Finding scholarships for medical school is not as easy as finding scholarships to pay for your undergraduate studies. Yet, attending medical school is among one of the most expensive ventures you can make. Attending even your home state's medical school will likely cost you around $140,000, including room and board, and you can expect to double that if you want to attend a private school.
Fortunately, there are more government agencies, charities, and universities than every before that attempt to make going to medical school more accessible by offering to pay for all or most of a medical student's tuition. Finding these scholarships isn't always simple, and some come with stipulations, but it's possible to find ways to fund your medical school dreams.
Some universities offer free rides to their students. In 2008, the University of Central Florida offered completely free rides to all of its class of 2013. Vanderbilt offers free rides to some of their top students, as does Washington University. You can also check with your state's university to see if they offer tuition assistance programs for state residents.
Branches of the United States military offer scholarships to individuals who want to attend medical school. These scholarships pay for 100 percent of your tuition and living expenses, but they do have some strings attached. Upon completion, you'll likely be required to serve one year under active duty status for every year of scholarship that you receive, with a minimum of two years. This is a huge commitment, but it provides low-income individuals with the opportunity to receive an education that they may not otherwise be able to afford.
The National Health Service offers to pay tuition and living expenses for medical school students, if they will agree to work in "needy areas" for at least one year for every year of scholarship that they receive. The NHS seeks to provide health care to individuals in rural and especially destitute areas. With this scholarship, ensure that you put together a great application as the NHS typically receives about seven times more applications than it has scholarships to offer.
Even if you can't secure a scholarship to pay for everything, there are options, such as the Mayo Clinic, which offers every admitted student a scholarship of at least $25,000. This means, according to the U.S. News and World Report, that students admitted in 2008 paid no more than $4,200 per year in tuition.
Check with organizations like the American Medical Student Association and the National Association of Residents and Interns for listings of private scholarships to which you can apply. Not all scholarships will cover everything, but you may be able to secure several that more or less cover your entire medical school bill.
Always read the fine print attached to any scholarship that you receive. Understand and be willing to accept any stipulations that may be attached to money that you accept. For example, you should ensure that you understand the implications of one year of active duty service for every year of scholarship money that you receive from the U.S. military. By no means disregard completely a scholarship because of stipulations like that, but weigh your options carefully because that commitment is firm.