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Financial Fitness

Overall costs of medical education continue to increase and students must determine how they will finance their education and what funding resources are available to help them meet their goal. 

Through the Financial Aid Office at The School of Medicine, funding sources are limited to federal loans and work-study programs, institutional scholarships and loans, and limited state scholarship funding.

In many cases, employment is not the best option for many students because of their program requirements.  Institutional and state scholarship funding is limited, which means students have to rely on borrowing loans to help offset education costs.  In the School of Medicine, 49% of the student’s budget is funded by loans.  Therefore, it is important that the Financial Aid Office assist the student to manage the increased loan debt by providing the tools, strategies, tips and advice to make knowledgeable decisions to help control their education debt.

What federal programs are available?

  • Federal Direct Stafford - Unsubsidized loan
  • Federal Graduate/Plus Loan
  • Federal Work-Study

What institutional programs are available?

  • Institutional Scholarships
  • Institutional Loans

What Maryland state scholarship programs are available?

  • Senatorial Scholarships
  • Delegate Scholarships
  • MD Graduate/Professional Scholarship 

All of these programs require some form of application for consideration of eligibility.  In addition to these programs, students are encouraged to explore external scholarship sources to help fund their educational cost, thereby reducing the amount of loan borrowing. 

Loan borrowing is a necessary part of graduate education financing.  Your approach to how you handle and control your finances will make a difference in your lifestyle now or in the future.

What about private alternative loans?

In some cases, the above funding sources are not sufficient to meet the student’s financial need.  Students with higher costs because of family, housing, etc., may have to borrow from private alternative funding sources.  These loans usually have higher interest rates and offer very few benefits as compared to the federal loans.  Therefore, these loans should only be used as a last resort as a funding option.

These loans are credit based.  It is important for students to have a good credit report free of default or delinquency to prevent having a co-signer to qualify for the loan.

The School of Medicine Financial Aid Office will review all options of funding with the student before suggesting this funding option.

Tips: Something to think about

  • Develop a realistic budget to live by -- and stick to it!
  • Keep good records.  Maintain all loan material in a single file
  • Review your credit report.  Learn the importance of your credit rating
  • Limit the number of credit cards that you carry -- out of sight, out of mind!
  • Pay your credit card balances off each month if you can
  • Outline your professional and personal goals -- review yearly
  • Be smart about your loan choices
    • Borrow only what you need
    • Check interest rates to select the best loan
    • Know your repayment and the deferment options
    • Read information about your loan choices
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