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The high cost of medical school makes taking out medical school loans a necessity for many future doctors.
You should always use federal student loans first because they have lower interest rates, provide many repayment options, and may be eligible for forgiveness.
Once you have hit federal student loan limits, the next step is to shop around for a private medical student loan to cover the rest of your costs.
On this page:
- Compare Medical School Loans
- Federal Loans for Medical School
- Private Loans for Medical School
- Medical School Loan FAQs
Compare Medical School Loans
|Loan/Company||Rates (APR)||Loan Amount|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loan*||6.08%||Varies|
|Grad PLUS Loan*||7.08%||Varies|
|College Ave||1.79% – 9.75%||$1,000 – $150,000|
|Earnest||2.79% – 12.78%||$1,000 – 100% of school-certified expenses|
|Citizens Bank||1.95% – 9.49%||$1,000 – $350,000|
|LendKey||3.10% – 11.24%||$1,000 – $160,000|
|Ascent||3.41% – 15.00%||$1,000 – $200,000|
*This is a federal student loan.
Federal Loans for Medical School
You should get the maximum amount of federal student aid first, possibly with the exception of PLUS Loans depending on your situation. This is because:
- You can get loans at low fixed interest rates. Federal student loan rates are set each year and your rate won’t change for the entire time you’re repaying the loan. Stafford loan rates are typically lower than those on PLUS Loans and most private loans.
- You have a lot of flexibility in repayment. You can change your payment plan as needed and choose an income-driven repayment plan or a plan where payments gradually increase over time. Putting loans into forbearance or deferment is also an option.
- Loan forgiveness options are available. Loans can be forgiven for public service work or if you’ve made enough payments on an income-driven plan.
- Your credit doesn’t matter. For most federal loans—with the exception of PLUS Loans—your credit history doesn’t matter in determining your eligibility.
If you can get a lower rate with a private loan than the Grad PLUS Loan rate of 7.08%, then that may be a better option since it will cost less over time and most doctors don’t need access to federal repayment benefits.
You can apply for federal medical school loans by completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
Best Private Medical School Loans
We researched and reviewed medical school loans to help you find your best fit. Here are our picks for the best medical school loans from our partners.
4.35% – 9.95%
1.24% – 8.99%
$1,000 – $150,000
LendEDU Rating: 5/5
College Ave is a private student lender offering a variety of loan products for different educational experiences. The company offers loans specifically for students who are attending medical school. Here is some more important information about College Ave’s medical school loans:
- Fixed Rates (APR): 3.98% – 9.75%
- Variable Rates (APR): 1.79% – 8.69%
- Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $150,000
- Repayment Terms: 5, 8, 10, 15, or 20 years
- In-school repayment options: Options include deferment, $25 monthly payments, monthly interest payments, and full payments.
- Grace Period: 36 months
- Cosigner Release: After 24 consecutive on-time payments.
- Unique benefits: Apply and receive your credit decision within 3 minutes.
4.00% – 10.99%
1.24% – 9.89%
$1,000 – 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
LendEDU Rating: 4.8/5
Earnest is an online lender that offers private student loans and refinances existing student loans. The company has a medical school loan for students pursuing a career in the field. Here is some important information about these loans:
- Fixed Rates (APR): 4.49% – 12.78%
- Variable Rates (APR): 2.79% – 11.44%
- Loan Amounts: $1,000 – 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
- Soft-Credit Check: You can get a quote from Earnest after a soft credit check. The company performs a hard credit check when you submit an application.
- Repayment Terms: 5, 7, 10, 12, or 15 years
- In-school repayment options: Options include deferment, monthly interest payments, $25 monthly payments, and full payments.
- Grace Period: 9 months
- Cosigner Release: Earnest does not offer cosigner release, but you may be able to refinance without a cosigner.
- Unique benefits: You can skip one payment per year.
4.29% – 8.84%
1.42% – 8.32%
$1,000 – $225,000
LendEDU Rating: 4.4/5
Citizens Bank is a retail bank offering loans for a variety of purposes online. Medical and dental students, as well as those studying in other healthcare fields, are eligible for the company’s health professional student loans. More information about these loans can be found below.
- Fixed Rates (APR): 4.40% – 9.49%
- Variable Rates (APR): 1.95% – 7.58%
- Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $350,000
- Soft Credit Check: You can get a rate quote with a soft credit check. If you apply for multi-year approval, you can take out loans after your first year without a hard credit check.
- Repayment Terms: 5 years
- In-school Repayment Options: Options include deferment, interest-only payments, or full payments
- Grace Period: 6 months
- Cosigner Release: After 36 consecutive on-time payments.
- Unique Benefits: You’ll have access to physical branches.
4.74% – 11.85%
1.25% – 9.44%
$1,000 – $160,000
LendEDU Rating: 4/5
LendKey is an online platform that connects borrowers with banks and credit unions that can help them. LendKey has a single private student loan product for all undergraduates and graduates. Here’s some important information about LendKey’s student loans:
- Fixed Rates (APR): 4.86% – 10.49%
- Variable Rates (APR): 3.84% – 10.56%
- Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $160,000
- Soft Credit Check: You can get a rate quote with a soft credit check.
- Repayment Terms: 5 years
- In-school Repayment Options: Options include $25 per month or a monthly interest payment.
- Grace Period: 6 months
- Cosigner Release: After 12 – 36 consecutive on-time payments.
- Unique Benefits: Get a loan from a credit union instead of a bank or lender.
6.14% – 11.92%
5.33% – 11.42%
$1,000 – $200,000
LendEDU Rating: 4/5
Ascent is a student lender that offers a loan specifically for students pursuing a medical degree. Borrowers can apply with or without a cosigner depending on whether or not they meet the eligibility requirements. Here is more information on the Ascent Medical Student Loan.
- Fixed Rates (APR): 5.88% – 15.00%
- Variable Rates (APR): 5.20% – 14.18%
- Loan Amounts: $1,000 – $200,000
- Soft Credit Check: You can qualify and see your rate with a soft credit check.
- Repayment Terms: 5, 10, or 15 years
- In-school Repayment Options: Your options include monthly interest payments, monthly payments of $25, or deferred repayment.
- Grace Period: 36 months
- Unique Benefits: The company offers borrowers 1% cash back upon graduation.
>> Read More: Other types of student loans
Medical School Loan FAQs
1) Which loans should I use for medical school?
You should first use federal Stafford Loans to pay for medical school as these have low, fixed interest rates and many repayment benefits.
After that, you should either use a federal Grad PLUS Loan or a private student loan depending on which you can get a lower rate with and if you’ll need federal repayment benefits.
If you think you’ll be dependent on federal repayment options like income-driven repayment plans or if you hope to qualify for forgiveness, a PLUS Loan is likely the better option.
>> Read More: Physician Assistant Student Loans
2) Do medical school loans require a cosigner?
No federal student loans require (or allow for) a cosigner as these are not dependent on your credit score. When applying for PLUS Loans, your credit history will be checked for adverse actions like bankruptcy, but eligibility isn’t based directly on your score.
Eligibility for private medical school loans, on the other hand, is highly dependent on your credit score. If you haven’t had a chance to build a good credit score, you will likely need a cosigner. Some lenders, like Ascent and Funding U, offer loans to medical students without cosigners, however.
3) Can medical school loans be used for living expenses?
Yes, most student loans can be used for living expenses including both federal and private options. Just try limiting the amount of debt you take on as you will have to pay it back with interest over time.
4) When does repayment on medical school loans begin?
Most student loans don’t require repayment until six months after you graduate or leave school. This time period is often referred to as the grace period. Some lenders offer longer grace periods on medical school loans like College Ave (36 months) and Earnest (9 months).
5) What should I consider when repaying medical school loans?
The most important thing to do is to understand your loans: how much your total balance is, what your required monthly payments are, and what they will cost you over time. This will help ensure you stay on top of repayment and can get help if you run into trouble. If you do have any questions or concerns, talking to your servicer is the best option.
If you want to pay off your loans faster, you can do so by making larger payments than required. This will help you save over time because less interest will accrue and will shorten your total repayment time.
Another popular way to save is to refinance medical school loans. Once you’ve secured a full-time job and have had a chance to build your credit score, you will likely qualify for lower interest rates than you originally received. Just be aware that if you refinance federal student loans, you will lose access to those benefits.
Author: Christy Rakoczy