Medical school scholarships are a great way to cut down the costs of medical school. With the steady rise of in the last two decades, the national average graduating debt in the US is around US$200,000 and CAD$100,000 in Canada. Many students wonder to minimize debt and save some money. In this blog, we'll give you an overview of the types of medical school scholarships available to you and provide a list of the top 50 medical school scholarships. Do not forget to check out the when you research your options!
There are a number of scholarships available for students with excellent academic records, particular research interests, or even for those who identify as part of a minority group. Some towns and cities have scholarships for local students and many universities have their own institutional scholarships.
Let’s look at six types of scholarships you may be eligible for if you are planning to attend medical school in the United States, as well as some scholarships available for students in Canada.
The federal governments in the US and Canada fund some scholarships for eligible medical students.
For instance, you can obtain a full scholarship from the US federal government if you agree to serve in the military or as a doctor in a region of the country with very few physicians.
1. Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)
Go to medical school for free by serving in the , the , or . You can apply for a 4-year or a 3-year scholarship. You must serve a minimum of 3 years as an active duty staff physician, or 1 year for each year of scholarship awarded.
While in medical school, you must focus on your studies and are not required to wear uniform.
These scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis, so you must apply as soon as possible in the fall before attending med school. If you are already in med school and want to apply for a 3-year scholarship, apply in your first year.
With this program, you can study for free when you commit to serve in an area with shortages of primary care providers. It can be a particular geographical area, a specific population group or certain facilities such as federal and state correctional institutions, mental hospitals, or Indian Health Facilities, among others.
You must commit to serving for a minimum of two years of full-time service in exchange for a full year of scholarship support. You would receive a maximum of four years of support.
Do you want a quick recap of different medical school scholarship types?
Each medical school has its own financial aid packages for its incoming and current students, so make sure you check with the Financial Aid Office what scholarships, bursaries, and grants may be available to you.
Although there are many programs based on financial need, there are also funding opportunities based on merit. There are medical schools in the US that award scholarships to students with excellent academic backgrounds and other exceptional characteristics, such as leadership, empathy, community involvement, and responsibility. Eligible students usually have GPAs of 3.7 and above and MCAT scores in the 95th percentile or above.
Let's look at some examples.
UPenn's medical school has two types of scholarships. One is needs-based and another one is merit based. Here we are going to look at the Twenty-First Century Scholars Program, which recognizes student excellence.
UCLA's medical school offers merit-based scholarships to 25% of its medical students.
5. Robert W. Woodruff Fellowships - Emory University School of Medicine
Merit-based scholarships are awarded in various amounts as funds allow.
7. Merit-Based Scholarships - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Almost half (49%) of the most recent class at Vanderbilt School of Medicine graduated without medical school debt, thanks in part to their scholarship program. Vanderbilt offers both merit scholarships and need-based scholarships.
8. Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine offers scholarships to entering students from three different funds based on academic excellence: Rauch Family Leadership Scholarship, The Dean's Tuition Scholarship, and Fullerton Medical Scholarships.
Oliver Goldsmith M.D. Scholarships, awarded by the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Residency Program, seeks to encourage diversity in healthcare by celebrating students’ efforts to support the healthcare of underserved communities.
One mistake many premed students make is focusing only on national or large scholarships that are extremely competitive and hard to get. Unbeknownst to them, there may be money to grab in their hometowns.
It is not uncommon for local high schools, rotary clubs, women's professional organizations, hospitals, and nonprofits to grant medical school scholarships.
Although these scholarships tend to offer small amounts, if you combine a few of them, they can be of great help in paying for medical school.
The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society provides the Allegheny County Medical Society Medical Student Scholarship for medical students who reside in Allegheny County.
This scholarship program from the state of Maryland, is available for students seeking a degree in graduate and professional programs in dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and veterinary medicine.
This scholarship is for students who demonstrate personal motivation for excellence in both character and academic achievement. The scholarship committee evaluates leadership, community involvement, and concern for others. Only one scholarship is awarded per year and previous applicants may reapply.
When you complete your online profile, the system will determine if you're eligible.
This scholarship for residents of Adirondack in New York was started in honor of Dr. U.R. Plante by his family. He practiced medicine from 1916 to 1972. His family hoped that the students who received the scholarship would have the same compassion and concern for their patients as Dr. Plante did.
The DuPage County Medical Society offers medical scholarships for permanent residents of DuPage County in Illinois. The scholarship is intended to encourage residents to practice and advance medicine in this area.
The Muhlenberg Foundation offers two scholarships for residents of Union, Somerset, and Middlesex counties in New Jersey: the Medical Staff Scholarship and the Howard G. Lapsley Scholarship. These are awards to benefit medical students in financial need who aim to practice medicine in local communities.
Created in 1988, this scholarship helps cover the cost of the last year of medical school. It is administered by the Waterbury Medical Association for Connecticut residents with an excellent academic record and stellar resume.
Don't forget about the costs of applying to medical school:
Medical associations, non-profit organizations, and other private institutions often provide cash awards for medical students. They may offer scholarships as part of their mission, or simply to help their student members to go through medical school. Let’s look at some of these private scholarships.
The Physicians of Tomorrow Awards provide financial assistance to medical students facing medical school debt. There are 10 different scholarships (awards) under the Physicians of Tomorrow umbrella.
This annual scholarship is for students pursuing careers in healthcare in accredited, nonprofit colleges/universities in the United States.
Five scholarships are given every year to outstanding students entering their third year of medical school. The students must have shown leadership in efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care, as well as leadership initiative in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.
The Leopold Schepp Foundation awards educational scholarships to students who demonstrate fine character, academic excellence, financial need, compassion, a commitment to volunteerism, and a goal to benefit humankind.
The White Coat Investor's purpose is to “help those who wear the white coat get a fair shake” and The White Coat Investor Scholarship is a way for the entire WCI Community to “pay it forward.” The Scholarship has no endowment fund, so the scholarship money is raised anew every year. The purpose of the scholarship is to directly reduce the indebtedness of a few students and to promote financial literacy in professional schools.
Board Vitals is offering a scholarship for two medical students with a strong academic record and a demonstrated passion for innovations in medicine.
Pacific Medical Training is offering a stipend to aspiring healthcare professionals with an interest in emergency medical care. Their key requirement is an essay about emergency care which will be reviewed by a committee.
DLE Lawyers are car accident lawyers based out of Miami, Florida. They offer the DLE Lawyers Video Scholarship for Aspiring Medical Professionals with the view to support medical professionals, who are often the ones who help to heal and save accident victims.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) foundation offers three scholarships for medical students:
- Dr. Francis Anthony Beneventi Medical Scholarship
- Irene and Daisy MacGregor Memorial Scholarship
- Leslie Andree Hanna Medical Scholarship
These are aimed towards providing financial help to students with stellar academic records.
The Pisacano Scholars Leadership Program offers a range of networking, mentoring and career development opportunities to future leaders of family medicine, including scholarships to help reduce some of the debt incurred towards medical school tuition. Pisacano Scholars get access to a lot of educational programs designed to build their critical thinking, leadership, and healthcare skills in the arena of family medicine. They also get the chance to network with peers and current successful family medicine practitioners.
The Japanese Medical Society of America (JMSA) is a nonprofit organization in the New York region that supports the Japanese and Japanese-American communities with different health initiatives.
JMSA provides scholarships for students and postgraduates in the medical field who demonstrate academic excellence and service to the Japanese community.
As part of their efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the medical profession, many foundations and professional associations have scholarship programs for individuals who come from certain countries or who identify themselves as part of a minority group in the US, such as Asians or Hispanics, among others.
This program is a renewable scholarship that awards 38 qualified 2nd-4th year medical students in the US, who are members of an underrepresented minority group, and can demonstrate leadership and commitment to underserved communities. Recipients must complete a 200-hour self-directed community health project with a community site that they choose.
The CAPS Scholarships are awarded every year to medical students in the US, based on their academic achievements, financial needs, community service records, and essays. CAPS gives preference to students willing to serve the Chinese communities after graduation.
The Vietnamese American Medical Association of Greater Houston (VAMA-GH) is a non-profitorganization for physicians of Vietnamese heritage who live and practice in the Greater Houstonarea. VAMA-GH offers scholarships for medical students to foster interest in serving the Vietnamese American community.
NHHF established the National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship program and its first Gala in New York City for medical, nursing, dental, public health, and pharmacy, and health policy students with outstanding academic records, leadership, and commitment to serving Hispanics. They award between 15 to 20 scholarships every year.
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program is intended for immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States. The purpose is to honor the contributions of continuing generations of immigrants and refugees to the United States.
The National Medical Fellowship (NMF) is an organization that aims to help aspiring physicians and healthcare workers from underrepresented communities so they can contribute in the field of medicine. They offer a number of scholarships and awards. They can be both need- and merit- based. The funding for these scholarships comes from many different foundations as well as philanthropic individuals. Some of their notable scholarships include the Alliant Health Solutions/NMF Alzheimer’s or Related Dementia Care Scholarship, Carl H. & Thelma C. Caison, Sr. Scholarship, Hugh J. Andersen Memorial Scholarship Program, and more. NMF scholarships are most likely to be awarded to those with a stellar record of community service and great leadership potential.
This scholarship was created to encourage diversity in medicine and eliminate healthcare disparities, specifically in the field of cardiology, medical research, and academic medicine. Apart from academic prowess, applicants are judged based on their commitment to the promotion of health for the African-American community, participation in , and demonstrated research skills.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) selects 10,000 Hispanic students from different programs, including medical students, as scholars every year. These students are eligible for the HSF scholarships, but they can also avail other support services and resources such as mentorship, career services, leadership development, wellness training, and more.
The Indian Health Service, or the IHS, awards the Health Professions Scholarships to American Indian and Alaska Native students enrolled in professional courses in health care fields. This program was started in 1978 with the aim to support and place health care professionals of Native heritage in the underserved American Indian health programs. They are looking for passionate medical students who are dedicated to improving health care in their communities. Students will receive financial help in return for a minimum two-year service commitment within an Indian health program in their applicable professional field.
The Brown Medical and Education foundation offers multiple scholarships, including their Healthcare Scholarship to help support the medical costs for students committed to improving healthcare in underrepresented communities.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago provides funds to offset the tuition costs of meritorious Jewish students in need of financial assistance, completing their study in medicine.
The Chinese American Medical Society, or CAMS, offers grants to meritorious Chinese American medical students in need of financial aid.
In this category, you will find medical school scholarships for women and members of the LGBTQ community.
The mission of the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) is to advance women in medicine, advocate for equity, and ensure excellence in health care. The AMWA’s scholarship and loan program began in 1925 at the Annual Meeting in Atlantic City with two gifts, one of $1000, and one of $500. This became the start of the Scholarship Fund.
Women in Medicine (WIM) awards two LGBTQ Leadership Scholarships to female medical students who demonstrate leadership in LGBT-related organizations during school.
The Zonta Club of Washington, D.C. awarded the first medical scholarship in 1965 and has awarded over $1.3 million to deserving recipients. From the estate of Dr. Edith SeVille Coale, the Zonta Club awards scholarships to women medical students every year.
Point Foundation (Point) grants higher education scholarships to LGBTQ students. Recipients are paired with a mentor and participate in leadership development programs and events. Applicants are assessed by their track record of leadership and community involvement, academic achievement, work for the betterment of the LGBTQ community, and financial need.
AAUW awards Selected Professions Fellowships to women completing their fellowship year in specific degree programs where women’s participation has historically been low. This program was established in 1970 and over the years, it has expanded into include many different professions. Medical students in their third and fourth year are eligible to apply.
Wellesley College offers the M.A. Cartland Shackford Medical Fellowship for medical students with a focus on general practice, not psychiatry. It is based on merit as well as need.
The Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewski Medical Scholarship provides financial aid to women of Polish ancestry in completing their MD.
Here are some tips for how to pay off your medical school debt:
in Montreal has numerous scholarships and awards for new students, research awards for undergraduate medicine, needs-based scholarships, bursaries and loans, and undergraduate medicine prizes and medals.
One of the programs for entering students is the Anjna and Jogindar Majhail Scholarship.
The CMA Foundation provides annual funding to every medical school in Canada to help students with financial need. The awards recognize student leaders who demonstrate the values of professionalism, including honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, accountability, collaboration and a commitment to self-improvement.
These merit-based scholarships look at academic achievement, community involvement, or leadership. Students must be connected to a club, trade union, company, geographic region, or demographic group.
1. How do I pay for medical school? What are my options?
First, examine your current financial situation and commit to paying off your undergraduate loans and credit card balances before entering medical school. Start by tapping into your personal network, such as family, or other benefactors. Then apply for scholarships and grants, which is free money you don’t have to pay back. Once you’ve tried these options and still require funding, look at student loans, such as federal and private loans.
2. Where can I find more scholarships and grants available for medical students?
3. Should I take a student loan to finance medical school?
If the scholarships and grants you obtain are not enough to pay tuition and costs, you may have to apply for a student loan. Federal loans have better repayment terms and interest rates are fixed and lower than private loans.
4. Are there medical school scholarships available for international students?
Yes. Although many of the medical school scholarships listed here require applicants to be US citizens or residents, others are available for all entering students, no matter their nationality.
5. Can I get a “full ride” to medical school?
6. What are the deadlines to apply for medical school scholarships?
Each scholarship program has its own deadlines, and the exact dates can vary every year, so make sure you check the program’s website for the most current information.
7. Do I need to be accepted or be in medical school already to obtain a medical school scholarship?
Most medical school scholarships do require that you are either an accepted incoming student or a current full-time medical students. Institutional scholarship programs are available only for matriculants.
8. How do I increase my chances of getting a medical school scholarship?
You can increase your chances of obtaining a merit-based scholarship if you can demonstrate academic excellence (high GPA and test scores), leadership, community involvement, and strong letters of recommendation. These are the things you should consider years in advance and work on during your undergraduate program, so you’ll be in a better position to apply for a scholarship when entering medical school.