As an aspiring medical student, you probably are aware of how expensive your medical school dreams can be, and have even caught yourself wondering how you will pay for it. A medical education loan certainly is a huge amount to repay, but being able to achieve your dream of becoming a doctor makes it worth the money and effort.
While the cost of going to medical schools in the U.S. is steep, the cost of going to a medical school in the Caribbean Islands is no less, and can be even higher than U.S. colleges. Which is why it’s important to consider your financing options if you’re aiming to study in the Caribbean.
The process of getting financial aid or an education loan for medical students in the Caribbean Islands is different for those applying to schools in the U.S. The rules and regulations are different for federal and private loans. Understanding the process is essential to help you plan your funding. Here’s a brief on medical student loans if you’re applying to colleges in the Caribbean Islands.
How to Get a Loan for Medical School in The Caribbean
Federal Student Loans
When considering an education loan for medical school abroad, federal student loans are a good option because they offer borrower-friendly protections, such as income-based repayment and loan forgiveness. Federal student loans are offered to U.S. students at certain Caribbean medical schools. The American University of Antigua is one of the approved schools participating in the Direct Loan Program for students to avail a federal loan. These schools must meet the requirements every year to be eligible, so make sure the school you’re applying to qualifies for the federal student loan program.
If you meet the aid eligibility requirements and are enrolled in a qualified medical school, here are your options:
- Direct Unsubsidised Loans: Graduate students can apply for Direct Unsubsidised Loans, which do not have financial requirements to qualify. The eligibility for this type of loan depends on the school you are enrolled in. This is different from subsidised loans where the government pays partial interest. Here, you’ll be paying the full interest amount. To be eligible, the course must be from a participating international medical school that grants degrees or certificates, and you must be enrolled for a minimum of half-time, or full-time. The maximum you can borrow is $20,500 per year while pursuing a professional program. The repayment terms are between 10 and 25 years, depending on the plan you choose.
- Direct PLUS Loans: Under the federal student loan program, you may be eligible for the Direct PLUS Loans or Grad PLUS Loans. Grad PLUS Loans have the highest interest rates compared to other federal loans, so be wary of the costs of taking such a loan. To be eligible, you must have a good credit score or apply with a cosigner who has a good credit score, while the school must be qualified for the international federal student loan program. You can borrow up to the cost of attendance after your financial aid is subtracted. The repayment terms are between 10 and 25 years, depending on the plan you choose.
The federal loan repayment terms for Caribbean medical schools are the same as a US medical school.
Private Loans for Caribbean Medical Schools
Apart from federal aid, you can also take a loan from private lenders. There are many lenders offering private loans for medical schools in the Caribbean. The first place to check is with your school’s financial aid office. The financial aid office helps students find financing, so they will help you find the right lender. Each lender may have eligibility requirements that you need to meet to get loan approval. Most lenders require a good credit score for a private student loan, in addition to other requirements. You can also apply with a cosigner who has good credit. Beware that a history of bad credit will make it harder for you to get a loan.
Therefore, the most convenient financing option for medical school in the Caribbean Islands is a federal student loan.