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Merit-based scholarships scarce for medical school

The most difficult reality for many accepted medical students is the lack of scholarship opportunities that are substantial enough to eliminate borrowing.  This time of year, a large number of accepted medical students are turning their attention to how to pay for medical school.  Only 12-15% of those entering medical school in the fall have had experience borrowing monies to complete their undergraduate work, or for some, graduate programs.  The majority had great opportunities at their undergraduate institutions to have most, if not all, of their undergraduate education paid for through merit-based scholarships.  Many were highly recruited from high school to attend their institutions with a substantial scholarship carrot.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some merit-based opportunities out there for the best of the best entering medical school.  But that is just it, 80-90% of those entering medical school used to be classified as “the best” but are now just average and above average for medical school merit-based funding.  Besides, the number of medical school merit-based scholarships is small in comparison.  So, what now?

Well, for many medical schools, the expectation is that 86-88% of their student body will be borrowing through the available federal programs.  In my next post I’ll discuss several alternatives to borrowing money to pay for one’s medical education.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Jose Espada

Jose Rivera Espada is the director of financial aid at IU School of Medicine, a nine-campus allopathic medical school in Indiana. Jose’s experience includes working as an assistant director of financial aid at Butler University and a financial aid coun...