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Premedical Office
Xavier University
1 Drexel Drive
Box 120C
New Orleans, LA 70125

Full-Time Staff
Quo Vadis Maria Webster, MA, LPC
Premedical Adviser
xupremed@yahoo.com
(504) - 520-7437
Part-Time Staff
 
JW Carmichael, Jr.
Director of Premed Program
Professor of Chemistry
 
 
 
 
 

 

Premed

Paying for Medical/Dental School

This document is intended to help students accepted into medical or dental school find the financial support needed to pay for a medical, dental, etc. school.

General-TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch)

  • Bad News #1: Medical or dental education in the United States is now so expensive that very few students (or their families) can afford to pay the costs directly.
  • Bad News #2: Even the application process is expensive. It will cost you $750 or so to apply to the recommended 8 to 10 medical schools and more $$ to go to interviews.
  • Bad News #3: There is very little "free" money for medical or dental school--i.e. very few scholarships.
  • Bad News #4: Medical and dental schools generally take a very conservative stance in evaluating the portion of expenses which you can provide. Your family is generally expected to help even if you are independent. Further, many schools expect your family to help without regard to your age or martial status.
  • Bad News #5: Given the rising cost of health care and a populace who perceive that physicians and dentists make lots of $$, it is unlikely that any of the above "bad news items" will change in the near future.
  • The Good News: Even though a medical or dental education is expensive and there is no free money, money IS available to attend medical or dental school in the form of loans or "pay back" programs in which you agree to service for some period of time after graduation in exchange for the $$ to pay for your education. Further, no Xavier student has ever failed to matriculate at a medical or dental school because of lack of money. Therefore, you should not allow the $$ situation to discourage you from going to medical or dental school. If you are really interested in being a physician or a dentist, you should be willing to pay back.

Our advice about letting cost influence your decision as to where to go: It is our opinion that you shouldn't let money influence you as to which school you will attend. You should choose a school entirely on the basis of where you think you will fit in and where you think you are most likely to do well. Instead of worrying about paying for it, think of a medical/dental education as an investment (like buying a house) and do whatever you can to maximize your chance of success. You may not have as much $$ as you want, but enough to make it through will be available from some source.

What you should do to make certain $$ is available: The financial aid available varies greatly from school to school. Therefore, the best thing to do is to decide where you want to go as soon as possible after acceptance and then talk with the financial aid officer of that school to work out specifics. (A commercial from XU's Premedical Office: This is easy if you a) keep you grades up at XU and b) apply early so you get accepted early.) However, there are some things which you should do by Christmas of the year you will be applying no matter what school you choose. They are:

  • Access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid--FAFSA and complete it by February 15. For details and a FAFSA application, go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ . Please note that almost all medical, dental, etc. schools require that you complete this form to get any money--even scholarships or loans. Therefore, don't delay in doing it!! And, even though students applying to graduate and professional school programs are considered "independent" for FAFSA, health profession students may still be required to provide their parents' information on the application.
  • Explore information regarding special scholarships awarded to students by health professions organizations (e.g. AAMC, ADEA, AACOM,AMA, etc.). For example, the National Medical Fellowships are awarded to first and second year minority medical students. You may also obtain information by visiting http://www.aamc.org.
  • Check out the AAMC's special website with info about financing a medical education at http://www.aamc.org/students/considering/financial.htm . The AAMC also publishes a special booklet giving advice to medical students regarding managing debt. Go to http://www.aamc.org/students/financing/start.htm for more information. This information is helpful regardless of the type of health professions school you plan on attending, but you may refer to the official websites of the schools you are interested in for financial aid information.
  • Get information regarding the Armed Services Health Professions Scholarships and decide if you are interested in applying for one of these. They pay for all tuition and books plus provide a living stipend in exchange for your commitment to serve some period of time as a physician or dentist in the service after receiving your degree. The local addresses are:

    A warning note about ROTC and the Armed Services Health Professions Scholarships: ROTC recruiters sometimes imply that serving in ROTC guarantees you one of the Army, Navy, or Airforce Health Professions Scholarships above. This, however, is not true. The Health Professions Scholarship programs are totally separate from ROTC and related only in the sense that both are federal programs. Please note that this is not a condemnation of ROTC. The scholarships which they provide are the only way some students can complete college. Instead, we merely advise that a) you get promises in writing and b) if you must sell your services to pay for a medical or dental education, don't sell your services too cheaply!!

  • The National Health Service Corps!! Get information about the National Health Service Corps. Like the Armed Forces Health professions Scholarships, it pays for tuition and books as well as provides a stipend of for living expenses. In exchange, after graduation you work for the federal government one year for each year you had the scholarship in an underserved area such as a a low-income area, a federal prison, an Indian reservation, etc. Go to http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/ for more information on the National Health Service Corps.
  • Inquire about medical school programs for students who are interested in becoming primary care physicians, serving in a rural area, etc. For example, medical students who follow the "Rural Scholars Track" at LSU-New Orleans Medical School agree to train as primary care physicians in rural areas of Louisiana in exchange for tuition exemption. A similar program is available at U of Mississippi Medical School called the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program. Be sure to check with schools in your home state to see if any special scholarship programs are available to residents.
  • Check with the Department of Education in your home state. Most states have extra kinds of financial aid for students who meet certain qualifications. For example, Mississippi will pay the out-of-state part of the medical school tuition if MS residents who apply to Ole Miss but are not accepted get into a school elsewhere; Illinois has special scholarships for Illinois residents who go to medical school in Illinois if students promise to practice in an underserved area in the state, etc.
  • If you are going to a school that is located in a state adjacent to or near your home state, you should contact them to see if your state has any special arrangements to help pay for tuition.
  • Check with medical groups, churches, etc. in your hometown to see if there are any special funds.

Good luck!! Remember, the $$ to go to medical, dental, etc. school IS available. If you have to take loans to obtain your career goal--do it!

NOTE: BAD CREDIT CAN HURT YOUR APPLICATION/CHANCES OF GAINING ENTRY: In recent years, medical, dental, etc. schools have indicated that applicant credit history may be factored into the application review process. Why? Because bad credit suggests that you may not be able to meet the financial demands of a professional school education and may deter private and federal lending institutions from approving you for loans to finance your education. Do NOT let bad credit hinder you from realizing your goals....be responsible!!

 

 

 
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