Medical School Loans – 2 Best Companies and Lenders for Med Students

Each year, thousands of students invest in themselves and enroll in medical school. It’s not surprising. For many students, pursuing a medical degree is a wise and also lucrative choice. But that doesn’t offset the fact that medical school is still an expensive investment. That’s where medical school loans come in.

Few students, or their families, have the financial resources to fund a medical degree out of pocket. Thus, many students rely on medical school loans to finance their education and help them achieve their dreams.

Although medical school is an expensive proposition, the return on that investment in lifetime earnings, and career potential are quite staggering. Even with some medical degrees costing $300,000 or $500,000, the time for that investment to pay for itself can be as short as a few years after graduation and completing residency. In that case, you shouldn’t let the price of medical school discourage you from attending.

Federal Loans for Medical School

By pursuing a medical degree, you will be treated by the U.S. Department of Education as a graduate student. That means your loan options will also be the same as students pursuing Masters or Doctoral degrees in their respective fields.

However, those enrolled in qualifying medical programs will also have the opportunity to qualify for higher loan amounts and a larger aggregate loan limit.

The two federal loan programs available to all medical students are:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  2. Federal PLUS Loans

In addition, those with a high level of financial need may qualify for two additional loan programs:

  1. Federal Perkins Loan
  2. HRSA Primary Care Loans

These programs also have their own requirements, standards, and limits, which are outlined in the table below.

Private Loans for Medical School

Many students also choose to use private lenders to help finance medical school.

In some cases, the rates and terms of these loans may be less attractive than those offered through federal loan programs–but that is not always the case. Many private lenders offer competitive, market-based interest rates along with other perks and protections.

Private lenders will require a credit check and may also require a cosigner, but they rarely have borrowing limits or other requirements that may apply to federal loan options.

See the table below for a comparison of private lenders versus the various federal loan options available to medical school students.

No origination fees or prepayment penalties

Fixed rates from 3.95% - 8.01% APR with auto-debit

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Comparing Federal and Private Loan Options

Loan typeProsCons
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Guaranteed approval when enrolled in Title IV college or university
  • 5.84% interest rate (2016)
  • Qualifies for federal protections (deferment, forbearance, etc)
  • $42,000-47,000 per year borrowing limit
  • $224,000 total loan limit for Stafford loans (undergrad + grad)
  • Nationally set interest rate
  • 1% origination fee
  • Can only be consolidated with federal loans unless refinanced
Federal PLUS Loans
  • Borrowing limit up to full cost of attendance
  • Qualifies for federal protections (deferment, forbearance, etc)
  • Borrowing limit equal to full cost of attendance
  • 6.84% interest (2016)
  • 4% origination fee
  • Requires "no adverse credit history"
  • May require cosigner
  • Can only be consolidated with federal loans unless refinanced
Federal Perkins Loans
  • Fixed 5% interest rate
  • Qualifies for federal protections (deferment, forbearance, etc)
  • No credit check or cosigner required
  • Only available to students with exceptional demonstrated financial need
  • $4,000 per year borrowing limit
  • $40,000 total borrowing limit
HRSA Primary Care Loans
  • Fixed 5% interest rate
  • 1-year, interest-free grace period
  • Includes forbearance, deferment, and other loan protections
  • Borrowing limit equal to full cost of attendance minus financial aid
  • Only available to students meeting criteria for demonstrated financial need
  • Requires commitment to working in primary care for 10 years or until loan is repaid
  • Penalty rate is enforced for graduates that do not meet primary care obligation
Private Loans
  • Fixed and variable rates
  • Interest starting near 2% from some lenders
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Some lenders offer borrower protections
  • Generally no origination fee
  • Does not qualify for federal deferment or forbearance
  • Will require a credit check
  • May require a cosigner

The Best Medical School Loan Companies and Lenders

To get a quick idea of what private loans you may be eligible for, you can get free rate offers from sites like Credible or LendKey, without a credit check. You also don’t have to commit to any loans from these sites, so why not check out what you’re eligible for?

These two platforms will also provide you with offers from multiple lenders. That means you can compare them to federal loan options as well as comparing lenders to one another.

Compare rate offers from about 8 lenders.
1.04%* + variable APR
3.30%* + fixed APR
5 - 15, 20 yearsLEARN MORE >
lendkey-logo-500px-trans1.13% - 11.23% variable APR
3.50% - 12.60% fixed APR
5, 10, 15 yearsLEARN MORE ›

*APR includes a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side!