Paying for Medical School/College

August 18, 2010
MDNG Primary Care, July 2010, Volume 12, Issue 7

We searched the Internet for medical school, college payment, and education financing resources so you don't have to.

Enter the link codes in the search window above to access these third-party resources.

SAVING FOR COLLEGE

Your Guide to Saving for College

Consult the resources at this site for information and advice on saving for your child’s college education. Featured are calculators and tools, informative articles, blogs, and interactive search options that help you look up professionals in your geographic region and calculate cost estimates. In the “College 101” tab, learn about 529 savings plans offered on the state level and decide which is right for you. In the tools and calculators section, you can plug in your child’s age to estimate how much you should start saving now and compare saving plan options and view plan ratings. In the community sections, visitors can find answers to frequently asked investment questions, visit the message board, and view investor polls.

Link Code: a12770

529s

“The definitive guide to 529s” has been offering information on college saving plans for at least the past three years. While not the most aesthetically pleasing site, visitors can pretty much fi nd exactly what they’re looking for, whether it’s an overview of 529s, a complete review of 529s available across the country, or information on accessing a personal advisor via phone in your state. Learn about future estimates of how much college will cost when your child is ready to attend.

Link Code: a12771

College Scholarships

Search for a wide variety of scholarships that may suit your child’s interests and needs for college.Scholarships are organized by subject/category, including athletic, minority, degree level, by state and by student type. Visitors can read several articles to learn more about the grants, loans, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities. The article “101 Grants You’ve Never Heard of” explains the differences between need-based and merit-based, profession-specific, and other types of grants. There is also a Financial Aid Blog, which has covered such topics as “iPad in Education,” and “at Harvard, No More Final Exams.”

Link Code: a12772

College Savings Plan Network

The “College Savings Plans Network is a national non-profit association dedicated to making college more accessible and affordable for families.” The site’s main goal is to help families “find the plan that best meets [their] long-term needs and financial goals.” Here, visitors can find detailed information on 529 college saving plans, links to publications, informative articles, and a college calculator. Visitors can also check out common questions and answers in four distinct categories: Saving For College with a 529 Plan, 529 Prepaid Plans, Tax Advantages of 529 Plans, and School Admission Financial Aid.

Link Code: a12773

College Planning

This site is designed to help parents start saving for their children’s college and determine which savings plan may be right for them. Clicking on “Which College Savings Plan is Right for Me?” brings the reader to a page outlining four savings plan options: 529 savings plan, education savings account, UGMA/UTMA account, and taxable account. The page features charts that review the similarities and differences between each plan and answers questions like “What are the contribution limits” and “Where can I use my savings?” Additionally, the site provides answers to frequently asked financial aid questions, such as “How Much Financial Aid Should I Plan for in my College Calculations?” Visitors are encouraged to watch the video “Investing in College 529 Plans” that visitors can watch. Visitors have the option of investing with T. Rowe Price as well if they so choose.

Link Code: a12774

401Kid

This site takes a three-step approach to “demystify the college savings maze:” educate, allocate, and collaborate. Click on the “Educate” tab to access a page of information on college funding, income strategy planning, tax-advantage savings vehicles like 529 plans and UGMA/UTMA, and how to fi nd scholarships, loans, and other options. The “Advice and Tools” section offers savings calculators and 529 plan compasses that can help you determine future costs and compare local state plans. There are also webinars such as “College Savings 101” or “Advanced College Funding Techniques” and a message forum.

Link Code: a12775

FINANCING YOUR EDUCATION

Loan Repayment/Forgiveness and Scholarship Programs

The American College of Medical Colleges hosts this database that lists 90 loan and scholarship programs by state, designation (state, federal, federal/state, other), and type (scholarship, repayment, forgiveness). Though many programs do not have specialty requirements, there are a number of programs designed specifically to attract physicians to the field of primary care and rural medicine.

Link Code: a12776

AMA Medical School Debt Resources

The American Medical Association provides this resource collection “to aid you in your quest for information on various topics such as medical student debt facts and statistics, financial aid options, debt management, and loan consolidation.” The site includes information on “the ins and outs of student loan consolidation,” a link to the AMA financial aid website, and requirements for deferring student loan payments.

Link Code: a12777

Volunteer for Duty, Armed Services Pays the Way

The Air Force Health Professions (http://hcp.lv/aOnEfl), Army Health Care Corps (http://hcp.lv/9bfyUf), and Navy Health Care (http://hcp.lv/bH3Exf) scholarship programs offer comprehensive coverage of medicalschool costs, from tuition and fees to books and living expenses. Upon graduation, you will serve as an active duty member of your chosen military branch under a year-for-year repayment plan with the option of extending your tour of duty as long as you see fit. It’s a chance to both graduate debt-free and serve your country.

Link Code: a12778

National Medical Fellowships

“Dedicated to improving the health of low-income and minority communities by increasing the representation of minority physicians, educators, researchers, policymakers, and health care administrators in the United States,” National Medical fellowships has awarded more than $39 million to more than 28,000 recipients since 1946. As of this writing, the organization is currently accepting applications for its 2010 GE Medical Scholar and 2010/2011 Need Based Scholarship programs.

Link Code: a12779

Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship

Open only to minority students in good standing with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), 20 of these $5,000 scholarships are awarded each year to students in “their final year of a healthcare management graduate program.” ACHE also offers a Foster G. McGraw graduate Student Scholarship the winners of which are ineligible to receive the Dent scholarship.

Link Code: a12780

Chinese American Medical Society

Though the application doesn’t explicitly say that the CAM Scholarship Program is available only to those of Chinese descent, it’s probably a safe bet that that’s the case. To be eligible, one “must be a first, second, or third year medical or dental student at a US medical or dental school.” CAM specifically designates two awards “for students who show merits and also financial hardship.”

Link Code: a12781

Latino Medical Student Association

Pre-medical student members of LMSA can apply for one of 10 scholarships to the Dr. Flowers MCAT online review course, a “six-month personalized” course valued at $595.

Link Code: a12782

Medical School Tuition: Alternate Routes

Paying for medical school is like taking on a mortgage. The medianamount owed by students in 2008 was $145,000 (public) and $180,000 (private), while nearly a quarter of all graduates accumulated more than $200,000 in debt over the course of their education (http://hcp.lv/bhWCW3). Thankfully, not everyone is sitting on their hands in the face of this unsustainable dynamic. In the July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology(http://hcp.lv/bkLPaI), Louis Weinstein, MD and Honor Wolfe, MD proposed “a uniquesolution to solve the pending medical school tuition crisis” called the Strategic Alternative for Funding Education (SAFE). Under this program, “a practicing physician [would] pay for his or her medical school education after completion of residency/fellowship over a 10-year time interval when income will likely be rising. The amount paid yearly is calculated as a percent of the physician’s professional income.” This would begin after a grace period of anywhere fromseven to 12 years, “depending on the length of residency and fellowship.” Though no school has yet adopted this proposal, it’s encouraging to see the healthcare community beginning to challenge the status quo and consider alternate means of financing healthcare professionals’ education.

Link Code: a12783

Pre-med Sans Orgo

Something tells us that Mt. Sinai School of Medicine is going to receive an influx of applications from history and English majors next year. The New York Timesreports that Mt. Sinai has been quietly admitting “about 35 undergraduates a year [who] study humanities or social sciences instead of the traditional pre-medical school curriculum and maintain a 3.5 grade-point average” since 1987. Dr. Nathan Kase, Mt. Sinai’s Dean for Medical Education and founder of the Humanities and Medicine Program, posits that the standard path to medical school “makes science into an obstacle rather than something that is an insight into the biology of human disease.” In a recent study (http://hcp.lv/dyotL5) of 85 students in the program compared “with those of 606 traditionally prepared classmates from the graduating classes of 2004 through 2009,” found that though the humanities students “scored lower on Step 1 of the Medical Licensing Examination…they ranked about the same in honors grades and in the percentage in the top quarter of the class.” Further, “the humanities students were more than twice as likely to train as psychiatrists…and somewhat more likely…to go into primary care fields, like pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology. Conversely, they avoid some fields, like surgical subspecialties and anesthesiology…and were significantly more likely than their peers to devote a year to scholarly research.”

Link Code: a12784

From the HCPLive.com Network

Not All Colleges Are Worth the Cost

When choosing a college or university, how do you know you’re going to get your money’s worth? This article reveals which schools provide the highest and lowest return on your tuition dollar investment.

http://hcp.lv/9TaPeH

A HELOC for College?

One popular method of financing your child’s college education is to get a second mortgage or an equity loan. Another option is to take out a home equity line of credit. However, college finance counselors caution that there are pros and cons to both approaches.

http://hcp.lv/aGhoQw

Saving on College Tuition

Parents looking forward to overwhelming college tuition bills may be able to catch a break by doing research into some of the nation’s low- and no-tuition colleges.

http://hcp.lv/bdK91G

Rules Are Changing for Coverdell Education Savings Accounts

Upcoming changes in the rules governing Coverdells are likely to make them even less attractive, as they will limit both the amount you can contribute as well as the kinds of expenses for which you can make tax-free withdrawals.

http://hcp.lv/bFcN0K

Married Couples May Get a Break with New IBR Student Loan Rules

On July 1, two important changes in the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan went into effect that may allow more doctors to join the student-loan repayment program and lower monthly payments for married couples.

http://hcp.lv/9IY737