Funding Your Education
Costs of Applying
What To Expect
Applying to a health program is expensive. Expect to pay for:
- entrance examinations
- standardized test preparation books, classes or tutors
- online letter dossiers such as Interfolio
- resources about programs (such as the MSAR)
- centralized application fees
- secondary application fees
- travel, accommodation and professional attire for interviews (can vary significantly)
Reflect on your learning style. What do you need to optimize your preparation? A helpful rule of thumb is that lower cost options (i.e. self-study, group study, online self-scheduled lectures) generally require you to provide all study structure and discipline, while more costly options (i.e. in-person or online scheduled courses, tutors) tend to offer external study structures and additional resources. Similarly, online courses are often less costly, while in-person courses can provide helpful motivation from a teacher and peers.
You will save money during the application process if you avoid applying to programs that do not make sense for you in the long term. If you are not sure which schools to choose, discuss your choices with your prehealth adviser.
Saving on Interview Expenses
Attire: Smith's Lazarus Center for Career Development has a "Suit Yourself" program, which allows current Smith students to rent attire for interviews.
Travel: Smith Aid Society Funding for Interview Travel
- Group interview dates to minimize airfare. If you are offered an interview in a region where you have multiple applications, it is acceptable to contact adjacent schools to let them know you will be in the area.
- Stay with friends, family or acquaintances when you travel. Some schools also offer the option of staying with a current medical student.
- Public transportation is considerably cheaper than taxis or shuttles
Mitigating Application Expenses
Fee Assistance Programs
Centralized application services often partner with health profession schools to waive fees associated with the application process. These programs have strict income level eligibility requirements. Health profession programs may also offer independent fee waivers.
Costs of Attending
Most students do not work while attending professional school, making the time potentially financially difficult. There are many ways to reduce your cost of living. The Board of Prehealth Advisers does not endorse a specific strategy for saving money but encourages health profession students to plan carefully and budget wisely.
Expect to spend money on tuition, textbooks and certification examinations.
Additional costs include groceries, housing, utilities and transportation. Some programs will have additional costs to apply and interview for a residency position.
Some programs will allow you to forgo or pay back tuition costs, but with stringent conditions. These programs should be researched thoroughly before you decide to commit to the application process.
- Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP): Army, Navy, Air Force
- National Health Service Corps
- Indian Health Service Corps
- Additional scholarships may be researched on the FinAid website.
Determining Funding Needs
Seek financial aid information from the schools where you apply. Understanding the average debt of a graduating student, funding availability for research, average student loan per year, and the average award of loans and scholarships will allow you to plan accordingly. Most students will take out significant loans to fund their professional education. Research the costs of school ahead of time and take reputable loans that have favorable interest rates, repayment plans, processing fees and deferment options.
Note: If you default on credit card or other payments you will jeopardize your eligibility for loan programs, and some schools may not allow you to matriculate.
- AAMC Financial Aid Information (for medical school students)
- ADEA Financial Aid Information (for dental school students)
- AACN Financial Aid Information (for nursing school students)
- AACOM Financial Aid Information (for osteopathic medical school students)
- PAEA Financial Aid Information (for physician assistant school students)
- Determine your estimated family contribution for FAFSA
- AAMC Guide to Paying for Medical School
- Government Loan Information