Q: Is there a low-cost way to do med school?
This question was asked a couple years ago, and while the answer is still relevant, I have some BIG news that NYU just announced FREE TUITION for medical school students. Original NY Times article. I expect this initiative to put pressure on other medical schools, and we may begin to see a slight decline in the tremendous costs associated with this type of education.
A: Yes and no. Medical school is expensive, and to get there, you need a bachelor’s degree first! So, you’re talking about a LOT of education. My BIGGEST piece of advice is to keep your undergraduate degree as low as humanly possible because you’ll be paying interest on THOSE student loans for a long time if you take any.
UNDERGRADUATE NOTES: Unless your teen receives a full tuition full room and board scholarship to a private or out of state school, the lowest cost process is as follows: use CLEP, AP and dual enrollment in high school for everything except for the sciences. Attend your community college for the first two years (general education) earning EXCEPTIONAL grades (you’ll need all A’s), apply for the Phi Theta Kappa Community College scholarship. Transfer to an in-state public university and live at home while doing so. Take 15 credits per semester to graduate in 4 years while using summer to work (for money) and volunteer in a medical capacity (for service hours).
But, there are some tricks and strategies you can use to bring the cost of Medical School down. Can you attend for free? In some cases, yes.
(1) The Ph.D. Md route. Ahh, even MORE education! If your teen has completed a lot of college credit in high school, they are probably younger than their peers anyway, so what’s another couple years? Kidding aside, this isn’t an easy route, but you can “add” the research doctorate to your med school process, and usually, they will provide some amount of free tuition and or a stipend for doing so.
(2) National Health Service Corps Scholarship. This is a 100% tuition scholarship for medical school (also counts for Physician Assistant, Dentistry, Doctor of Nurse Practitioner, or Certified Nurse Midwife) in addition, you get a $1316/month stipend, all fees, books, clinical supplies, uniforms, and educational supplementary fees covered 100%. Some students will also qualify for partial or full undergraduate loan forgiveness.
Recipients of this scholarship will have to repay each year of scholarship with 1 year of service (2-4 years) in a health professional shortage area – in other words, you can’t choose where you work immediately after graduation. You commit to working (full salary) in certain areas where they *really* need doctors, dentists, etc. After those few years of service are fulfilled, you can go on with your practice as you choose. As of 2016, they awarded 330 full awards. What they DON’T disclose is how many applicants try for it. You can assume it is competitive, but in my experience, FEWER THAN YOU THINK will apply. A lot of the time, scholarships are left on the table because people don’t apply. Application cycles open early Jan/Feb of each year. http://www.nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships
(3) Attend in-state public. Apply to ALL of the MD (and DO) programs, of course, but it’s usually cheaper to attend a public university as an in-state student. Not all states have medical schools, and of those that do, many are private (typically charge the same for instate and out of state) but if you’re in a position to choose, it’s a lot less expensive. Wikipedia has a nice state-by-state list of all the medical schools. List of Medical Schools
Example of cost difference at the University of Colorado School of Medicine
in-state 4 years: ~$146,000
out of state 4 years: ~$250,000
(4) Health Professions Scholarship (Military). Army, Navy, and Air Force will all pay 100% of the student’s medical, dental, advanced practice nursing, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary, social worker, or physician assistant tuition. Candidates must already possess a bachelor’s degree and have an acceptance letter to a med school program before they can enlist. Incentives vary based on branches of service, but during professional training (med school), the student is placed on inactive reserve. Upon completion, they begin their service obligation as an officer and will complete anywhere from 4-6 years of service.
Examples of the different branch’s incentives for 2016:
100% tuition, textbooks, lab, and fees
$2,000 per month cash stipend
$20,000 sign on bonus
There are a lot of math/cost questions surrounding the medical school question. Is it worth it? Most number-crunchers say “no” but they are assuming you’re paying rack rate for tuition. The 1 Million Dollar Mistake …and you’d never let your teen do that, right?
The American Association of Medical Colleges publishes a record of all costs of all medical schools each year.
U.S. NEWS RANKING
Remember to multiply tuition shown x4
Below is a list of the 10 least expensive public medical schools based on tuition and required fees. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report. The F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, a federal service postgraduate academy that waives tuition and fees in return for military service, was excluded from this list.
|Medical school (name) (state)||In-state tuition & fees (2015-2016)||U.S. News research rank||U.S. News primary care rank|
|Texas A&M Health Science Center||$16,432||76 (tie)||78 (tie)|
|University of Texas Health Science Center—San Antonio||$17,661||60 (tie)||71 (tie)|
|Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||$17,737||84 (tie)||84 (tie)|
|University of North Texas Health Science Center||$19,022||RNP*||50 (tie)|
|University of New Mexico||$19,233||78 (tie)||45 (tie)|
|University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center||$19,343||25 (tie)||21 (tie)|
|University of Texas Health Science Center—Houston||$20,092||56 (tie)||RNP|
|Marshall University (Edwards) (WV)||$20,100||RNP||RNP|
|West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine||$21,650||RNP||RNP|
|East Carolina University (Brody) (NC)||$22,281||88 (tie)||32 (tie)|
Below is a list of the 10 ranked private medical schools with the lowest tuition and fees in 2016. Two of these schools offer discounts to in-state residents – the Baylor College of Medicine and the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. The prices given for the schools in this article are the full-freight rates paid by out-of-state students. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School (name) (state)||Tuition and fees (2016-2017)||U.S. News research rank||U.S. News primary care rank|
|Baylor College of Medicine (TX)||$32,663||21||8 (tie)|
|Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA)||$33,055||RNP||RNP|
|University of Miami (Miller) (FL)||$42,642||48 (tie)||68|
|University of Pikeville (KY)||$42,975||RNP||RNP|
|Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine—Virginia, Carolinas, and Auburn||$43,800||RNP||RNP|
|Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (MO)||$44,595||RNP||RNP|
|Lincoln Memorial University (DeBusk) (TN)||$47,880||RNP||RNP|
|Hofstra University (NY)||$49,500||71 (tie)||55 (tie)|
|Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (MN)||$49,900||20||31 (tie)|
|Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (NY)||$50,270||RNP||RNP|