Not to state the obvious, but top medical schools aren’t cheap. Let’s take a closer look at costs for students earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree. Keep in mind, that while your education may be costly, the end reward is worth it. Depending on your specialty, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates you can earn from $184,570-$271,440 annually. The mean average for physicians in 2020 was $208,000 per year.
Med School Tuition and Fees
As a general rule, public or state medical schools tend to be less expensive compared to private schools. In May, 2021, U.S. News and World Report quoted an Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) report citing the median, four year cost for a public school in 2019-2020 was $250,222. Private schools tuition and fees ran $330,180.
Depending on the source, average medical school costs can vary but all are within the same ballpark. According to U.S. News and World Report, average yearly costs were $70,335 for a private medical school in 2020-21 with publicly supported schools in the same timeframe, averaging $37,387. A private, academic consulting firm suggests a $39,150 yearly cost for in-state charges and $64,053 in-state for a private school.
A tuition sampling by U.S. News and World Report shows the costliest, private medical schools in 2020-21 were Midwestern University in Illinois at $74,035 with Georgetown University at the low end at $67,875. In comparison, the least expensive public schools range from University of Texas Health Science Center at $32,997 to University of California-San Diego charging $50,528 a year.
You may also want to explore schools, like NYC’s Grossman School of Medicine which offers a remarkable tuition-free scholarship for all current and future medical students. This means, in 2021-22, regardless of your financial need, the school waives the $58,226 tuition.
Tuition and fees are one piece of the monetary puzzle of medical school. The AAMC explains other medical school financial outlays you may face which we’ve condensed below:
Applications, Exams, Miscellaneous Costs
Many medical schools use the American Association of Medical Colleges Application Service (AAMCAS®) centralized admission application. Costs for this service, which allows you to apply several schools at once, with an application fee of $170 for the first school and $42 for each additional.
Most schools ask for secondary applications with fees ranging between $75-$150 per application. If you apply with the AAMCAS, you may qualify for its Fee Assistance Program.
You’ll need to take the Medical College Admission Test ® (MCAT®) exam at a cost of $320 which also covers distributing your scores to colleges and universities.
Lastly, you may incur miscellaneous costs applying for medical school. These costs can include travel and accommodations for school interviews.
Of course, you’ll have living and personal expenses, as well as books and supplies, in addition to these fixed costs.
Paying For Med School
Once you’ve made your decision to attend medical school, chosen your school, it’s time to investigate what it’s going to cost and how you’ll pay for it.
A three step approach may be helpful. First, apply for scholarships, grants, assistantships, etc. or other money you don’t have to repay. Second, apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which can help you identify federal loans and/or grants for which you qualify as well as assistance from your state or school. You’ll want to contact the school’s Financial Aid Office to discuss your options.Finally, there are private medical school loans available through banks or other financial institutions.
Possible Financial Sources
National Health Service Corps offers scholarships with a commitment to a minimum two years of full-time service in exchange for a full year of scholarship support.
Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force requiring you to serve, generally, one year on active duty for every year of the scholarship received (“1-for-1”)
Professional Student Exchange Program financial assistance for students living in 10 western U.S. States