Financing a Professional School Education
The cost of a prehealth professions undergraduate education can be appreciable. Degree seeking students at FIU are often eligible for financial aid and/or student loans. Students are encouraged to learn about their financial aid eligibility by consulting with the FIU Office of Financial Aid.
Post-baccalaureate students have unique financial obligations and their eligibility for financial aid will depend on whether they choose to be degree seeking. All students should also consider that the costs of the Pre-Health professions preparation will become a part of their total financial liability upon completing a professional degree with its very large costs.
Preparation for application to a health profession is the first of many expenses. Most Pre-Health students will take a commercial preparation course prior to taking the MCAT, DAT, PCAT, OAT or GRE. These courses typically cost about $2,000. Application costs for medical school are generally larger than for the other health professions and so what follows is largely based on the costs of medical school application, those students who are considering applying to other professions should use this only as an outline estimate their own expenses.
In the 2013 Application Year the cost of the MCAT is $270, although a rescheduling cost may increase this expense by $90. AMCAS will offer a student a reduced rate, $100, if they qualify based on having an income 30% below the poverty line. Application to medical school is also a major expense. Application to a single school is only $160 but each additional school costs $34. Typically a student will apply to ~15 schools, this will cost about $636. Many students feel that an application to AACOMAS (DO schools) is a practical and wise choice. If they apply to 10 DO schools the cost will be about $400. Centralized application is only the initial step towards acceptance. Students will also need to pay the costs of secondary applications to each school that shows a significant interest in their application. Secondary applications vary in cost, FIU's is only $30 but others are much higher and a typical expense of $100 is a reasonable estimate. So if a student files secondary applications at 10 schools then it may cost them as much as $1,000.
It is always great to hear that a student has been invited to interview at a professional program but it also means that they will likely spend a significant amount of money traveling to that interview. Airfare, hotel, and food are expenses must be considered as a component of the application cost. A student can spend $500 for airfare, $200 for a hotel, and an additional $100 for food/transportation during the interview. If he/she is so lucky as to travel to 8 interviews the cost could approach $6400.
Finally, students who have the good fortune to receive letters of acceptance will find that the schools usually require a fee to be paid that will hold that seat while the student determines which other schools may offer an acceptance. This varies but is often near $200. (For the Florida DO Schools; NOVA Southeastern University & LECOM in Bradenton, this fee is ~2,000!)
The sum of all these expenses is impressive. Even before paying the first semester's tuition, a medical student will often have invested between $8,000 and $12,000.
It is not unusual for a student to find that attendance at a medical school will cost $50,000 a year or more. This includes tuition, books and supplies, and the cost of living. The cost of a medical degree often will result in a student loan debt of over $200,000. Although this is a large expense, it is not insurmountable and a student who graduates will make an income that will enable them to pay these expenses. They may not have the luxury to switch careers if they do not find the career as rewarding as they expected. It is evident that students should carefully consider a choice of a career in medicine or other health profession.
There are opportunities that are open to students that will dramatically lower these expenses. Students who commit to work in rural communities are eligible for assistance and students who commit to serving in the US Armed Services will find that their tuition, books and materials are fully covered and they will receive a stipend throughout their schooling.