No one wants to be in debt for the rest of their life. Coming up with a smart way to finance your education requires careful thought and research, but will surely be a decision you’ll be glad to have made.
How you manage your money and loans is completely up to you, but here are some general guidelines that will help you with the process:
While you’re applying for schools and taking your exams, you should also be investigating financial options. Research these options, find out your credit score, and see what choices are suitable for you. Most importantly, find out what tuition rate is doable for you. For some perspective, American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine offers one of the lowest medical school tuition rates available.
Talk to the university
To get a better idea about where you’re coming from, talk with financial representatives at your university. At AUA, there is a Student Financial Services department available to assist students with financial planning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the information you need to help you make the best decisions.
Wise up about loans
Not all loans are created equal. Many times, the lowest monthly payment may not end up being your best loan option. Look into the initial processing fees, interest rates, interest accrual once in medical school, deferment options, add-on fees at repayment, payment plans, repayment incentives, and any other factors. Check out SimpleTuition for an online tool to help you compare costs, payments, long-term options, and any other considerations among lenders. There is also the option of loan repayment programs in which patient care can be done in underserved areas of the U.S. and/or clinical research in areas of national need for a minimum of two years as a way to repay a portion of the educational debt you’ve racked up.
If you’re willing to practice medicine in underserved areas, certain scholarships may be available: the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) / Indian Health Service (IHS) Corps Scholarships. You can also apply for private scholarships that can range from $500 to thousands of dollars. Every little bit helps!