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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

April 20, 2022
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Full Medical School ScholarshipsFederal Scholarships Medical School Merit ScholarshipsTuition-Free Medical SchoolsScholarships for Minority GroupsMedical School Scholarship FAQs

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

Every student has access to scholarship applications. 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 like student loans.

Not all scholarships come from schools. Many independent organizations offer scholarships to eligible individuals. For example, there are scholarships for women in medicine and scholarships for Black medical students, and other medical school scholarships for minorities.  

Today we’ll take a look at some of the best full-ride scholarships offered to U.S. medical students. We’ll look at medical schools with free tuition, and we’ll answer frequently asked questions about medical school scholarships. Let’s get started!

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Full Medical School Scholarships

Medical school can cost a lot, so a full-ride is the best-case scenario for a scholarship. A full-time scholarship will cover all of your tuition and many other school expenses. Here we’ll go over how to get a full ride to medical school in the U.S. 

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Federal Scholarships 

The United States federal government offers the following medical school scholarships. These are available to any U.S. students who meet their 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. To apply to the NHSC program, visit their website.

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’s program, you must commit to military service, be a U.S. citizen, and meet all other requirements. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.2. Applicants must also be fit to join the military, so it’s essential to check your eligibility requirements for the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or 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 its merit-based Twenty-First Century Scholars Program. Each year, this program provides 30 full scholarships to medical students. 

You must demonstrate excellent academics, a broad range of interests, leadership skills, commitment, and have unique life experiences. 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 both merit and need-based scholarships. Every applicant to DGSOM is considered for a full merit scholarship. Each year, DGSOM offers over 100 scholarships to its students.

Duke University School of Medicine

Duke offers multiple scholarships for its medical students. Its most generous is the Rauch Family Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship covers full tuition, fees, transportation, and allowances for living and other expenses. 

Every Duke applicant is considered for this scholarship and several others awarded 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 of them is the Robert W. Woodruff Fellowship program, which offers full tuition and a stipend for four years of study. 

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

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

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

Tuition-Free Medical Schools

There are some medical schools with free tuition and stipends, in a form similar to a scholarship. Here are a couple of examples of schools that offer conditional free tuition.

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 unique program is available to all accepted students. Its mission is to grow its family of physicians and provide free education for its doctors.

Grossman School of Medicine, New York University 

NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine has recently begun offering free tuition to all students regardless of merit or need. The only condition is maintaining satisfactory academics according to the Grossman’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

It is worth noting that the free tuition program at Grossman does not cover other educational fees or living expenses. To get an idea of NYU’s expenses, check out its website

Scholarships for Minority Groups

Some organizations offer medical school scholarships for minorities. Think about your family history, where you intend to practice medicine, and your socioeconomic background. Each of your personal traits 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) offers three $7000 scholarships each year to students that come 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 minority scholarships, check out their application process.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) offers a multitude of programs and scholarships for Black students. Over one hundred million dollars is awarded to applicants through their 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 students of Native-American students. A full list of eligibility requirements is available on their website, as well as how to apply. 

Affordable Colleges Online (ACO) has a full state-by-state list of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in America. 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 a variety of scholarships to Native students. Visit their website for a full list of opportunities and eligibility requirements.

Scholarships for Hispanic Medical Students

Every year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) offers scholarships to ten thousand students of Hispanic descent. Their scholarships range from $500 to $5000 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. The amounts of the scholarships range from $2000 to $5000. Applicants are not 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 educational fees. They offer ten awards of $500 each and a special award of $1000. A full list of their 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, with amounts varying up to $1000. 

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

The AbbVie scholarship awards recipients up to $15,000 regardless of financial need. To check your eligibility, refer to their scholarships page

The John Lepping Memorial Scholarship is available for disabled students and amounts up to $5000. To be eligible, students must provide proof of disability, academic achievement, and be a resident of New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. 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, IL. The awards amount to up to $8000 and are renewable throughout your degree. Visit their website to view the full list of eligibility requirements

The Jewish Federation of Northeast New York offers several grants and scholarships to Jewish undergraduate and graduate students. To view the full list of 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 full list of their awards and opportunities, check their scholarships page.

Scholarships for LQBTQA+ Medical Students

The Women in Medicine (WIM) organization presents two $5000 scholarships to two LGBTQA+ women every year. The scholarship is available to students who meet the eligibility criteria and attend school in the U.S. or Canada.

The Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship is dedicated to the loving memory of AIDS activist Pedro Zamora. The scholarship aims to support the academic careers of young activists today. The scholarship awards up to $5000 to applicants who meet the criteria. You can apply through ScholarsApp here

The Pride Foundation offers multiple awards every year to improve the educational experience of LGBTQA+ students and activists. Eligible candidates can apply for their 60+ available scholarships with only 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.

For female students in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Lynn Adamson Memorial Scholarship is a $5000 scholarship that comes with a one-year membership to the WHCE. See their website for a full list of eligibility criteria.

Peace Corps and Military Scholarships

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

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

Medical School Scholarship FAQs

Still have queries about medical school scholarships? Here are some common questions answered.

1. Do Ivy League schools offer full scholarships?

No, unfortunately none of the Ivy League schools offer any full-ride scholarships. However, they do offer need-based (partial) scholarships and other financial aid options like student loans.

2. How many scholarships can I apply for?

You can apply for as many 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 obtain.

3. How do I find scholarships?

There are many ways to find scholarships. You can ask a guidance counselor at your school, look online through portals like www.studentawards.com or studentaid.gov, or do your own research.

4. Can non-U.S. citizens get scholarships? 

Yes! There are many scholarship opportunities out there 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 a scholarship back?

No, you do not need to pay back your scholarship. Scholarships, grants, bursaries, and awards are all types of financial assistance that do not need to be repaid. 

6. What’s the difference between a scholarship and a bursary?

Scholarships are typically awarded based on merit, while bursaries are given to people in need of financial aid. 

Conclusion

When researching medical scholarships, make sure to be as specific to your situation as possible. As well as the more popular federal or merit scholarships, there are hundreds of organizations out there offering 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 even calling your future school to see what options they have available. If you need financial aid, apply to as many scholarships as possible, no matter how small.

Good luck!

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