Medical School Loans

A flexible loan for a healthy budget

Pick your payment and pay zero fees on your med school loan. Check if Earnest is the right choice for you in 2 minutes.

Benefit from no-fee loans

With flexible repayment options and a longer grace period, you can get a med school loan that’s better in the long run.

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Find a low rate

Look for a low interest rate on your medical school loan. You could save big from residency to fellowship.

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Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
variable rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
fixed rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
variable rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will fluctuate over time
Starting at
( including 0.25% Auto Pay discount )
fixed rates
Are loans that have an interest rate that will not fluctuate over time

Build a loan that fits your budget


Simple application

Apply online and upload all documents on your phone


Fast decision

Most approved borrowers hear back within 72 hours


Customized payments

Choose a payment plan or pay nothing while in school

Am I a good candidate for private student loans?

Before applying for private student loans with Earnest, use this easy pre-application checklist to make sure you're prepared.

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Way to go! Continue to apply now with Earnest in 2 minutes.

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Get the FAQs on medical school loans

How much can you take out in loans for med school?

Grad students (including medical school students) are eligible to take out up to $20,500 in Federal Direct unsubsidized loans each year. These loans have lower interest rates than Federal Direct PLUS loans (also known as a grad Plus Loan) or private loans. Federal Direct PLUS loans and private student loans do not have a cap.

Anyone who has considered a career in healthcare knows that a medical education can be expensive. It’s common for medical students to apply for another type of loan, such as the Federal Direct PLUS loans and private student loans. These types of loans do not have a cap on how much you can borrow.

What federal loan options should I consider before applying for a private student loan?

Before starting the application process for private student loans, it’s best to look at other sources of financial aid first. Federal student aid offers several options based on financial need. It’s recommended that you use a 4-step approach to get the funds you need:

  1. Look for educational funding you don’t have to pay back, like scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities.
  2. Fill out a FAFSA® form to apply for federal student loans. Most federal student loans don’t require a credit check or a cosigner, and offer federal programs if you’re struggling with monthly payments.
  3. Consider asking a parent to look at federal parent loans. The Parent PLUS loan is issued directly to parents or guardians of current students.
  4. Look at a private student loan to cover any differences between your total cost of attendance and the amount not included in steps 1-3.

To learn more about federal student loan programs, visit the U.S. Department of Education. You can also fill out a free application for federal student aid or FAFSA® here.

The best private student loans should give you a low interest rate that will complement your federal financial aid. Keep in mind that you will accumulate interest on both federal student loans and private student loans over time.

What is the difference between Federal Direct PLUS loans and private student loans?

Federal Direct PLUS loans are offered by the government, while private loans are offered by private lenders. Federal PLUS loans are available through the FAFSA, and doesn’t require you to have a good credit history or credit score. You can learn more about the FAFSA application process at:

However, Federal PLUS loans do have a mandatory loan origination fee and a flat interest rate. Private student loans typically have no loan fees, and your interest rate depends on your credit profile or that of your cosigner, if applicable.


Federal student loans are a good way to cover medical school costs because it comes with certain protections. Federal programs offer borrowers certain protections that private student loans may not, such as income-based repayment programs and public service loan forgiveness on student loan debt. Private student loans offer different loan terms and may offer a lower interest rate. Income-based repayment or loan forgiveness programs for medical school debt are benefits of federal student loans, but a private lender may also offer you other perks, such as flexible payment terms or a lower interest rate.

Loan limits

Federal student loans have borrowing limits (similar to limits on credit cards). If the cost of attendance exceeds the federal loan amount, that means you will need to cover the leftover cost. Graduate students may apply for no-cap Direct loans from the government, but undergraduate students do not have this option.

Cost of attendance

Many students choose to apply for a loan with a private lender to cover their leftover costs. Earnest private student loans, in addition to covering the entire cost of attendance, also have rates that are based on the credit profile of you and/or any cosigner you have. This may mean higher or lower rates than those offered by federal loans, depending on the credit profile.

Grace periods, origination fees, and disbursement

A private student loan may offer a longer deferment period or grace period than a federal student loan. Some private loans, such as Earnest private student loans, don’t have an origination fee while some federal student loans do. If you are approved, your Earnest Private Student Loan will be disbursed (sent) directly to your school and not to your bank account.

Auto Pay benefits

With an Earnest private student loan, you get a 0.25% APR reduction when you agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment.

Before looking for loans with private financial institutions, such as online lenders, credit unions or banks, explore all of your student loan options with the federal government to cover your medical school costs.

Do medical residents qualify for deferment?

Yes, medical residents may defer payments on their student loans until their residency is complete.

Are flexible repayment options available for Earnest private student loans?

With an Earnest private student loan, you get a deferment period that’s 3 months longer than most other student loans. That means you don’t have to make student loan payments up to 9 months after you graduate. However, if you choose to make interest or principal balance payments while still in school, you will not be able to defer your loan payment after graduation. To learn more about Earnest student loan repayment terms, visit the Help Center.

With Earnest private student loans, you can choose from different repayment plans to pay off your student loan.

To make in-school payments more manageable, We allow students to make $25 automatic payments while they are in school. Other in-school repayment options include paying for the accrued interest, deferring payment for 9 months after graduation, or making the interest and principal payment on your loan.

Also, we do not have any prepayment penalties, late fees, or origination fees.

What kind of interest rates do you offer?

There are two types of interest rates – fixed interest and variable interest. A fixed rate will not change and tends to be higher. A variable rate loan tends to offer lower interest rates, but that interest can fluctuate, making your payment less predictable. Before taking out a private student loan, make sure to compare interest rates and read the fine print on all of your loan applications. A high interest rate means you could pay more over the life of the loan.

Earnest Private Student Loans offer both fixed and variable interest rates. If you choose a fixed interest rate for your Earnest loan term, that means the interest will not change. If you have a variable interest rate, it may change over time. After you graduate and begin working, you may want to check if you can refinance your loan for lower interest rates. You can learn more about student loan refinancing with Earnest here and about loan products from Earnest partners.

Do medical students get paid?

Med students do not get paid while in med school. Once they enter residency, however, they do receive a salary. Medscape surveys indicate an average salary of approximately $61,200 in 2019.

The Earnest Blog

Learn more about paying for med school