Best of

10 Best Medical School Loans of June 2024

Benefits like student loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment make federal student loans a better option than private student loans for medical school.

NerdWallet
By
Last updated on August 30, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Des Toups
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

NerdWallet's student loans content, including articles, reviews and recommendations, is produced by a team of writers and editors who specialize in consumer lending. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Nasdaq, MSN, ABC News, MarketWatch and many other national and regional media outlets. They also have appeared on NerdWallet's “Smart Money” podcast, as well as local TV and radio.
Top Private Student Loan Lenders
Ad
2024 Best Private Student Loan Overall
College Ave Private Student Loan
5.0/5
NerdWallet rating
College Ave Private Student Loan
Fixed APR
4.17-16.69%
Variable APR
5.59-16.85%
Min. credit score
Mid-600s
on College Ave's website
on Credible’s website
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
Fixed APR
4.50-15.49%
Variable APR
5.37-15.70%
Min. credit score
Mid-600's
on Sallie Mae's website
on Credible’s website

Best Medical School Loans

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Fixed APR
Variable APR
Learn more
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Read review

None

5.50-7.05%

N/A

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

5.0
/5
Best for Manageable payments post-graduation

None

7.54-7.54%

N/A

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

GO TO LENDER SITE
on Sallie Mae's website
on Sallie Mae's website
COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.5
/5
Best for Private loans for medical school

Mid-600's

4.50-15.49%

5.37-15.70%

College Ave Medical Student Loan

College Ave Medical Student Loan

5.0
/5
Best for Private loans for medical school

Mid-600s

4.17-16.69%

5.59-16.85%

Ascent Medical Student Loan

Ascent Medical Student Loan

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
4.5
/5
Best for Private loans for medical school

Low-Mid 600s

5.29-15.96%

7.60-16.34%

COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website

Our pick for

All borrowers as a first option

Start with federal direct unsubsidized loans if low-cost federal health professions student loans aren’t available for medical school.

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Read review
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

5.0
Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

5.50-7.05%

Variable APR

N/A

Key factsBest first option for all student loan borrowers.
Pros
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.
  • Subsidized loans do not collect interest while in school or during deferment.
  • Lower interest rates than many private lenders.
Cons
  • You pay an origination fee.
Qualifications
  • No credit check or minimum income is needed to borrow.
  • Loan amounts for undergraduates: $5,500 year one, $6,500 year two, $7,500 year three and thereafter, up to a total of $31,000
  • Independent students and graduate students have higher loan limits.
  • Undergraduate interest rate fixed at 3.73%, while grad students get higher 5.28% rate
Available Term Lengths10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.
Read Full Review

Our pick for

Manageable payments post-graduation

Federal benefits like student loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment can make grad PLUS loans a better option than private student loans for medical school.

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Min. credit score

None

Fixed APR

7.54-7.54%

Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

You can postpone payments in residency.

Pros
  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers compared with private lenders.
  • All borrowers who attend a school authorized to receive federal aid can qualify.
Cons
  • May have higher interest rates compared with private lenders.
  • You pay an origination fee.
  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Grad PLUS loan borrowers must not have adverse credit history.
  • Borrowers with adverse credit history can still receive a grad PLUS loan by enlisting a co-signer without adverse credit history or documenting extenuating circumstances for their credit history.
  • Loan amounts: Total cost of attendance minus other financial aid.
Available Term Lengths10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.

Our pick for

Private loans for medical school

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan
COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

4.5
Min. credit score

Mid-600's

Fixed APR

4.50-15.49%

Variable APR

5.37-15.70%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for Sallie Mae's private student loan. You can postpone payments in residency for up to four years.

Pros
  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, who live in the U.S. and attend school in the U.S. can apply with a qualified co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Cons
  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.
Available Term Lengths10 to 15 years
DisclaimerLowest rates shown include the auto debit. Advertised APRs for undergraduate students assume a $10,000 loan to a student who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae-serviced loans. Interest rates for variable rate loans may increase or decrease over the life of the loan based on changes to the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. Advertised variable rates are the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. To receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount, the borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The discount applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment. Advertised APRs are valid as of 5/31/2024. Loan amounts: For applications submitted directly to Sallie Mae, loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received, as certified by the school. Applications submitted to Sallie Mae through a partner website may be subjected to a lower maximum loan request amount. Miscellaneous personal expenses (such as a laptop) may be included in the cost of attendance for students enrolled at least half-time. Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.28% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $182.67 and one payment of $121.71, for a Total Loan Cost of $23,134.44. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $132.53 and one payment of $40.35 for a total loan cost of $24,438.22. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years. A variable APR may increase over the life of the loan. A fixed APR will not.
College Ave Medical Student Loan

College Ave Medical Student Loan

Min. credit score

Mid-600s

Fixed APR

4.17-16.69%

Variable APR

5.59-16.85%

Key factsBest for med students who'll need extra time before starting repayment.
Pros
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.
  • You can defer payments up to an additional 48 months during fellowship after your grace period.
Cons
  • You must be at least halfway through your repayment term before you can request a co-signer release.
Qualifications
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.
  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to the total cost of attendance.
Available Term Lengths5, 8, 10, 15 or 20 years
DisclaimerCollege Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. Rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 6/14/2024. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
Ascent Medical Student Loan
COMPARE RATES
on Credible’s website
on Credible’s website
Ascent Medical Student Loan

Ascent Medical Student Loan

Min. credit score

Low-Mid 600s

Fixed APR

5.29-15.96%

Variable APR

7.60-16.34%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for Ascent's private student loan. Ascent's medical school loan lets you defer payments for up to 36 months after you finish school.

Pros
  • Among the best for payment flexibility.
  • Grace period of 36 months is longer than many lenders offer.
  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
  • Stands out for features that enable faster loan repayment.
Cons
    Qualifications
    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not available.
    • Minimum income: Not available.
    • Loan amounts: up to $400,000.
    Available Term Lengths7, 10, 12, 15 or 20 years
    DisclaimerAscent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 6/3/2024 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest rates require full principal and interest payments, the shortest loan term, a cosigner, and are only available for our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores. Actual APR offered may be higher or lower than the repayment examples above, based on the amount of time you spend in school and any grace period you have before repayment begins.
    Earnest Undergraduate Loan

    Earnest Undergraduate Loan

    Min. credit score

    650

    Fixed APR

    4.29-16.49%

    Variable APR

    5.62-16.85%

    Key factsAn option for undergraduate borrowers who want flexible repayment.
    Pros
    • Option to skip one payment every 12 months.
    • No late fees.
    • Nine-month grace period is longer than most lenders offer.
    Cons
    • Loans aren't available in Nevada.
    Qualifications
    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: 758.
    • Minimum income: $35,000.
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance.
    Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10, 12 or 15 years
    DisclaimerActual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.54% APR to 16.74% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.87% APR to 17.10% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
    Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan
    COMPARE RATES
    on Credible’s website
    on Credible’s website
    Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan

    Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    680

    Fixed APR

    4.50-14.22%

    Variable APR

    6.00-14.22%

    Key factsBest for borrowers with a significant funding gap.
    Pros
    • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.
    • You are assigned a student loan advisor.
    Cons
    • No co-signer release available.
    Qualifications
    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Not available.
    • Minimum income: $35,000.
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to your total cost of attendance.
    Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10 or 15 years.
    Nelnet Bank Private Student Loan

    Nelnet Bank Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    Mid to High 600s

    Fixed APR

    4.49-15.47%

    Variable APR

    6.29-15.51%

    Key factsBest for borrowers who value flexibility in repayment.
    Pros
    • Provides rate offer with soft credit check.
    Cons
    • Does not disclose full underwriting requirements.
    • Does not allow bi-weekly payments via autopay.
    Qualifications
    • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 with an aggregate loan limit of $125,000 (Undergrad).
    Available Term Lengths
    DisclaimerFixed interest rates range from 4.49% APR (with auto debit discount) to 15.47% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. The fixed interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. Variable interest rates range from 6.29% APR (with auto debit discount) to 15.51% APR (without auto debit discount). Your interest rate will depend on your (and if applicable, your cosigner’s) credit qualifications. Variable rates for Nelnet Bank Student Loans are calculated using either (a) the One-Month SOFR; (b) the 30-day Average SOFR; or (c) the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and/or The Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the twenty-fifth day (or the next business day) of the immediately preceding calendar month. The variable rate may reprice and change on the first day of each month if the SOFR index changes. This may result in higher monthly payments. The current One-Month SOFR index is 5.32% as of June 1, 2024. Lowest rates listed above include an interest rate reduction for eligible applications, enrollment in auto debit, and are available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may increase over the life of the loan. The lowest rate for each loan type requires automatically withdrawn (i.e., auto debit) payments. The lowest rate is available only to the most creditworthy applicants. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rate. The interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher depending upon (1) the credit history of the borrower and, if applicable, the cosigner, (2) the repayment option and loan term selected, and (3) the loan type selected. If approved, applicants will be notified of the rate qualified for within the stated range. Interest rate reduction of .25% for automatically withdrawn payments from any designated bank account (“auto debit discount”). Auto debit discount applies when full payments (including both principal and interest) are automatically drafted from a bank account. The auto debit discount will continue to apply during periods of approved forbearance or deferment if the auto debit discount was in effect at the time of receiving the forbearance or deferment. Auto debit discount will remain on the account unless (1) the automatic deduction of payments is cancelled or (2) there are three consecutive automatic deductions returned for insufficient funds at any time during the term of the loan. Your actual savings, if any, may vary based on interest rates, balances, remaining repayment terms and other factors. Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Checking your rate results in a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. If you continue with your application, Nelnet Bank will request your permission to obtain your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies. This is a hard credit pull and may affect your credit score. Nelnet Bank offers various payment assistance programs to assist you if you are currently struggling to make payments. Contact us at [email protected] or 800.446.4190 to get more information. This referral partner is not the creditor of Nelnet Bank loans and may receive compensation from Nelnet Bank for the referral of Nelnet Bank loan customers. A request for the cosigner to be released can be made by either the borrower or cosigner when each of the following conditions has been met: • The account must have been in full principal and interest repayment for at least 24 months. • Twenty-four consecutive, on-time principal and interest payments, or lump sum equivalent, must have been made. Note: A lump sum payment does not replace the requirement to have been in full principal and interest repayment for at least 24 months. Interest-only or fixed-pay payments while enrolled in school do not qualify toward the 24 consecutive on-time payments. • The loan must be current at the time of request. • The loan must not have been in deferment, hardship forbearance, or other alternative payment assistance plan within the past 24 months. • The loan must not have been permanently modified from its original terms in the credit agreement. • The primary borrower must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency in the United States. • The primary borrower must meet the age of majority requirement in their permanent state of residency. • Requirements are subject to change. • If all of these conditions have been met, an application for cosigner release may be submitted. The primary borrower is required to demonstrate they have the ability to assume sole responsibility for the loan(s) by providing proof of income, meeting debt-to-income requirements, and having a satisfactory credit history. (A credit report will be obtained during the review process).

    Our pick for

    International medical students

    International students without an eligible co-signer have fewer options to get a student loan for medical school.

    MPOWER Private Student Loan

    MPOWER Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    None

    Fixed APR

    12.99-15.99%

    Variable APR

    N/A

    Key factsBest for international students and students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status.
    Pros
    • Offers a hard-to-find option: non-co-signed student loans for international and DACA students.
    • Borrowers are assigned a dedicated student loan advisor.
    • Borrowers can request forbearance of up to 24 months, which is longer than many lenders offer.
    Cons
    • Payment required while in school.
    • Offers only one repayment term: 10 years.
    Qualifications
    • MPOWER considers future income potential but does not factor in credit scores.
    • Loan amounts: Minimum $2,001. Maximum loan is $100,000, limited to $50,000 per academic period.
    Available Term Lengths10 years
    DisclaimerNote: Our loan does not support Canadian citizens studying in Canada. Canadian Permanent Residents and U.S. citizens are considered “international” when studying in Canada. International students, U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and DACA recipients in the U.S. or Canada. ‘International’ means you are a non-U.S. citizen or U.S. non-permanent resident studying at a university in the U.S., or you are a non-Canadian citizen or Canadian non-permanent resident studying at a university in Canada. ‘DACA’ means the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals Program initiated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012. In order to qualify as a DACA Student, you must have applied for, and been granted, DACA status by USCIS. As a graduate student, you can borrow with a fixed interest rate of 12.99% (13.98% APR¹). This is the maximum rate and will not increase. However, MPOWER offers borrowers a way to qualify for a discount; a 0.25% rate discount is possible by making your loan payments through automatic withdrawal from your bank account. If you qualify for this discount, your rate will be 12.74% (13.72% APR²). ¹[International graduate student with regular interest rate] The APR is calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of US$10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. Payments will be interest only until graduation, plus an additional 6-month grace period. The remaining months of repayment are calculated using a 120-month amortization schedule. All payments are made on-time, a forbearance is never utilized, and there is no pre-payment of any principal. At an APR of 13.98%, the monthly payment amount is US$113.66 for the first 30 months. For the next 120 months, the monthly payment amount is about $156.71. ²[International graduate student with discounted interest rate] The APRs with discounts are calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of $10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. The borrower signs up for automatic debit immediately after the loan is disbursed and remains on it for the life of the loan, which reduces the rate by 0.25%. At an APR of 13.72%, the monthly payment is US$111.47 for the first 30 months. For the last 120 payments, the monthly amount is US$155.17. Undergraduate Students in the U.S. or Canada As an undergraduate student, you can borrow with a fixed interest rate of 13.99% (15.01% APR³). This is the maximum rate and will never increase. However, MPOWER offers borrowers a way to qualify for a discount; a 0.25% rate discount is possible by making your loan payments through automatic withdrawal from your bank account. If you qualify for this discount, your rate will be 13.74% (14.75% APR⁴). ³[International undergraduate student with regular interest rate] The APR is calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of $10,000 with a 5% origination fee of $500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. Payments will be interest only until graduation plus an additional 6-month grace period. The remaining months of repayment are calculated using a 120-month amortization schedule. All payments are made on-time, a forbearance is never utilized, and there is no pre-payment of any principal. At an APR of 15.01%, the monthly payment amount is $122.41 for the first 30 months. For the next 120 months, the monthly payment amount is $162.97. ⁴[International undergraduate student with discounted interest rate] The APRs with discounts are calculated using the following assumptions: A loan is approved in the amount of US$10,000 with a 5% origination fee of US$500. The student will start making payments 45 days after loan disbursement. The borrower signs up for automatic debit immediately after the loan is disbursed and remains on it for the life of the loan, which reduces the rate by 0.25%. A forbearance is never utilized and there is no prepayment of any principal. At an APR of 14.75%, the monthly payment is US$120.22 for the first 30 payments. For the last 120 payments, the monthly amount is US$161.39.

    Our pick for

    Borrowers from Texas

    Brazos Private Student Loan

    Brazos Private Student Loan

    Min. credit score

    680

    Fixed APR

    2.77-6.96%

    Variable APR

    5.00-9.44%

    Key factsBest for Texas residents and students of Texan colleges with strong financials or a qualified co-signer.
    Pros
    • May offer lower rates for graduate students than what are available through the federal government.
    • Applies extra payments to the loan principal by default.
    • Offers five loan terms, which is more than most lenders.
    Cons
    • Not available to borrowers enrolled in two year programs at community colleges.
    • Biweekly payments via autopay is not available.
    Available Term Lengths5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years

    Federal loans for medical school

    There are multiple types of federal loans for medical school. Consider them in this order:

    • Federal health professions student loans. These loans have interest subsidies and lower interest rates than other federal loans. But they're only available to borrowers who demonstrate financial need and attend participating schools. Ask your school about its application process to see if you qualify.

    • Federal direct unsubsidized loans. These loans aren't based on financial need, and medical students should max out these loans before PLUS loans because they have lower interest rates and fees. You can borrow up to $20,500 per year and $138,500 total, including any undergraduate loans.

    • Federal PLUS loans. Consider PLUS loans after you've exhausted other federal loans for medical school. PLUS loan interest rates are 7.54% for the 2022-23 school year, which may be close to the rate you'd get with a private loan. But PLUS loans come with a 4.228% fee that most private lenders don't charge.

    To get federal loans for medical school, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — this FAFSA guide can help. If your school participates in the health professions student loan program, you may need to fill out a different application.

    There's no credit check for direct unsubsidized loans. There is a credit check for PLUS loans, but you don't necessarily need good credit to qualify — you just can't have adverse credit history or negative marks on your credit.

    Private medical school loans

    Private medical school loans can make sense if you have excellent credit and don't plan to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Unlike federal loans, which have the same fixed rates for all borrowers, private loans have lower rates for borrowers with good credit, and they typically don't have fees.

    Before approving you, the lender will do a hard credit pull to check your credit history. The interest rate you get will depend on factors like your credit, the loan term and whether you choose a fixed or variable rate.

    Many lenders — including Ascent, Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo — offer private medical school loans with specific benefits for aspiring health professionals, like the ability to postpone or make reduced payments during residency. Weigh such features vs. getting the lowest interest rate possible.

    Medical school loans for international students

    International students aren't eligible for federal student loans. But they may be able to qualify for a private medical school loan with an eligible co-signer.

    If you're an international medical student without a credit history or co-signer, you'll have fewer options.

    MPOWER lends to international students, but caps loan amounts at $50,000 annually, which may not be enough to cover med school. Prodigy Finance offers higher loan limits ($220,000) but isn't available in every state.

    Managing medical school loans

    Going to medical school means taking on a lot of medical school loans. The average medical school debt among the class of 2019 was $201,490.

    Explore tactics for paying off medical school debt before you borrow. Depending on your career goals and the type of loans you have, the best strategy may be refinancing medical school loans during or after your residency, seeking loan forgiveness for doctors or riding out an an income-driven repayment plan.

    » MORE: How to pay off $100,000+ in student loans

    STUDENT LOAN RATINGS METHODOLOGY

    Our survey of more than 29 banks, credit unions and online lenders offering student loans and student loan refinancing includes the top 10 lenders by market share and top 10 lenders by online search volume, as well as lenders that serve specialty or nontraditional markets.

    We consider 40 features and data points for each financial institution. Depending on the category, these include the availability of biweekly payments through autopay, minimum credit score and income requirement disclosures, availability to borrowers in all states, extended grace periods and in-house customer service.

    The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

    Last updated on August 30, 2023

    To recap our selections...

    NerdWallet's Best Medical School Loans of June 2024

    • Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan: Best for All borrowers as a first option
    • Federal Grad PLUS Loan: Best for Manageable payments post-graduation
    • Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school
    • College Ave Medical Student Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school
    • Ascent Medical Student Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school
    • Earnest Undergraduate Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school
    • Education Loan Finance Private Student Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school
    • MPOWER Private Student Loan: Best for International medical students
    • Brazos Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers from Texas
    • Nelnet Bank Private Student Loan: Best for Private loans for medical school

    Frequently asked questions

    • Medical students can get up to $20,500 per year and $138,500 total in unsubsidized federal student loans. You can borrow up to your cost of attendance in federal PLUS loans or private student loans.

    • To pay for medical school, you may be able to receive federal health professions student loans (only at participating schools); federal unsubsidized and PLUS loans; and private student loans.

    • Medical students aren’t eligible for subsidized federal loans. But you may receive subsidized health professions student loans if your school participates in this program and you have financial need.

    • Federal student loans are typically your best bet for medical school because they offer benefits that private loans lack, like income-driven repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs.

    NerdWallet Pixel