I've been reading some and the stories are encouraging. I've decided at 28 to pursue medical school after 8 years in the computer industry. I've always wanted to go into medicine but somehow got sidetracked due to life, a kid, and other obstacles.
So one of my big questions, and I'm sure a common one, is how do I pay for all this? The good thing is that my wife is behind me all the way, and so at least I have a support system, but I fear she won't make enough to cover all our costs of living. Being a typical 28 year old, I have things such as credit card debt/car payment/rent/ etc. So when I'm applying for loans/grants/scholarships, can I also include cost of living in that in the form of a stipend? I know I will not be able to work at all during med school so this is an important issue for me, and the only obstacle I can see.
Anyone else who had a similar circumstance? Would love to know how you handled it. I can't depend on my parents to support me, so I have to find other resources. Would love to hear how others have handled this.
A future MD hopeful
The federal government has luckily realized this and helps us out quite a bit. Each medical school determines an annual budget for its students which includes things such as rent, transportation, books, tuition, etc. Then the federal government allows you to borrow up to $38,500 per year towards these expenses (although some schools are very specific in not allowing you more than what their total annual budget is). So, if you feel that you can live on that much plus your wife's income, you should be fine while in medical school. The only problem is that nowadays, tuition at some of the more expensive schools exceeds $30,000 per year. In that situation, the medical school will usually help find some private lenders to loan you the amount up to their annual budget. It is difficult, but far from impossible. It should be one of the issues to consider, but don't let it be the blockade. Good luck and let me know if you have any specific questions in regards to financial aid.
I would add to do what you can now to limit your debt - pay off car(s), pay off card(s) - determine if you can drive the cars you have now until you get out of school - that is delay any new purchases, etc.
I just want to start off by saying that going to med school is definately do-able, even with all of the added financial concerns that a non-trad student can have.
I can only speak about my school, but most schools are probably similar. When you do your financial aid for medical school (Med Loans) the school has already figured into the loan amount your cost of living (food, rent, utilities, ect.) They don't change the loan amounts for individual students, regardless of the situations surrounding them. The only exception (for me at least) is that they will allow you to borrow more to cover the cost of child care. I just had to bring in a piece of paper from the place where my kids stay stating how much it costs.
After tuition and books, I have about $6500-7000 for the semester. Like you, I have house, car, credit cards, child care, and all the other good debt that people manage to acquire with time, the money doesn't go as far as I would like, but with my wife working we do manage to make ends meet. If medicine is really what you want to do, don't let the money scare you away from your dream.
There are also loans you can take out from different banks, but be careful of those. They may have higher interest rates and not have much of a grace period, so just look out.
Thanks for the advice guys- It’s good to know I will have that much financial support available to me. As for the schools, I’ve been looking in southern california- UCI possibly beacause of thier psychiatric residencies and fellowships (neurology is also something I’m considering). Also because it’s local for me(however I am willing to reloc if it turns out to be unaffordable). And my wife is going to be in nursing about the time I start medical school, so you can judge for your self as to the fiscal feasibility- but it definitely sounds doable to me