Pre-Professional Health Programs

Financial Considerations

Cleveland State Students

Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate pre-professional students will work with the Financial Aid Office to address their financial needs and concerns. You may qualify for the Fee Assistance Program through the AAMC. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) assists MCAT examinees and AMCAS applicants who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT or apply to medical schools that use the AMCAS application. See Fee Assistance Program (FAP) for deadlines, criteria and more information.

Financing Professional Education

For extensive information about financing professional education, consider the costs of professional school. It is not surprising that 87 percent of graduating professional students carry outstanding loans, 79 percent have debts of at least $100,000 and 38% have an average pre-professional/undergraduate education debt of $20,000.  Tuition and fees vary widely, but the median cost for public professional schools exceeds $150,000 and private schools exceeds $177,000 (living and personal expenses excluded.)  Your financial aid eligibility will not necessarily be the same for professional school as it was for your undergraduate education. Two special circumstances that may affect your eligibility are 1) whether you are claimed as a dependant for tax purposes and 2) whether you have equity in a home.

What do I as a Pre-Professional Student Need to Know about Financing My Professional Education?

  • I need to plan ahead for financing my education just as I need to plan ahead for the application process.
  • I need to discuss my plans for funding my medical education with my family/spouse/significant people in my life.
  • I need to find out from professional schools I'm interested in what financial assistance they offer.
  • I need to investigate federal and institutional grant and loan assistance programs, service/debt forgiveness scholarships and other resources.
  • I need to find out from the institution financial aid office how to apply to these programs.
  • I must be a US. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for most forms of financial assistance.
  • I need to limit my borrowing for my education so that repaying my loans will not jeopardize my future.
  • I need to set up a budget and stick to it.
  • I need to save as much money as I can.
  • I need to limit debts; pay off credit cards.
  • I must have a good credit rating to qualify for some student loans.
  • I need to obtain a copy of my credit report to check for errors and to correct any negative information.
  • I need to understand the consequences of student loan defaults.
  • I must understand my rights and responsibilities regarding financial assistance programs

For extensive information about financing your professional education, refer to:
Health Professions Loans and Scholarships (includes medicine, esp. primary care and dentistry):
Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship (includes medical, dental, veterinary, psychology or optometry):
Financing Medical School:
Financing Dental School:


Forms of Financial Assistance

Loans.  Loans are the most common form of financial assistance. Well before applying for a loan, you need to correct any errors or potential problems on your credit rating.  A poor credit rating could adversely affect your ability to secure a loan.

  1. Federal Loans.  A student will first complete a FAFSA in order to establish need and possibly receive loan(s) from the federal government.  If the loan(s) from the federal government do not cover your expenses, you will need to seek additional assistance from a private or institutional source.
  2. Loan Forgiveness/Repayment Scholarships.  Some states or communities will re-pay some or all of a professional school graduate’s debt in exchange for a commitment from the graduate to practice in an identified need area.  For example, Ohio has a loan forgiveness program for doctors who commit to practice in underserved areas, such as some rural areas. Military and volunteer organizations, such as Peace Corps, will help re-pay loans in exchange for service hours. This information and more can be found in a searchable database, AAMC's Loan Repayment Forgiveness and Scholarship Programs.

Education Tax Break.  In some circumstances a professional school student or graduate can get a loan interest deduction on their income tax, Education IRA tax breaks, Lifelong Learning Credit, etc. Consult with a tax professional.

Scholarships and Grants. These forms of financial assistance do not need to be repaid.

  1. Merit-based gifts/awards.  Generally these scholarships are small in comparison to overall cost of education, are very competitive and are available through professional associations and individual institutions. Apply early and apply often.
  2. Research Fellowships.  Students are engaged in scientific research and receive compensation or tuition/fee waiver or reduction.
  3. Service Commitment Scholarships.  Hospitals, various military branches, and community agencies offer paid professional education in exchange for a post graduation work commitment. While these are more commonly seen for doctors and dentists, the Army has a Vet Corps and offers a service scholarship for veterinary students.
  4. Diversity Scholarships.  Professional associations and professional schools offer a variety of financial incentives to students from underrepresented populations.  Professional schools are seeking to diversify the cultural makeup of their respective professions so that they more closely resemble the culture of the general population.  Certain racial minorities are historically underrepresented in professional schools and so are first-generation college students (those students who are the first in their families to pursue higher education.)  Refer to these links for students from underrepresented populations:

Work Study.  Provides students with opportunity to work part time.  Many professional students are not able to take advantage of this opportunity due to the rigor and time constraints of professional school.