Students who attend and complete medical school will have endured one of the most intense educational processes of any profession. They attend four years of undergraduate work, four years of medical school and three-to-eight years of residency. The total costs involved with medical school can be well over $150,000. Loans may help students manage the financial aspect of their education but they do need to be paid back after graduation. A better option for financing an education in medicine is to apply for school grants. There a number of medical school grants available for students who need financial assistance.
What are Grants?
Grants provide the financial assistance students receive based on financial need for their education. Grants do not need to be repaid unlike college loans. There are four basic resources of grants available to students who demonstrate financial need. These grants resources include federal grants, state grants, private grants, and institutional grants. Pre-med students should begin applying for grants in their undergraduate years and continue to apply for medical school grants throughout their academic career.
Federal grant applications should always be the first step of the grant application process. Students who apply for federal grants need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the gateway application form for all federal grant programs.
The Pell Grant is the best known of the federal grants and may make the difference between being able to attend college or not.
The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant is for undergraduate students who are perusing degrees in the sciences and is an ideal grant for pre-med students in their third or fourth year of undergraduate work.
State grants are also available to residents of their state. Each state is different but well worth researching for applicable grants. Examples of state grants include Apt and TAP in New York or Cal Grants in California.
Institutional grants are available through individual colleges and universities. The financial aid office of the college or university can provide specific information to students about available financial packages.
Private grants are provided by private organizations such as the GE Foundation’s STAR Awards programs or Baptist Memorial Health Care in Tennessee. There are numerous private grants available for pre-med students as well as medical school grants for graduate students.
Once in medical school students may apply for a variety of grants that are specific to medical school students. Many of these grants are specific to specialties and research.
Medical School Grants
Many medical student grants are researched based. These grants are specific to the types of research and education the student is pursuing. Students are encouraged to choose their field of specialty early and apply for all grants applicable to their area of research.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization. In 2011 they distributed $80 million in grants for science education. Individual grants are typically for research purposes.
The New York Academy of Medicine offers grants for students based on specific research projects such as cardiovascular research or urology research.
The National Institute of Health awards ongoing grants for research projects. There are a number of grants available through the NIH for graduate students either directly or through NIH member organizations.
Grants from Medical Associations and Non Profit Organizations
The American Medical Student Association’s Local Project Grants Program provides member students with various projects to train and participate in funded by grants.
The American Medical Association provides a number of grants, awards, and scholarships for medical students.
Minority Medical Students
The American Medical Association’s Minority Affairs Commission has a database of applicable grants and scholarships for all branches of medical students, including dental, psychiatric and public health specialists.
Local or Community Grants
Some grants are provided to students who reside in specific areas. These medical school grants need to be researched based on individual geographic area. An example of some of these grants include the Louis Edward Nicklies Scholarship that may used by residents of Jefferson County, Kentucky or the Allehgeny County Medical Society Medical Student Scholarship for residents of certain counties in Pennsylvania.
For more information, see our list of grants by state, or use the search bar to search for your state.
Medical school grants based on specific student criteria or demographic may also be applicable such as minority and women grants. These grants target specific students pursuing their studies.
Scholarships are also well worth researching and are similar to medical school grants. Many scholarships and grants are interchangeable as the basic criteria are the same. When researching grants students should also research the wide variety of related scholarships.