Financing Professional School

You’ve did it!  You’ve been accepted to professional school!  You are one step closer to your dreams!  In the midst of that large acceptance packet, I’m sure there were instructions for filling out your FAFSA to apply for thousands and thousands of dollars worth of student loans.  The truth is, the majority of professional school students fund his/her education with loans without considering other options. While admittedly there are fewer options for “free money” for professional school, ( compared to undergraduate education) there are some.

  1. Federal and State Funding

For decades, the NHSC has offered full tuition benefits in exchange for 4 years of practice in an underserved area after completion of residency training.  These awards are limited to primary care specialities ( family medicine, obstetrics / gyn, pediatrics, internal medicine,  general dentistry) .  Next week, check out this month’s alumni profile to learn about Dr. Kiesha Fraser – Doh and her experiences as a NHSC scholar. To learn more about the NHSC scholars program, visit their website.

List of loan repayment and scholarship programs for medicine

Link to state and federal repayment options for dentistry

2. Military Service

Military service is another popular option, providing compensation for a commitment to serving your country by providing medical care of members of the armed forces and their families. Each branch of the military offers the Health Professions Scholarship program.  See the links below for details.



Air Force

3. Institutional Scholarships

Most professional institutions have money ear marked for scholarships for students with exceptional academic performance or unmet financial need. Consideration for these scholarships is sometimes being done simultaneously while admissions committees are making decisions of who to accept.  These are usually not awards students apply for, but rather, get notified that they have received.  So, how do you qualify for these awards?  Some awards are merit based.  Other criteria for institutional awards vary, but may include: a demonstrated desire to practice in underserved areas, financial need, member of an underrepresented minority group.

Some schools are notorious for providing scholarships to students. For those of you who are preparing to apply this year or next year, you may want to consider these schools as you generate your list of schools to which you will apply.   The University of Virginia, Washington University in St. Louis, and Vanderbilt school of Medicine, Mayo Clinic are some of the institutions that offer merit based scholarships.  Also peruse this listing provided by USNews listing medical schools that offer  the most financial aid.

4. Private scholarships

There are many organizations will offer private scholarships.  These awards typically do not cover the total expense for professional education, but every little bit counts.  A good place to start is the professional organization for your desired career.

American Medical Association

American Dental association

National Medical Association / National Medical Fellowship     ( see this link as well )

Student National Medical Association

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education

Specific  Organizations and Awards include:

List of scholarships offered by private organizations in the field of medicine:

American Medical Association (AMA)

1. Minority Scholars Award and  Physicans of tomorrow scholarship program

Tylenol Future care scholarship

List of Scholarships from UCI’s financial aid department

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

List of scholarships offered by private organizations in the field of dentistry:

American Student Dental Association:

American Dental Education Association  


List of several scholarshi p offers from

List of scholarships offered by private organizations in the field of pharmacy:

(At first glance this list is outdated and seems useless, but it’s not.  If these organizations gave scholarships last year, they will likely be offering awards for the upcoming year.  The value of this link is that it identifies organizations that are willing to offer funds.  Check the actual websites for the organizations listed to see when the application cycle opens up for 2014 – 2015 awards)

Tylenol Future care scholarship


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