Although medical school is expensive, because there is such a shortage of doctors there are many options to help students finance their education including:
Fee Assistance Programs
The Association of American Medical Colleges' (AAMC) Fee Assistance Program can help with some of the expenses of applying to medical school such as cost of the MCAT exam and a fee waiver for one application submission with up to 20 medical schools. Students who are eligible will also receive access to MSAR (Medical School Attendance Requirements), another valuable resource provided by the AAMC. Eligibilty guidelines (family income of less than 400% of Federal Poverty level by family size) can be seen here.
The AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine) also offers a fee waiver program for those applying to Doctor of Osteopathy programs.
While most students finish medical school with some loan debt, there are financial aid programs and other resources to help reduce the costs. The AAMC's FIRST (Financial Information, Resources, Services and Tools) webpage is a great resource to find information about the programs available.
Many doctors in Health Professions Shortage Areas qualify for loan repayment programs. These programs include:
The NHSC Loan Repayment Program
The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayment assistance to support qualified health care providers who choose to bring their skills where they are needed most.
California State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)
This is a loan repayment program for U.S. Citizens, it requires a California license to practice.
Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP)
Loan repayments for those who have graduated, are licensed, and are practicing Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Physician Assistant, or Clinical Nurse Specialists.
The Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program
Loan repayment for doctors in certain specialties.
Tuition-Free Medical Schools
Another option students may want to investigate are medical schools that are tuition-free. For example, the Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (affiliated with Kaiser Permanente) in California announced in 2020 that they are waiving all tuition and fees for its first five classes of medical school students. U.S. News and World report also published an article in March 2021 on "How to Attend Medical School for Free." While this appears to be a growing trend, make sure that you fully understand the requirements for each program.