Whether you are looking into which schools to apply for or already have your acceptance letters back, it’s no doubt you have nothing but medical school admissions on the brain…but have you given enough thought to what happens once you actually get into the medical school of your dreams?
You’ll invest a lot of money attending medical school for four years—not to mention what you’ll have already spent on primary and secondary applications. The cost of medical school adds up quickly. So, just how much can you expect to pay?
According to the AAMC, the average cost of attendance for one year at a public medical school (including tuition, fees, and health insurance) was $34,592 for in-state students and $58,668 for out-of-state students in 2016–2017. Tuition and fees at a private school averages well over $50,000 a year regardless of whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Unfortunately, public and private medical schools both increased costs from the previous years.
These numbers represent solely the amount charged by the universities, which means that cost-of-living, books, food, and housing are not included. Even a thrifty student who cuts costs will incur certain necessary expenses outside of what they’ll pay to attend. Plan your medical school budget accordingly!
Not all medical schools are that expensive, however. For example, according to U.S. News & World Report’s list of least expensive public medical schools, the Texas A&M Health Science Center costs only $16,432 for in-state tuition. U.S. News also includes University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, University of North Texas Health Science Center, University of New Mexico, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center on their list, given that in-state tuition and fees at these institutions has remained less than $20,000 per year.
If you’re not able to get in-state tuition in Texas, you may want to consider going to one of the most affordable private medical schools such as Baylor College of Medicine ($31,663 per year), Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine ($32,985 per year), or the University of Pikeville ($41,320 per year).
Even though the cheapest private school option is still twice as much as the cheapest public school option, more affordable private schools are nonetheless not a bad deal—especially considering how expensive the cost of medical school can get.
Tufts University holds the record for being the most expensive medical school, with a whopping $61,436 per year (2013-2014) in tuition and fees. Columbia University, Dartmouth University, Northwestern University, and Case Western Reserve University round out the top five most expensive medical schools in the country. The reputations of these schools may be worth the premium but only if its the right fit for you and seems like a reasonable financial investment for your situation.
Are you considering cost of living in the location you’re looking? If not, you should be. The cost of living in each city can vary drastically. When looking at total cost of attendance, you should look at factors like rent, food, whether you’ll need a car, and cost of travel home if you’re out-of-state.
These additional factors can tip you over the edge in terms of which schools are most affordable. This is also one of the most individual components of the medical school application and will require some research. The good news is that there are several grants, scholarships, and loans available for incoming medical students.
Institutional grants tend to be rare and there are far fewer scholarships available to cover the cost of medical school than are available at the undergraduate level. Fear not—we have some tips for funding your path to a career in medicine. See below for some resources available to you when considering how to pay for medical school: