress every year, the interest rates on existing loans will not be affected.
Parents and graduate students may be qualified for PLUS loans. At 7.08%, it is said to have the highest interest rate of any federal student loan.
It should be noted that there is an aggregate limit to how much money students may obtain on federal loans. Undergraduates can only borrow $57,500 in total and no more than $23,000 of that can be a subsidized loan. Graduate students may borrow $138,500 and no more than $65,500 can be subsidized.
The graduate loan amounts include any money borrowed to obtain an undergraduate degree.
Interest Rates for Private Student Loans
Interest rates on private student loans are almost always higher than those for federal loans, but with the historically low lending rates offered in 2020, the market has suddenly become much more contentious.
This is important to students who have reached their borrowing limit on federal loans, but still, need money to complete a degree. It also helps students have a good credit score or a cosigner with a good credit score, and could be eligible for the lowest rates available from private lenders.
A survey of six lenders — SunTrust, Ascent, SoFi, CommonBond, Discover, and Sallie Mae — showed fixed rates ranging from 4.29% to 12.49%, while variable rates were moved from 1.80% to 14.18%.
Prospective students should keep a close eye on interest rates if they are considering private student loans. If available rates are 3% to 4%, it can be an enticing option compared to federal student loans.
What To Consider Before Taking A Student Loan For Medical School?
Before averting your mind to medical school loans, it’s important to first consider your goals, as well as the protections you hope to receive. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Cost of attendance
Naturally, you first have to estimate the cost of attendance. Will, it cost you more than $20,500 per year to attend? If so, you can still get federal unsubsidized loans, but you’ll need other funding sources to bridge the gap. Find out from your school if you’re qualified to get a higher amount in federal loans before moving forward.
Interest rates for all federal loans are introduced each year, using a formula approved by Congress. In all, it’s a good idea to max out your direct unsubsidized federal loans before getting private student loans.
However, grad PLUS loans have higher interest rates than direct unsubsidized loans.
If you have good credit or a well-qualified cosigner, you might get a lower interest rate with private medical school loans.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
In some cases, a lower interest rate might not matter as much if you’re working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or a state-level healthcare professions loan forgiveness program.
46% of grads plan to enter some type of loan forgiveness or repayment program, and most private loans aren’t eligible.
Direct unsubsidized and grad PLUS loans, though, are qualified for PSLF. If you’re going to try for PSLF, avoid private medical school loans.
Deferred repayment options
All of the federal loans have delayed repayment, allowing you to get through medical school without making payments. While some private lenders offer deferred repayment, it’s important to double-check the loan terms if you don’t want to start refunding your loans while in school.
Income-driven repayment options
Additionally, you need to consider whether you’ll have access to income-driven repayment with your medical school loans.
While some private lenders offer difficult plans, they aren’t the same as the income-driven options available to federal loan borrowers.
If you think you’ll be working at a low-income job as you meet requirements for PSLF or other forgiveness programs, being able to get onto income-driven repayment might be a consideration.
Having said that, you need to weigh your options to figure out what combination of federal and private medical school loans might work best for your situation.
How To Quickly Offset Medical School Loans
Paying off medical school debt can be a burdening. As a resident, you’re probably not earning enough to make full monthly student loan payments.
As an attending physician, you’re likely facing a balance that’s thousands of dollars more than it was when you graduated.
However, these five strategies can help make paying off medical school loans a bit easier.
Make Payments During Residency
Medical school loans accumulate interest while you’re in school and typically enter repayment six months after you graduate.
So, It’s possible to postpone student loan payments during your residency or fellowship, but it will cost you. Interest increases during periods of deferment and forbearance, raising your total balance.
For example, pausing payments for three years on $196,520 — the average medical school debt among the class of 2018 — would add about $37,000 to your balance, assuming that you had a 6.25% average interest rate, didn’t make any interest payments during that time and had no subsidized loans.
To save on interest, make at least partial payments during residency and use deferment and forbearance only as a last option. If you can’t afford full payments during residency, sign up for an income-driven repayment plan.
Switch to income-driven repayment
An income-driven repayment plan is the best option for residents who can’t afford to make full payments at a go.
There are four federal income-driven plans that cap monthly payments at a percentage of your income, extend the repayment period to 20 or 25 years, and absolve any balance that’s remaining after the repayment period.
Many doctors choose Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) when paying off medical school debt.
Monthly payments can be substantially lower on an income-driven plan: With a $56,000 annual income, the median stipend for first-year residents in 2018, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, you’d owe as little as $315 a month.
The defect of income-driven repayment is that your monthly payment may not cover all of the interest as it accumulates, meaning your total loan balance may increase. REPAYE compensates this with its unique, partial interest subsidy that waives half of the unpaid interest.
Payments will increase as your income increases, meaning you may outgrow income-driven repayment. On REPAYE, for instance, your monthly payment could end up being higher than it would be on the standard, federal 10-year repayment plan.
Seek For Loan Forgiveness
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is the swiftest way doctors can pay off medical school debt. Federal student loans are discharged after 10 years if you work for a nonprofit hospital or medical facility that is a registered 501(c)(3), the military or academia.
Enlist in the PAYE repayment program to keep your monthly payments as low as attainable and maximize the amount forgiven. After 120 monthly payments, the remaining loan debt is forgiven.
Refinance to save on interest
Student loan refinancing is one of the best options for doctors paying off medical school debt aggressively. If you can get a lower rate, you could save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your loan.
Physicians are the target candidates in the eyes of student loan refinance lenders. Qualifying for the lowest rates requires excellent credit and a high-income relative to your debt.
You have two options for refinancing medical school loans:
- Go on income-driven repayment during residency and refinance after you complete your training.
- Refinance during residency and potentially again when you complete your training.
With medical residency refinancing, you can pay as little as $100 a month during residency. However, those low monthly payments won’t be enough to cover the interest as it accumulates, meaning your balance will increase.
Before refinancing either as a resident or as an attending, make sure you’re comfortable giving up access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-driven repayment. Refinanced loans aren’t eligible for those federal programs.
Be Frugal In Spending
After years of education and training, you’ll finally receive the income benefits of your career once you become an attending physician. But if you can live like a resident for a few more years, you’ll have more money to save, invest, and pay off medical school debt.
Before paying extra on medical school loans, focus on other financial priorities including:
- Establishing an emergency fund of at least $500, but ideally enough to cover three to six months of living expenses.
- Investing in a retirement fund, at least enough to get your employer’s 401(k) match.
- Paying down high-interest debt like credit cards.
Loans are a necessity for most medical students as it aids the payment of medical school tuition, other fees, and helps to cover living expenses. There are many types of student loan options for medical students, and students often take out a mix from different lenders to ensure they have enough funds throughout the training.
FAQs on How Can I Get Student Loans For Medical School In 2021
What is a student loan?
Just as it sounds, a student loan is a type of loan designed to help students pay for post-secondary education and the associated fees, such as tuition, books and supplies, and living expenses.
Can a medical student obtain students loan?
Loans are a necessity for most medical students as it aids the payment of medical school tuition, other fees, and helps to cover living expenses.
Are there students loan For International Medical Students?
International students are eligible for international student loans, specialized private education loans available to international students studying in the US.
Are there private loan options for medical students?
Here are available private loan options for medical students;
-CommonBond Private Student Loan
-Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
–Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
-Citizens One Private Student Loan
-PNC Private Student Loan