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The best medical school loans in September 2022

As of September 29, 2022
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INCOME BASED REPAYMENT

INCOME SHARE AGREEMENT

4.6

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.75- 13.72%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

Cost of attendance minus aid

Term: 10-15 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

4.7

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.75- 13.35%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$5k- $500k

Term: 5-15 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

4.1

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.15- 14.75%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $400k

Term: 5-20 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

4.5

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.22- 13.95%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $500k

Term: 5-15 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

Income Based Repayment - No Cosigner Required

Get approved in minutes. Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score.

Apply on partner site

4.3

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.22- 12.78%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $350k

Term: 5-20 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

4.0

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.99- 9.74%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $500k

Term: 5-20 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

BEST WITH CO-SIGNER

4.4

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

4.24- 9.93%

with AutoPay
Loan Amount

$1k- $350k

Term: 5-15 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

4.2

Bankrate Score
Fixed APR From

3.20- 11.99%

Loan Amount

$1k- $500k

Term: 5-15 yr
Min. Credit

Not disclosed

Apply on partner site

Income Share Agreement

Income shares range start as low as 1% of income over a 5 year period.

Apply on partner site

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The Bankrate guide to choosing the best medical school loans

Why trust Bankrate?

At Bankrate, our mission is to empower you to make smarter financial decisions. We’ve been comparing and surveying financial institutions for more than 40 years to help you find the right products for your situation. Our award-winning editorial team follows strict guidelines to ensure the content is not influenced by advertisers. Additionally, our content is thoroughly reported and vigorously edited to ensure accuracy.

When shopping for medical school loans, compare APRs across multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting a competitive interest rate. Also look for lenders that keep fees to a minimum and offer repayment terms that fit your needs. Loan details presented here are current as of June 27, 2022. Check the lenders’ websites for more current information. The medical school loan lenders listed here are selected based on factors such as APR, loan amounts, fees, credit requirements and more. To learn more about how we selected lenders, see our methodology section above.

Compare the best medical school loan rates of September 2022

LENDER CURRENT APR RANGE LOAN TERMS MIN. LOAN AMOUNT MAX LOAN AMOUNT
Federal student loans 6.54% – 7.54% fixed Standard repayment term is 10 years Not specified $20,500 or 100% total cost of attendance
College Ave Fixed: 3.99% – 11.46% (with autopay); Variable: 2.49% – 10.45% (with autopay) 5 to 20 years $1,000 $150,000
Sallie Mae Fixed: 4.25% - 12.84% (with autopay); Variable: 3.87% - 13.47% (with autopay) 20 years $1,000 100% total cost of attendance
Citizens Bank Fixed: 5.18% – 9.22%; Variable: 3.75% – 8.98% 5 to 15 years $1,000 $350,000
PNC Fixed: 3.49% – 11.29% (with autopay); Variable: 3.14% – 10.34% (with autopay) 5 to 15 years $1,000 $65,000

Best overall

Federal Student Loans

Federal Student Loans

See offers Arrow Right

Check with studentaid.gov

Min. credit score:
None
Fixed APR From:
3.73% –6.28%
Loan amount:
$1,000–$500,000
Term lengths:
10 to 10 years
Min. annual income:
$0
Overview: Federal student loans are ideal for medical school, since they come with fixed interest rates and federal protections like deferment and forbearance. If you choose to, you can also apply for several loan forgiveness programs for medical professionals, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which works for individuals who agree to work in a public service position and make payments for 10 years. With federal student loans, you can choose among several options, including federal Direct Unsubsidized graduate loans and federal grad PLUS loans.
Why federal student loans are the best overall: With no credit requirements, low rates and a bevy of repayment options, federal student loans are usually the first choice for medical students in need of funding.

Best for many repayment terms

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
3.22% –13.95%
Loan amount:
$1,000–$500,000
Term lengths:
5 to 15 years
Min. annual income:
$35,000
Overview: College Ave's medical school loans offer some of the lowest rates among competitors for borrowers with good credit, and they also come with unusually flexible repayment options. You can choose to defer your payments for 36 months after school, and you can choose among five repayment terms.
Why College Ave is the best for many repayment terms: Most private medical school loans limit your repayment options to 15 or 20 years. With College Ave, there are five options to choose from.

Best for flexibility

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
3.75% –13.72%
Loan amount:
$1,000–$500,000
Term lengths:
10 to 15 years
Min. annual income:
$0
Overview: The Sallie Mae Medical School Loan is best for flexibility in starting your payments; you can enjoy a 36-month grace period before you start making payments, as well as 48 months of deferment during your residency and fellowship.
Why Sallie Mae is the best for flexibility: Medical school students typically come away with a lot of debt; having an extra-long grace period and the option to defer payments during a residency or fellowship makes the repayment process much more manageable.

Best for multiyear approval

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
4.24% –9.93%
Loan amount:
$1,000–$350,000
Term lengths:
5 to 15 years
Min. annual income:
$12,000
Overview: Citizens Bank lets you borrow up to $180,000 or $350,000 for your medical school education depending on your degree, and its variable and fixed interest rates are some of the lowest available. You can repay your loan over five to 15 years, and there are no origination fees to get started.
Why Citizens Bank is best for multiyear approval: Citizens Bank's multiyear approval program takes some of the stress out of student loans if you need funding for the entirety of your program. While most lenders require you to reapply every year, Citizens Bank will save you multiple hard credit checks.

Best for no origination fees

Min. credit score:
Not disclosed
Fixed APR From:
3.49% –11.29%
Loan amount:
$1,000–$50,000
Term lengths:
5 to 15 years
Min. annual income:
$0
Overview: The PNC Solution Loan is designed for various health professionals, including future doctors. This loan lets you borrow up to $65,000 per year and $225,000 total, and there are no application fees or origination fees. You can use your loan funds for any education-related expense, and you can apply online and receive an answer in a matter of minutes.
Why PNC is best for no origination fees: If you're looking for a truly fee-free lender, PNC could be a good option. An origination fee, an upfront fee charged by some lenders, takes hundreds of dollars from your loan disbursement.

Federal vs. private student loans for medical school

When paying for medical school, you can choose between loans offered by the federal government and loans originated from banks, credit unions and online lenders. Both come with their own set of pros and cons.

Federal student loans for medical school

Federal student loans are originated by the U.S. Department of Education. The two most common options are:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These loans have a fixed interest rate of 6.54 percent for all borrowers. They don't perform a credit check, and medical school students can borrow up to $40,500 per year and $224,000 total.
  • Grad PLUS loan: These loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.54 percent for all borrowers, but they allow borrowers to borrow up to the total cost of education. Grad PLUS loans will check that you don't have an adverse credit history, but there is no minimum credit score requirement.

Because federal student loans come with benefits like deferment, forbearance and income-driven repayment plans, they are usually the best option to pay for medical school and all other higher education expenses. Federal loans also tend to offer the most paths to forgiveness; you may be able to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and other forgiveness programs for doctors if you choose to work in an underserved area or in a public service position and you meet other criteria.

What to know about the FAFSA

The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on Oct. 1 every year. For the 2023-24 award year, the application remains open through June 30, 2024, at the federal level, with some states and colleges instituting earlier deadlines. Students should know that:

  • Only U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens may receive federal student loans through the FAFSA.
  • Medical school students are considered independent; they'll need to provide their own financial details, not their parents'.
  • Students may update their FAFSA if they experience a major loss of income or another significant financial event.
  • Borrowers must submit a new FAFSA every year if they want to continue receiving aid.
  • Students interested in grad PLUS loans will have to submit a separate application after receiving results from the FAFSA.

Private student loans for medical school

Private student loans are offered by institutions like online lenders, banks and credit unions. Private student loans often advertise lower starting interest rates than federal student loans for borrowers with good credit, and you can typically choose between fixed and variable interest rates. Some private medical school loans have unique features that benefit medical students, such as extended grace periods or deferment during a residency program.

Most lenders require very good or excellent credit in order to qualify for private medical school student loans. In the absence of a solid credit rating, it’s likely that you’ll need a co-signer. Also keep in mind that some private student lenders have their own deferment and forbearance programs, but there are no standard requirements.

What to consider before getting a medical school loan

Before you apply for a medical school loan, there are plenty of details to think over. Here are some of the main factors to consider before you borrow money for medical school with a specific lender:

  • Repayment and forgiveness. Consider how long you'll be making payments on your loan. The federal government offers several income-driven repayment plans, and it's the best option if your goal is eventual loan forgiveness. On the other hand, some private lenders have shorter repayment periods, which may be appealing if you would like to pay off your loan quickly.
  • Interest rates. Since you’re likely borrowing significant sums of money to pay for medical school, your interest rate can make a huge difference in the total amount you pay over the life of your loan. Compare a few lenders in order to find the lowest interest rates you believe you can qualify for.
  • Variable and fixed rates. Also decide whether you want a variable interest rate or a fixed interest rate. A variable rate may work well in the short term if interest rates are low, but a fixed rate gives you the peace of mind that your rate will never go up.
  • Loan fees. Try to avoid paying student loan fees like origination fees or application fees.
  • Lender-specific borrowing limits. Some medical student loans come with borrowing limits you must adhere to. These limits can include other loans you have, so you need to be aware of them before you apply with any private student loan company.
  • Discounts. Some medical school loans include interest rate discounts if you have a relationship with the lender already or if you sign up for autopay. These rate discounts may not seem like much, but they can help you save significant amounts of money over time.

Medical school loans in the coronavirus pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect the finances of people across the country, the federal government has suspended payments and interest charges on most federal student loans through Dec. 31, 2022. Some private lenders have introduced their own temporary hardship forbearance programs, but many are phasing out these forms of relief – another reason why federal student loans are often a better choice.

Doctors and nurses working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness can benefit from this period of forbearance as well; borrowers will continue to receive credit toward PSLF during the suspension while on a qualifying repayment plan, even if they don't make payments. From March 2020 to August 2020, borrowers who have maintained eligible employment will have received credit for up to 30 payments.

Interest rates for medical school loans are starting to rise again after two years of remaining low, so now is a good time to shop around or lock in a fixed rate if you're able to.

FAQ about medical student loans