Finding the Best Medical Student Loan

The best medical student loans will not necessarily be the same options that were right for you as an undergraduate. First, medical school tends to be much more expensive than undergraduate programs. Further, most medical school students will be in their mid-twenties when they start a program, meaning their lifestyles will additionally be pricier than undergrads. Take these considerations into account when you are comparing federal student loans and private student loans.

Covering the Cost of School

Tuition at medical schools is expensive for different reasons than undergraduate educations. Of course, your tuition will still go toward paying your professor's salaries and other school expenses. You will also have to pay costs for using laboratories, equipment and materials, which can be extremely high.  All of these items should be considered when you apply for a loan to cover tuition. Both federal and private options will assist you in covering tuition costs. With federal loans, you will have to reapply each term in order 

Covering Living Expenses

As you are now older and have taken on more responsibilities than an undergrad, you will likely find your living expenses have gone up. It is not an option to live in the dorms and eat on campus every day. Further, you may have undergraduate debts to repay while you attend school. It is not uncommon for medical students to be planning weddings and starting families. Federal student loans do not largely cover living expenses, and you will have to take additional personal loans to meet these demands. When you are working with a private loan lender, you will be able to increase your loan limits to cover living expenses in most cases. 

Preparing for Repayment

When it comes to repaying loans, it is best if you can begin the process while you are still attending medical school. Federal options tend to be more flexible in terms of repayment, allowing you to wait longer before payments start. Just because the government allows you to wait to pay off the loans, though, does not mean you should take the offer. It generally takes students much longer to pay off federal debt than private debt, even though federal debt is typically smaller, due to the increased incentive to pay off private debt sooner. In the long-run, it is better to be student debt free as early as possible.

Alternative Options

While federal and private student loans are the most common forms of tuition assistance, there are some alternatives. Consider the following options based on your financial situation:

  • Home equity loan - If you are already a home owner, you can put your house to work in order to go to medical school.

  • 401k loan - There are few options to attain 401k loans as a medical student. If you are returning to school later in life, this is one option, but it is limited to remote criteria.

  • Personal loan - Though student loans are often cheaper, personal loans tend to be more flexible. You can use the loans to cover recreation and entertainment costs in addition to school and living expenses.



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