Summary of Best Medical School Loans of April 2020
|Lender||Fixed APR||Variable APR||Min. Credit Score||Learn More|
Federal Grad PLUS Loan
7.08 - 7.08%
CommonBond Private Student Loan
5.45 - 9.74%
3.31 - 9.29%
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
4.74 - 11.85%
2.00 - 10.01%
Does not disclose
Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
4.53 - 10.72%
3.39 - 10.09%
Does not disclose
Citizens One Private Student Loan
4.40 - 12.19%
2.69 - 11.02%
Does not disclose
PNC Private Student Loan
4.49 - 11.49%
4.59 - 11.59%
Our pick for
All borrowers as a first option
Benefits like student loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment make federal student loans a better option than private student loans for medical school.
Our picks for
Borrowers who have good credit
Federal loans for medical school
Medical students may be able to take out 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.
Two other types of federal loans are available to all medical students:
- Federal direct unsubsidized loans: Max out these loans first because they have lower interest rates and fees than PLUS loans. You can borrow up to $20,500 per year and $138,500 total.
- Federal PLUS loans: Take out PLUS loans if you've maxed out unsubsidized loans and you can't get a lower rate with a private loan. PLUS loan interest rates are 7% for the 2017-18 school year and there's a 4.26% loan fee.
To apply for both types of federal loans, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — this FAFSA guide can help. Most borrowers qualify for both federal direct unsubsidized loans and federal PLUS loans — there's no financial need requirement.
There's no credit check required for direct unsubsidized loans. There is a credit check required 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
If you have excellent credit and don't plan to pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you may be better off with private medical student loans. 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 your credit, the loan term and whether you choose a fixed or variable rate.
Other medical student loan questions
Going to medical school means taking on a lot of medical school loans. The average medical school debt among the class of 2018 was $196,520. Here are some common questions medical students have about managing this debt.
How should I pay off medical school debt?
There are many tactics for paying off medical school debt, including refinancing medical school loans, seeking loan forgiveness for doctors and making payments on an income-driven repayment plan. The best strategy for you depends on factors including the types of loans you have — federal or private — and your career goals.
Is doctor loan forgiveness right for me?
Loan forgiveness for doctors typically requires that you practice in the public sector or in an underserved area for a certain period of time. If your career plans align with a program’s requirements, forgiveness may be worth pursuing.
How can I get medical school loan forgiveness?
There are several federal and state medical school loan forgiveness programs. The best program for you depends on your career plans and whether your have federal or private student loans.
Last updated on December 5, 2019
To recap our selections...
NerdWallet's Best Medical School Loans of April 2020
- Federal Grad PLUS Loan: Best for All borrowers as a first option
- CommonBond Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers who have good credit
- Sallie Mae Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers who have good credit
- Wells Fargo Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers who have good credit
- Citizens One Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers who have good credit
- PNC Private Student Loan: Best for Borrowers who have good credit