Applying to Medical School

How to Pay For Medical School (2023 Outlook)

And What You NEED To Be Asking Each School's Financial Aid Office Before You Decide on Which Medical School to Attend


According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), in 2019-2020 the median cost of attending medical school for four years was over $330,000 at private institutions and over $250,000 at public ones. Furthermore, 2020 medical school graduates had an average education debt load of about $207,000.

The outlook for 2023 is equally grim. Rising costs to attend medical school are not likely to show any slow down in the near future. The average annual increase in medical school tuition has been $1500 per year since 2013. With record numbers of applicants at schools across the country and rising inflation in the U.S., costs are likely to continue climbing, though at what rate no one can be sure just yet.

A chart showing the projected increase in total costs of medical school from 2020 to 2025
Source: Education Data Initiative,

In other words, medical school is extremely costly. So how do you pay for it?

Three Ways to Pay for Extremely Costly Medical Education in 2022 and 2023

There are 3 ways to approach it:

The first is to use money that you do not have to repay. This can come from a few sources. One is personal savings. Another is merit scholarships and grants from medical schools. You should also look into scholarships, grants and awards from medical associations like the American Medical Association and American Medical Women’s Association. And finally, there are government and military programs that cover some if not all of your medical school costs. For example, the Health Professions Scholarship Program, which the military funds and offers through the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, pays the entire cost of tuition and fees for health professional students such as medical students.

The second way to pay for medical school is to qualify for federal student aid. In order to do so, you must fill out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

The third way to pay for medical school is to take out a private loan. Such loans usually come from banks and credit unions.

The image depicts a rising staircase leading to a dollar sign and a graudation cap with the text, "What to Ask A School's Financial Aid Office" and the MedSchoolCoach logo
Never make a decision about where to attend medical school without asking these vital questions first.

What should I ask medical school financial aid officers?

As you consider specific medical schools, you should get the following information from them either by talking to the school’s financial aid officer and/or reading the school’s financial aid web pages:

  • The medical school’s average cost for four years, including tuition, fees, room and board
  • The average debt load for the most recent graduating class
  • How to apply for financial aid and if parental information is needed to determine it
  • The availability of scholarships and grants and how to apply for them
  • The availability of institutional loans as well as the terms and conditions
  • The ability to work part-time during medical school

Follow these steps for an effective, efficient approach to figuring out how to pay for medical school!


Ziggy Yoediono MD

Dr. Yoediono was a Duke University pre-major advisor, and an adcom member for Duke University School of Medicine, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program. Today, he is an Associate Director of Advising at MedSchoolCoach.

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