Hello all fellow dreamers. I have been thrilled to discover this web resource. My story is similar to many of the other people why have posted tales of late-blooming and dreams delayed - but not forgotten.
If my plans work out, I hope to be a M1 in the Fall of 2010. I would be 41. A life’s dream fulfilled! But, like many of you out there, paying for that dream is more like a nightmare. Despite all my research, reading on financial aid, and hoping for something better, in the long run I see that the vast majority of people - and I may be one of them - go into massive debt to finance medical school. Grant aid seems to be a relatively small percentage of the package at most schools, and those golden, full-scholarships are frequently age limited (I realized last night, much to my horror, that the National Health Corps has a cut-off age of 44 for graduation from medical school. This not only seems arbitrary, in terms of age, but in my mind hurts the program, as studies show that a higher percentage of non-trats go into primary care. My point was that I realized that yet another potential source of major funding has been denied me because of my age and nothing else. Any thoughts on this digression?)
So, in terms of funding medical school, for the past several years, while I pursue this dream, I’ve periodically considered this idea about a possible, unusual source of funding for school, and I wanted to get feedback from the non-traditional community, as to whether this thought is looney, I’m incredibly naive, it has possibilities etc…
My thought centered around the general premise of many of the state and federal primary-care, underserved physician programs. You all know the basic idea: the doctor agrees to serve in a rural/underserved area for X period of time in exchange for loan forgiveness / loan cancellation. But, what if a person could arrange for their very own, private, underderved physician program? Despite the U.S. Health Corps and many similar programs, there are still vast areas of the U.S. where health-care is either very limited or virtually non-existant. What if a prospective medical student, such as myself, or any of you out there, were to approach the local governments of small municipalities, rural areas, (after careful research) and present the town council, county government etc… this simple proposal:
- Your town, city, county has no physician, and the nearest family practice is (20-30-40 miles)
- In exchange for your local govt. funding my medical education, I would agree to live and practice in ____________ for a minimal period of two years for every year of education financed. (Two years is more than military docs are required to pay back when the military funds medical education, as I understand, unless the rules have changed)
- Funding would include full tuition, books, room and board (I’m single, no kids), and a monthly stipend.
- The agreement would provide that if I default on the agreement, I would be obligated to repay the funding source in full, plus penalties etc…
Is this the craziest idea you all have seen presented? It may be, but what if it could work? I actually think it’s fair, although not being an attorney, I know nothing of the legal complexities involved in such a deal. When we’re taling about going $150 - $250K or more into debt to finance a medical education, even a crazy idea seems at least worth the thought. I have actually found a few examples where similar ventures worked, although admittedly on a much smaller scale, and not involving medical education.
I would really appreciate some feedback on this. Does anyone know if this has actually been done for medical school somewhere in the U.S.?
Sorry for the convoluted presentation. Have benefitted greatly from reading many terrific posts. I hope you all will now share some thoughts with me.
Thanks, Craddock. State of Colorado, M, BS, 1994.