Episode 6: Medical school scholarships, tuition-for-hire, and military exchange programs. Get real quotes and understand the financial burdens of getting a medical education in the United States. ==================================================== In this episode, ANNOUNCEMENTS AVERAGE DEBTS AND INTEREST SCENARIOS THE RULE OF THUMB FOR MED SCHOOL MONEY MINORITY SCHOLARSHIPS UNDERSERVED AREA & SPECIALTY SCHOLARSHIPS PAYING DOWN YOUR DEBT EARLY BENEFITS FOR JOINING THE MILITARY BENEFITS FOR PRIOR MILITARY QUICK REFERENCES: Vanderbilt, AAMC, NSLDS, Dave Ramsey ==================================================== Announcements: * I have been getting requests to provide critical appraisals and feedback on personal statements by multiple people outside of the CD of the Month Club. While had originally not planned to do this, some of them are making attractive offers – paying even more than would cost them through the $17 CD Club. Therefore, I’m temporarily agreeing to do this on an individual basis. The reason for the discretion is the volume of questions I receive and sheer number of listeners that only a few months of podcasting has brought. The demand on a resident’s time makes it impossible to help everyone. I hope you understand. Financial Assistance For Medical School: An Oxymoron? Nothing in life is free. Most people want to know if there is a scholarship available for medical school. Let’s discuss an overriding principle first, before we get into the details of money-saving strategies. Society doesn’t feel sorry enough for the medical student’s plight to pay for their education. A lot of people perceive physicians as making a lot of money so they feel like medical students will eventually be able to pay their loan debts. The loan companies make a fortune off of us and love to give us as many loans as possible, though it’s not always enough. Remember this rule of thumb as you read further about tuition help that does exist. At the time of this writing, the average cost of medical school at state-supported institutions is $12,000 – $20,000 per year and $35,000 – $42,000 for private schools. You can do the math and see that after you calculate living expenses the average debt at the end of 4 years of medical school is $120,000 – $200,000. If you’re carrying over undergraduate debt, it’s possible to max out at $250,000. Unfortunately, that’s not all. Compounding interest during residency, while you can only afford the minimum payments or the loan is on deferment, can add more than $50,000. Have I gotten your attention? There are a number of ways to mitigate this debt. Let’s take some of the most common ways and discuss them each in turn. The most common way to get financial help * Minority Scholarships. Very few of these exist but I found a few when I was searching diligently online as a PreMed. * Underserved Area Contracts. Some states offer tuition payments for an agreement that you’ll work as a physician in their underserved areas for some length of time. Commonly, they’ll pay you competitively while you work there and trade one year of tuition for one year of service. Sometimes there are specialty-specific offers, such as Texas’ Family Practice program that is heavily promoted. This, then, specifies the specialty and location you have to work in to pay back the “debt”. Watch for the fine print. You may have to pay back the money if you don’t fulfill the contract. This is also true of military monies, but are easier to back out of. * International bank of dad. You’re fortunate if you can have family help. If so, use it. The key is to get your debt down early after your education or you’ll wind up paying 200-300% more than you borrowed! * Benefits for joining the military: * o Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP): This is the premier military scholarship program for doctorate programs. They offer both stipends and full tuition payment! Specifics vary among military branches. * o Sign-on bonuses. Joining any military branch these days will nearly guarantee you some form of a sign-on bonus. There is a catch, though, because you get it in installments and often after some amount of service (usually 1 year before the full payment). * o Debt repayment. Another attractive offer the Defense Department uses is a college loan repayment program. If you sign up for a military commitment, college loans that you already have can be eligible for repayment by the military. In recent years they have offered $40,000 – $50,000 with, of course, payout timeline catches. * o Residency stipends. If you join the military during residency, you don’t have to go to any training, can get monthly payments (stipends) upwards of $1,400 per month. Like most military commitments, there will be a specific amount of years that you have to repay with military service for each year you receive the stipend. Commonly this relationship is one year of receiving monthly payments requiring 2 years of military commitment. * Benefits for prior military: * o GI bill. This is an older, classic form of education financial assistance for persons who have served in the military. Usually you prove you’re in school half- or full-time and they send you money. I believe it’s possible for the funds to be released directly to your school. There is a limit on how many credit hours you can use. For example, I maximized this benefit after one year in medical school, having used it all the way through college. For me it was capped at 150 semester hours or 1,500 contact hours (calculated differently). Of note, one semester of medical school was rated at an equivalent of 64 college credit hours. That’s right, 64! * o Military (Army) College fund. This is an add-on benefit to the GI bill that is really indistinguishable. I think the original GI bill benefit was for approximately $15,000. “College funds” are the mechanism by which the Defense Department offers the larger amounts of money for college. Lately, the amounts have been $40,000 – $60,000 (including the GI bill amount). Of course, they bank on the majority that never use it up. I did. * o Hazelwood act (and the like). Some states offer further financial assistance to veterans after they’ve used up the federal monies. These usually favor state-supported schools with tuition exemption in graduate (i.e., medical) school. ==================================================== QUICK REFERENCE: Vanderbilt’s Financial Aid Website (explore this site for great summaries of types of financial aid): http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/medschool/finaid/finaid_for_med.php American Association of Medical Colleges: http://www.aamc.org/students/considering/financial.htm National Student Loan Data System for Students: http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/ Dave Ramsey’s Live Debt Free site: http://www.daveramsey.com/ ==================================================== Charity of the Month for June 2008: Widows Harvest Ministries (http://www.widows.org/) will receive all donations made in the upper left hand corner of www.MedicalMastery.com. Charity Mission Statement: To “plead the case of, provide assistance to, and promote the spiritual growth and ministry of widows.” ==================================================== Mission Statement “Medical Mastery seeks to podcast meaning into medical education by combining faith, high-quality lectures, and charity.”