Financing Your Medical Career

The road of preparation to medical school is difficult enough without the challenging question of; how will I finance my education?  In exploring which institution will suit your needs the best in terms of an education, one must also factor in which institution will not undoubtedly contribute to any future financial hardship.  When comparing cost, you must not only take into consideration the direct cost of tuition but also think about indirect fees/expenses such as travel, books, food, clothing, and rent if applicable. These costs may vary greatly from institution to institution and from state to state. The location of the institution is also an influence on your choice of: a particular state to go to school in because of cost of living, the distance from your home, a state institution versus a private institution, and enrolling in the end.

With all the things mentioned before, you can now roughly calculate the cost of how much your higher education cost can really be. The calculation would be to simply multiply the number of years you would need to complete your professional degree and the expected cost of attendance.  But still yet you would have to include not only tuition but miscellaneous things such as books, travel, food, rent, etc.

The average student can accumulate $177,554 in federal loans. This is the maximum amount of federal Direct Loans you may obtain in your four years of pursuing your degree.  This figure is not limited to any additional loans, such as other federal, private or campus base loans a student may request to close any direct or indirect cost gap.  To add to the cost of paying for school, as of July 1st, 2012, subsidized loans will no longer be offered to graduate students.  Now this would increase the debt load even before the time a student started their residency.  In truth, a professional student if not careful in their decision making on where to attend an institution may accrue over $200,000 in debt after the receipt of their degree.

The decision to pursue a degree is not solely based on just the institution.  Other decisions that will make an impact include the lifestyle you choose to live such as the cost between living on campus versus renting off campus, living alone or living with a roommate, cooking versus eating out, and shopping for less wants and more needs will contribute to calculating your four year educational expenses.  Life doesn’t cease during your studies; however it may change the lifestyle you are currently use to.

I don’t want to sway any prospects decision into not obtaining a medical career because choosing to become a physician is a noble quest. However, by having an understanding that your pursuit of a degree does not stop at just the institution you choose to attend is a key step that must take place before you can succeed in any pursuit.


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Michelle Bolton
Associate Director, Office of Financial Aid
SUNY Downstate 

Filed Under: Premed Corner


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