Student loans 15 February 2023

Loans For Medical Students

Looking for the most suitable medical student loan, here we have put together an in-depth review to help you make an informed decision and decide on what’s best for you.

Loans for Medical Students can be an essential tool to help students pay for and finance their medical studies. In most cases, medical student loans provide more favorable terms than traditional bank loans. These loans can be used to cover a variety of expenses that arise during medical school such as tuition, living expenses, textbooks and other supplies. There are several different types of medical student loans available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It is important to understand the differences between them when considering a medical student loan. Make sure you understand any potential consequences if you are unable to repay the loan on time or in full. 

Federal Loans For Medical Students

Federal Student Loans are provided by the government and administered by the U.S. Department of Education and have a lower fixed rate compared to other loans. The loans from the government are capped and this means that a student can only borrow a limited amount from the government each year.

There are four types of federal direct loans offered through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. For students entering medical school, there are two direct loans available for them. Medical students are eligible for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Direct Plus Loan.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Direct Unsubsidized loans are offered to graduates and undergraduates on competitive interest rates and do not require proof of financial need. 

Direct unsubsidized loans for medical school are capped at $ 40,500 per year. This may not be enough to cover everything for medical students. Most medical students are encouraged to consider the federal direct plus loan option.

Direct PLUS Loans

The Direct Plus Loan offers the Grad Plus Loan which is best suited for medical students. The GRAD Plus Loan covers any additional cost of attendance that has not been covered by any other lender you might have borrowed from or by the Stafford Loans. Students with good credit scores can easily qualify for this type of federal direct plus loan.

For medical students, the Grad Plus Loan helps to cover any additional costs of attendance. All costs of attendance must be certified and determined by your institution of study.

How to Apply for Federal Loans?

1. Fill in the FAFSA

The first major step that medical students need to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling in the FAFSA helps you identify the programs and loans that you qualify for. The application is done online every year and students need to fill it out as soon as they can. Since the form asks you to provide information about your finances, income, and taxes, make sure you gather all the necessary information before you proceed.

2. Analyze your Student Aid Report

After filling in the FAFSA, a student aid report is mailed back to you. The student aid report is mainly a summary of the information you provided while completing the FAFSA. The report will contain your expected family contribution. Analyze your SAR carefully to ensure that it is accurate and complete. If your application is not complete, your SAR will let you know that you have issues to resolve in order to get your EFC. The schools you listed on your FAFSA might ask you to verify some information.

3. Compare and Contrast your Financial Aid

The information provided on the FAFSA will be used by financial aid officers in the colleges you applied to. This will help them determine how much money will be made available for you. Colleges will then put together an aid package that includes federal aid, paid work, or other types of loans.

Ensure to compare and review all the aid you have been offered, the qualifying criteria, and the amount. Additionally, if you apply to more than one school, weigh up your offers as different schools may have different advantages/benefits.

4. Choose your School and Loan

Choosing your school and the loan to take out are two factors that have a big impact on how all this plays out. Failure to graduate after taking a loan or graduating with a huge amount of debt can affect you adversely in the future. Choose a loan that will help you complete your studies by covering most or all the cost of attendance expenses. After comparing your options, you will decide on the school and consequently the loan to accept.

Private Student Loans for Medical Students

Private Student Loans for medical students are facilitated and issued by banks, credit unions, or online platforms and require the applicant to have a good credit score or have a credit-worthy cosigner. The private lenders charge a higher interest rate and offer different terms of the agreement.

Private student loans help medical students when federal loans are not enough and are the only loan option for international students since they are not eligible for federal loans. Most lenders offer different loan options for medical students to cover the whole course, in-school tuition expenses, or residency. 

How to Get Private Student Loans?

1. Research on Multiple Lenders

Different loans have varying terms and you should check out all the lenders within your reach. Compare the terms of the loan, interest rates, and the fees involved in the application or the penalty charges involved. As you compare your loan offers, ensure that you aim for lenders that offer pre-qualification as this will help you compare offers without affecting your credit. Additionally, be on the lookout for special features or benefits associated with each lender/loan.

2. Meet & Maintain Eligibility

Most loans have straightforward eligibility criteria and most students at large do qualify for them. However, medical school loans have extra criteria for eligibility. Most of these loans will require you to attend specific schools and be pursuing one of their listed courses in your school of choice related to health, medicine, or medical technology. Other loans require you to meet satisfactory academic progress to continue receiving financial aid. Strong credit or a regular source of income are some eligibility requirements that may need to be met before receiving a loan.

3. Get a Cosigner

Private loans are based on the borrower’s creditworthiness and the borrower must pass a credit check most of the time. The majority of lenders require borrowers to have a good credit history and a regular source of income to qualify for a private loan. For college students, this is not practical as they might still be in school full-time or have just recently graduated and have not yet secured a regular job. For this reason, most lenders require students to have a cosigner who will lend them their credit and maybe help them pay off some of their loans.

4. Apply for the Loan

Most loan applications are done online and can roughly take around 30 minutes to fill in the information and submit. Ensure that you have all the information needed about you and your cosigner-if one is required. You can also submit supporting documents to prove that the information you have provided is accurate. Depending on the lender, feedback can be immediate or can take up to several working days to get the verdict.

5. Accept the Loan

After your loan has been approved, the lender will send you the paperwork highlighting all the loan terms and rates. The documents will contain all your financial information and your obligation in repaying the loan. Make sure to confirm that everything in those documents is correct and comprehensible for you. If you feel that everything is okay then proceed with signing the final agreement and return it to your lender for disbursement.

Best Loans For Medical Students:

LenderScholarooratingOur viewFixed ratesstarting (APR)Variable ratesstarting (APR)Learn more

Sallie Mae

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4.9/5Best for Loan Availability
5.25%5.50%Visit website

College Ave

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4.9/5Best Overall4.24%3.99%Visit website


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4.5/5Best for Fair Credit3.99%3.99%Visit website


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4.1/5Best Private Student Loan5.44%5.98%Visit website

Citizens Bank

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4.0/5Best for the Easiest Approval Process5.99%5.49%Visit website

PNC Bank

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4.1/5Best for Payment Discount on Auto-payment3.49%3.89%Visit website


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4.0/5Best for Refinancing Options3.16%1.99%Visit website

Education Loan Finance

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4.8/5Dedicated Customer Service3.98%3.98%Visit website

Detailed Review of Lenders

We have reviewed the top lenders for loans for medical students so that you can make an informed decision

Sallie Mae

Being one of the most sought-after and reliable lenders, Sallie Mae is one of the largest loan providers that extends its product to medical students. Sallie Mae provides loans to both students and parents for undergraduate and graduate studies. Sallie Mae offers special medical school loans to students planning to attend medical school. The Sallie Mae Medical School loan can cover medical degree expenses in allopathic, general, radiology, osteopathic, and veterinary medicine.

Pros of Sallie Mae:

  • No origination or penalty fees
  • 100%  medical school expenses coverage
  • High approval rate for graduates with a cosigner
  • Streamlined application process

Cons of Sallie Mae

  • Requires a minimum credit score

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a Medical School
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Borrowers should apply for a new loan each school year

Repayment Details:

  • 48 months of deferment during residency and fellowship
  • Cosigner is released after 12 on-time payments
  • 36 months grace period
  • Interest-only payments

College Ave

College Ave is a private lender offering a myriad of student loan products and options that can cater to medical students. The private lender offers an aggregate loan limit of $150,000 to borrowers and the loans are designed for students who are attending school. College Ave also provides refinancing options for students who would want to pay off some private student loans.

Pros of College Ave:

  • Has a cosigner release program
  • Quick turnaround (a decision is made within three minutes)
  • Full deferment during residency
  • Easy repayment options

Cons of College Ave:

  • May not cover all expenses

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Requires a minimum credit score
  • Be enrolled at an approved U.S. medical school
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Repayment Details:

  • 20 different repayment schedules
  • 36 months grace period
  • Repayment terms of five, eight, 10, 15, or 20 years


Earnest is one of the best private student loan lenders that has financing options tailored to the specific needs of medical students. Earnest offers loan products such as private student loans, refinance student loans, and parent PLUS refinancing. All these loan products can offer a clear and simple private student loan to students enrolled in medical school.

 Pros of Earnest:

  • No fees (late payment, origination, or disbursement fees)
  • Has a longer grace period
  • Offers you a chance to skip a payment once a year without penalizing
  • Flexible terms to get an ideal customized monthly payment

Cons of Earnest:

  • Must have a cosigner

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must have a minimum credit score
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must have a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Repayment Details:

  • Four repayment options
  • Nine-month grace period
  • 0.25% discount on enrollment to autopayments 


Ascent is a private student loan lender that provides financial aid to undergraduate students. It provides cosigned, non cosigned, and out-come-based loans. Ascent encourages financial wellness for medical students and their families by offering graduate student loans. The graduate student loans cover most medical school degree programs, Dental school, Nursing, and Pharmacy. Medical students can qualify for any type of loan offered by Ascent.

Pros of Ascent:

  • No origination or application fees
  • 1% cash reward for automatic payment enrollment
  • Covers up to 100% of the cost of attendance
  • Manageable repayment options

Cons of Ascent:

  • High maximum interest rates

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled at least part-time or full-time for outcomes-based loans
  • Be enrolled at an Ascent-approved school
  • Be a U.S. citizen and reside within the 50 states

Repayment Details:

  • 36 months grace period
  • 48 month residency deferment options
  • Cosigner release after 24 on-time monthly payments

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank was founded in 1800 in Rhode Island and is one of the largest commercial banks in the U.S. The financial institution offers loans to undergraduates, MBAs, graduates, and refinancing. The loans are designated for medical school, dental school, and medical residency. The loans offered to students range from $1,000- $350,000 in aggregate.

Pros of Citizens Bank:

  • Has multi-year approval loans that cover each year of college with just one application
  • International students can apply
  • Discounts for having a citizens account
  • Offers discounts of 0.25% for setting up automatic payments

Cons of Citizens Bank

  • No interest rate estimate with a soft credit check

Eligibility Requirements:

  • International students must have a U.S citizen cosigner
  • Must be enrolled at least part-time
  • A U.S citizen or permanent resident

Repayment Details:

  • Six months grace period
  • Repayment in five, 10, or 15 years
  • Cosigner release after 36 on-time payments

PNC Bank

The PNC Bank’s Health and Medical Professions Student Loan offers loan options to borrowers attending medical school. Their aggregate loan limit is $225,000 and the available loan per year is up to $65,000 per annum. The bank has listed the approved disciplines that are eligible for the PNC Solution Loans for Health Professions e.g. Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Medical Imaging, Veterinary Medicine, etc. They also offer loans for Doctor of Pharmacy, Master of Physical Therapy, Master of Physician Assistant, and Nursing for medical accelerated students.

Pros of PNC Bank:

  • Offers double the interest rate discount compared to other lenders
  • Cosigner can be released
  • Has a long residency deferment period
  • Has a long coverage of medical-related courses

Cons of PNC Bank:

  • Has a short grace period

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled in approved disciplines in undergraduate, graduate, or certificate program
  • Both student and cosigner must be  U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • At Least attend on a part-time basis

Repayment Details:

  • Has a residency deferment option
  • 0.5% interest rate discount for only automatic payments
  • Up to 15 years of loan repayment


Purefy offers student loan refinancing options to students who are seeking favorable repayment plans or lower interest rates. Purefy allows borrowers to compare rates and terms of different student loans and refinancing. Through Purefy, medical students can refinance both private and federal loans. Purefy provides student loan refinancing for students with strong credit and those with a verifiable income.

 Pros of Purefy:

  • No origination fees
  • 100% of the school’s attendance costs covered
  • Discounts for fixed payment schedules
  • Easy repayment options
  • Needs a cosigner

Cons of Purefy:

  • Conducts a credit check

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a college graduate
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Should have a credit score of at least 670
  • Have a payoff verification statement for existing loans that are to be refinanced. 

Repayment Details:

  • Five to 20 years loan term
  • Cosigner is released after several on-time frequent payments
  • Grace period starts from six months

Education Loan Finance

Education Loan Finance popularly known as ELFI is a nationwide private student loan provider that started offering private student loan products in December 2015. In conjunction with the SouthEast Bank based in Tennessee, ELFI offers loan refinancing options for students. It offers healthcare and medical resident student loans with fixed and variable rates.

 Pros of Education Loan Finance

  • Easy to get estimates without a hard credit check
  • Access to an assigned student loan advisor
  • Best for borrowers with big funding gaps
  • No fees

Cons of Education Loan Finance

  • Loans can not fund more than one academic year of the school-certified cost

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled at least half-time in a Master’s or Doctoral Program
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Should have a minimum credit score of 680

Repayment Details:

  • A repayment period of 5,7,10, or 15 years
  • Six months grace period
  • Full-in-school deferment plan


Should I get a federal or private loan for medical school?

For most students, federal loans are the best. Federal loans offer better repayment plans and have lower rates compared to private loans. Students in medical school should consider private loans if they are international students or if federal loans are not enough to cover the whole cost of attendance.

What are the best loans for medical students?

The best loans for medical students are the federal loans both direct unsubsidized loans and GRAD Plus Loans. They offer better terms such as lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans, and you can qualify for loan forgiveness. 

How do I get a loan for medical school?

You can get a loan for medical school by first filling out the FAFSA and seeing what loan you can qualify for. Private lenders also offer loans that are designed for students enrolled or planning to enroll in medical school.