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Photo of a medical student sitting at a desk and wearing glasses and a red jumper. The girl is smiling because she just received a full-ride scholarship to med school

The Best Medical School Scholarships and How to Get Them: A Complete List

November 4, 2022
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Full Medical School ScholarshipsTuition-Free Medical SchoolsScholarships for Minority GroupsMedical School Scholarship FAQs


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 8/30/22

Wondering how to get a full ride to medical school? This guide outlines everything you need to know about medical school scholarships and free med schools.

Every student has access to scholarships. It’s important to remember that financial aid is out there, and chances are you can find a way to finance your MD education. Scholarships and grants are the best forms of financial assistance since they don’t require repayment.

Not all scholarships come from schools; many independent organizations offer scholarships to eligible individuals. We’ll examine some of the best full-ride scholarships for U.S. medical students. Read on to learn more about types of scholarships, medical schools with free tuition, and more. Let’s get started!

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Full Medical School Scholarships

Medical school can be costly, so a full ride is a best-case scenario to mitigate expenses. A full-time scholarship covers your tuition and many other school expenses. We’ll outline how to get a full ride to medical school in the U.S. 

Federal Scholarships 

The federal government offers the following medical school scholarships. These are available to any U.S. students who meet the requirements.

National Health Service Corps 

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) offers full scholarships to students who commit to practicing medicine in areas with doctor shortages. A year of free education is provided for every two years of full-time service. 

The program covers tuition and eligible educational costs and offers a monthly stipend for living expenses.

To be eligible for the NHSC’s scholarship program, you must be enrolled as a full-time student or be accepted to an accredited medical school. You must be a U.S. citizen or national. 

Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

The Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers full scholarships to medical and dental students in exchange for military service. The program covers tuition, educational fees, a monthly stipend, and more.

To be eligible for the HPSP program, you must: 

Applicants must also be fit to join the military, so it’s essential to check your eligibility requirements for the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marine Corps, or the Army

Medical School Merit Scholarships

Some schools offer full merit-based scholarships for medical students. Merit scholarships are highly competitive, and most schools only grant them to a handful of students. Here are some schools that offer full merit scholarships.

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

UPenn offers the merit-based Twenty-First Century Scholars Program. Each year, this program provides 30 full scholarships to medical students. 

picture of Perelman School of Medicine building

Source: UPenn MD Admissions

Perelman selects students who: 

Every accepted Perelman applicant is considered for the program. 

David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) offers merit and need-based scholarships. Every DGSOM applicant is considered for a full merit scholarship. Each year, DGSOM offers over 100 scholarships to its students.

Duke University School of Medicine

Applicants can apply to many Duke merit scholarships. Its most generous is the Rauch Family Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship covers: 

picture of duke university school of medicine building

Source: Duke University School of Medicine

Every Duke applicant is considered for this scholarship and several others based on academic excellence.

Robert W. Woodruff Fellowships, Emory University School of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine offers nearly 20 merit scholarships to all incoming applicants. One is the Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship program, which offers full tuition and a stipend for four years of study. 

The program is offered to only four first-year medical students annually. Students must demonstrate strong intellect, unselfish character, academic excellence, and more. Every Emory applicant is considered.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

All incoming Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students are considered for merit-based scholarships. The school offers 75% and full-tuition scholarship opportunities. 

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Tuition-Free Medical Schools

Some free med schools that cover tuition costs conditionally, such as Geisinger and Grossman. 

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

The Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine offers a unique scholarship program to their students called the Abigail Geisinger Scholars Program. This program offers the following:

Geisinger’s program is available to all accepted students. Its mission is to grow its family of physicians and provide free education for its doctors through its tuition-free med school program. 

Grossman School of Medicine, New York University 

NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine offers free tuition to students regardless of merit or need. The only condition is maintaining satisfactory academics.

NYU’s tuition-free medical school doesn’t cover other educational fees or living expenses. To get an idea of NYU’s expenses, check out its website.

Medical School Scholarships for Minorities

Some organizations offer medical school scholarships for minorities. Think about your family history, where you intend to practice medicine, and socioeconomic background. Your background and goals may make you a perfect candidate for one of the following scholarships.

Scholarships for Black Medical Students

The Empire State Medical Association Scholarship Award (NY) annually offers three $7,000 scholarships to students from underrepresented backgrounds. To check the eligibility requirements, visit their website.

The American Medical Association (AMA) offers many scholarships, including the Minority Scholars Award. This scholarship is awarded to minority students to promote diversity in medicine. To apply for AMA scholarships, check out their application process.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) offers many programs and scholarships for Black students. Over $100,000,000 is awarded to applicants through different programs annually. To apply, check out their scholarships.

Scholarships for Native American Medical Students

The Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship offers preparatory, pre-graduate, and health professions scholarships to Native-American students. All eligibility requirements are available on their website

Affordable Colleges Online (ACO) has a full state-by-state list of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). TCUs offer unique scholarships and learning opportunities for Native American students seeking higher education. 

The American Indian Graduate Center (AKA The Center for Native Scholarships) offers various scholarships to Native students. Visit their website for opportunities and eligibility requirements.

Scholarships for Hispanic Medical Students

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) annually offers scholarships to 10,000 students of Hispanic descent. Scholarships range from $500 to $5,000 and are offered alongside career services, mentorship, and more. To apply for an HSF scholarship, visit their website.

The National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF) has awarded over 300 scholarships to medical students every year since 2004. Scholarships range from $2,000 to $5,000. Applicants aren’t required to be Hispanic but must have an affinity for the health of Hispanic communities.

The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) awards include coverage for tuition, living expenses, and other fees. They offer ten awards of $500 each and a special award of $1,000. A flist of eligibility requirements can be found here

Scholarships for Medical Students With Disabilities 

The AAHD Scholarship Fund offers scholarships to students with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The AAHD Frederick J. Krause Scholarship on Health and Disability is awarded annually, varying up to $1000. 

The AbbVie Immunology Scholarship is available to students who live with the following inflammatory diseases: 

Recipients are awarded up to $15,000, regardless of financial need.

The John Lepping Memorial Scholarship is available for students with disabilities, awarding up to $5,000. Students must:

To apply, submit their application form along with other required materials.

Scholarships for Jewish Medical Students

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Vocational Service Scholarship is available to Jewish college and graduate students in Chicago. The awards amount to up to $8,000 and are renewable. Visit their website to view eligibility requirements. 

The Jewish Federation of Northeast New York offers several grants and scholarships to Jewish students. To view award opportunities, check their academic scholarships page.

The Jewish Family Association of Cleveland offers multiple awards to Jewish students in the greater Cleveland area, including the Alumni and Friends of JFSA College Financial Aid Program Scholarship. For a list of awards and opportunities, check their scholarships page.

Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Medical Students

The Women in Medicine (WIM) organization presents two $5,000 scholarships to two LGBTQ+ women every year. Students who meet the eligibility criteria and attend school in the U.S. or Canada can apply. 

The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of AIDS activist Pedro Zamora. The scholarship aims to support the academic careers of young activists. The scholarship awards up to $5,000 to applicants who meet the criteria. You can apply through ScholarsApp here

The Pride Foundation offers many awards annually to improve the educational experience of LGBTQ+ students and activists. Eligible candidates can apply for 60+ scholarships with one application.

Scholarships for Women in Medicine

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) offers multiple scholarships for women in medicine. Their awards include the Irene and Daisy MacGregor Memorial Scholarship, the Dr. Francis Anthony Beneventi Medical Scholarship, and more.

The Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship with a one-year membership to the WHCE for female San Francisco Bay Area students. See their website for eligibility criteria.

Peace Corps and Military Scholarships

The Peace Corps and the U.S. Military offer scholarships to students who have completed a certain amount of service. If you’ve volunteered through the Peace Corps, you may be eligible for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program scholarships.

The U.S. military offers programs for students who have enrolled in the army. Most programs pay for one year of school for each service year.

Medical School Scholarship FAQs

Still have queries about medical school scholarships? Here are some common questions and answers

1. Do Ivy League Schools Offer Full Scholarships?

No, the Ivy League schools offer any full-ride scholarships. However, they offer need-based (partial) scholarships and other financial aid options.

2. How Many Medical Scholarships Can I Apply for?

You can apply for as many medical scholarships as you’d like! It’s a good idea to apply for as many as possible, even the small ones. Smaller scholarships often have less competition and may be easier to get.

3. How Do I Find Med School Scholarships?

There are many ways to find scholarships for medical school. You can ask a guidance counselor at your school, look online, or do your own research.

4. Can Non-U.S. Citizens Get Medical Scholarships? 

Yes. There are many scholarship opportunities for non-U.S. citizens and international students. Check with your school for specific international scholarships, and search online for scholarships available to non-U.S. citizens.

5. Do You Have to Pay Back Med School Scholarships?

No, you don’t need to pay back your scholarship. Scholarships, grants, bursaries, and awards are types of financial assistance that don’t need to be repaid. 

6. Which Medical School Gives the Most Scholarships?

NYU Grossman covers tuition for all incoming students as long as they maintain satisfactory academic performance. Therefore, NYU is one of the top med schools that releases the most financial aid. 

7. How Do You Ask for a Scholarship for Medical School?

To “ask” for a scholarship, you simply apply. Ensure you meet eligibility criteria first, and apply to as many scholarships as you like.

8. Can I Study Medicine in the U.S. for Free?

It’s possible if you attend a medical school that covers tuition costs. However, “free” is subjective: some schools waive just tuition, others may help you pay for other expenses on top of educational fees, and you must factor inliving costs too. 

Apply for Scholarships, Enjoy an Affordable Med School Experience

When researching medical scholarships, consider your goals, background, and identity. Along with federal or merit scholarships, hundreds of organizations offer generous awards to students who meet their eligibility criteria. 

Your research can begin anywhere. Try talking to your guidance counselor about local opportunities, using online scholarship portals, talking to teachers, and more to see what’s out there. If you need financial aid, apply to as many scholarships as possible, no matter how small.

Good luck!

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