Financial Aid for Physician Assistants & Physicians

A college education has become increasingly expensive over the years for everyone – especially for students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. 

Educational Costs For Physicians Are Rising

Those entering the medical field with hopes of becoming a physician are concerned about the expected debt that comes with it.

Research conducted by the PA Education Association (PAEA) suggests the following increments of resident tuition.

The chart above demonstrates the rising cost of education for medical professionals. 

Many private and public organizations have taken it upon themselves to help ease the financial burden put on families and students pursuing higher education. 

The following information covers the many financial aid options available to physicians like you.

Federal Grants & Loans For Physicians

More than 13 million students benefit from the U.S. Department of Education awards. Each year, the department awards at least $120 billion in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans. These funds cover anything from tuition and fees to school supplies. Like many, you may qualify for federal and state grants.

These are the three types of federal student aid:


As a prospective primary health care provider you have access to many government-funded grants. Grants are financial assistance that you don’t have to be paid back – unless, you owe a refund or withdraw from school. There are two types of grants: Need-based and Merit-based. Most federal and state grants are need-based and require the completion of an application.

To find your state’s educational grants, click here. If you’re eligible, you may qualify for the Federal Pell Grant. Keep an eye out for this grant since the award amount changes every year and can reduce your college expenses. You can use this grant to reduce your overall student loan debt after graduation.

As previously stated, there are other federal grant programs available to physician assistants and physicians. Here’s a shortlist of the most common federal grants besides the Pell Grant:

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study offers part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who show financial aid need. This program is only available at the undergraduate level for students planning to attend medical school.

Work-study varies depending on the school since each medical school has its own requirements and steps. If you qualify, you will be able to earn money while in school. Contact your school’s financial aid office to obtain specific instructions and to learn more, visit Federal Work-Study.

Federal Loans

Direct Subsidized Loans: Available to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need (based on their FAFSA®).

Direct Unsubsidized Loans: This option is available to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. However, you don’t need to demonstrate financial need in order to qualify.

Direct PLUS Loans: Though this loan is not based on financial need, loan borrowers are required to pass a credit check. Eligible graduates, professional students, and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use this loan to pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

Understanding how loans work can be complicated, and deciding which one is the best option for you can be even more complicated. For this reason, this Direct Stafford Loans article touches on the different types of federal loans and their limits.


In order to qualify for Federal Student Aid, you must meet a strict set of requirements. You will also be required to provide your family’s income and personal information. Click here to find out if you are eligible.


To apply for federal student aid you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). To stay eligible, you will have to fill out the application every year you are in school. 

Applying for federal student aid is fairly easy, especially when using Frank’s online FAFSA® tool. The government application generally takes hours to file, but with Frank, students can complete their FAFSA® in only minutes.  

Student Aid From Medical Associations, Fellowships, and Unions 

A major source of financial aid for students in the medical field is from associations, fellowships, and unions. For this reason, we have put together a list of student aid for physicians, nurses, and medical administration professionals from medical associations, fellowships, and unions. Click on the names of the organizations to learn how to apply and their eligibility requirements.



Medical Administration Professionals

Scholarships For Medical Professionals

Your hard work and achievements can help you earn some cool scholarships. These scholarships aim to help students like you pursue their medical careers.

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship (NHSC)

The competitive National Health Service Corps (NHCS) Scholarship Program offers various opportunities for physician students to pursue a career in primary-healthcare professions in exchange for a two-year commitment to provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). The scholarship pays for tuition and other college expenses and provides a $1,330 monthly stipend for up to four school years.

Eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a United States citizen or U.S. national
  • You must be a full-time student enrolled, or accepted for enrollment 
  • You must be attending (or accepted to attend), an accredited school or program in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.) or a United States territory

To apply you must submit:

The Physician Assistant Foundation 

The PA Foundation was established in 1977 as the AAPA Educational and Research Foundation (ERF). Later in 1991, the organization officially became the “Physician Assistant Foundation”. Ever since the foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million in 

The foundation offers about 7 scholarships, all with their own funds and quantity. 

If you’re interested in applying, you must first meet all the following requirements:

  • Be a student member of AAPA
  • Attend an ARC-PA-accredited PA program
  • Have successfully completed at least one term of PA studies (semester or quarter) and be in good academic standing
  • Be enrolled in PA school at the time the application period closes

To apply, go to PA Student Scholarships. But hurry! All these scholarships are due by May 31st, 2019. 

Private Loans for the medical field

Although taking out private loans is not ideal, it might be your best option depending on your situation.

If you are considering private student loans to pay the remaining balance of your college tuition, you’re not alone. Like you, many students need loans to cover the rest of the cost of attendance as well as living expenses. Before taking out any loans, be sure to compare the interest rates, fees, and repayment options of all the loans you’re considering.

It’s crucial that you know the difference between private and federal student loans. Making the right financial aid decisions can help you come a long way. Even an extra $1,000 can determine whether or not you can afford medical school. For this reason, we want to emphasize how important it is that you conduct thorough research of all the possible aid you could receive.