Medical student finance (2023)

Finance while studying at university can be a bewildering and complicated business, especially if you are a medical student. Our guides have been put together to provide you with the information you need to navigate the world of medical student finance, and to point you in the direction of the help and support that is available.

The basics of student finance

The funding options available to you as a medical student differ according to:

  • the country you live in (your place of domicile) and how long you have lived there
  • where you are studying (differing arrangements apply in the four UK countries and students in London can access higher maintenance payments)
  • the year you started your course
  • any previous higher education
  • your age
  • your domestic/personal status and your household income.

It is important to remember that if your circumstances change during your studies, like a significant income increase for yourself or your parents, then you must have your entitlements reassessed immediately, or you may have to pay back money in the future.


There are three key organisations that provide funding for medical students: 

  1. Student Loans Company (SLC), which administers Student Finance England financial support in the form of variable tuition fee loans, means-tested maintenance loans, and other forms of financial support including the disabled students‘ allowance and travel grants. 
  2. Your university, which administers access to learning funds and hardship funds; scholarships; grants and bursaries; and academic prizes. 
  3. NHS which administers tuition fee bursaries; universal, non means-tested grants for maintenance; means-tested grants for maintenance; NHS hardship grants; and other forms of financial support including childcare allowance and practice placement expenses. 

Undergraduates can apply for an NHS bursary from the fifth year of study on a five- or six-year course. Before then, they should apply to Student Finance England each year for a student loan for tuition fees and living costs.

To be eligible to receive support from Student Finance England you must be English domiciled.

For more information on how to apply and the types of funding available, download our medical student finance guide for English domicile students.

Check the Student Loans Company for more information on your entitlements.

Download England's guide PDF/458KB
(Video) Medical Student Financial Advice - The Good, Bad, & Useless


Funding for students from Wales is provided though Student Finance Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Undergraduates could get a tuition fee loan of up to £9,250 to study at an eligible university or college in the UK.

Additional loans and grants available include:

  1. Welsh Government Learning Grant (WGLG): Most students can get a mixture of grants and loans to help with their living costs. How much grant you get will depend on your household income, but most full-time students will get a grant of at least £1,000.
  2. Special Support Grant. This grant is intended to help with costs such as books, course equipment and travel. It is available for students studying under specific circumstances, who may struggle to meet the cost of a degree and who meet certain eligibility criteria.
  3. Maintenance loan. Administered by Student Finance Wales, the maintenance loan is affected by your household income - and that of your parents or partner - which will determine how much you receive as a loan and how much you receive as a grant. It is intended to cover living costs while you are studying.
  4. NHS bursary. Welsh students on medical or dental courses in the UK are also eligible for an NHS bursary for part of their course. This may include payment of tuition fees (up to the standard level), a means-tested bursary, and a non-means tested grant of £1,000.

Check Student finance Wales and NHS bursaries for information on your entitlements.


Students from Scotland apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), no matter where in the UK you are studying. If you study in Scotland, you do not need to pay tuition fees for your first degree, these are paid by SAAS; however, you must apply to SAAS for payment of fees and these will be sent directly to your university.

If you are studying in another UK country, you may be required to pay tuition fees but SAAS will normally be able to provide you with a loan to help cover the cost of this.

If medicine is your second degree (whether you are on a four-year accelerated course or a standard five-year course) you will not normally be eligible to apply for help with tuition fees, regardless of whether you received public funds previously. However, you can still apply to SAAS to pay tuition for your fifth year of study and onwards. This includes if you take an intercalated year.

Several bursary schemes are also available to students, including:

  • young students‘ bursary
  • independent students’ bursary
  • care experienced students’ bursary
  • Scottish graduate entry medicine return of service bursary.

For more information on how to apply and the types of funding and grants available, download our medical student finance guide.

This year we have extended our finance guide to include funding and grants available to UK students who wish to study in Scotland, and include some information for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Download Scotland's guide PDF/505KB
(Video) Student Loans 101 | College & Medical School

Check Student Awards Agency for Scotland for information on your entitlements.

Northern Ireland

Student Finance NI delivers financial support to students who normally live in Northern Ireland and is managed by the Student Loans Company in partnership with Student Finance Northern Ireland and the government.

The four key funding sources in Northern Ireland are:

  1. Student Finance NI: Variable tuition fee loans (not available to graduate entry students on the undergraduate medical degree course), means-tested maintenance grants and means-tested maintenance loans.
  2. Your university: You may be able to access support funds and hardship funding; scholarships, grants and bursaries; and academic prizes.
  3. Department of Health in Northern Ireland (funding in year five onwards): The Department of Health offers means-tested financial support bursaries for medical and dental students (also known as the NHS bursary); non means-tested maintenance loans for the balance of your maintenance support; and payment of your tuition fees. Please note, graduate entry medical students will not be eligible for the NHS bursary, but may apply to Student Finance NI for support with living costs.
  4. Student Support Fund: The Student Support Fund is used to provide discretionary financial help for students who are experiencing financial difficulties while studying, and comprises two funds, the Department for the Economy (DfE) Student Support Fund and a university’s hardship fund.

    The DfE Student Support Fund is a discretionary fund that may provide financial assistance to students from Northern Ireland and Great Britain, who encounter financial difficulty while studying. Students who are not eligible for the DfE Student Support Fund will be considered for an award from the university’s hardship fund.

Download the NI finance guide for the 2022/23 academic year.

Download NI guide 2022/23 PDF/160KB


EU/EEA nationals

If you meet the EU residency criteria, then you will be charged the same rate of fees as 'home' students (ie students domiciled in that UK nation), and you may receive support for tuition fees on a similar basis to home students. 

The rules on tuition fees are different depending on whether you are studying in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, with information about home and overseas fees for each country available at UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs).

From your fifth year of study onwards you may be eligible to have your tuition fees paid by the NHS bursaries in England, Department of Health in Northern Ireland, or the NHS Wales Student Awards Services. In Scotland, EEA students are eligible to have their tuition fees paid throughout their first degree by SAAS.

Normally you will not be eligible for maintenance loans, grants and additional allowances for living costs from the Student Loans Company or the NHS bursary. However, depending on your residency and eligibility conditions, in some instances you may be eligible for support for both fees and maintenance to help with your living costs, particularly if you have lived in the UK for three years prior to starting your course. 

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If you are in any doubt about your residence eligibility status, you should contact the support office in the UK nation you are studying in, or your student union welfare office. 

You are also strongly encouraged to check with your university to see if you are eligible for any local bursaries or scholarships.

Non EU/EEA nationals

In general, support for students not from within the EU/EEA is very limited. However, there are some exceptions and you should always check your eligibility with the support office of the UK nation you are studying in or with the welfare office of your university or student union.

If you are an international student and do not pass the eligibility criteria for student support because of residency requirements, you will have to pay international fee rates and will not receive any finance support from the UK government. You will also not be eligible for the Access to Learning Fund (England) or any other government schemes that provide finance assistance to students.

Universities set their own fees for international students, which for medicine are usually between £25,000 and £40,000 per year. If you are not sure about the fees that your institution charges, check with them before you accept the place offered to you.

The British Council have a guide to scholarships and financial support for international students. To apply for British Council funding, you should apply to the office in your home country. If the British Council does not have an office in your home country, you are not eligible for British Council funding. If this is the case, you should contact the British Embassy or High Commission in your country as they may be able to help you further.

For more information about support you may be entitled to, contact UKCISA, who can also offer advice to overseas students planning to study in the UK.

If you are a commonwealth citizen, you can contact the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for more information and advice.

You are also strongly encouraged to check with your university if you are eligible for any local bursaries or scholarships. ​

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What do I do if my maintenance loan isn't enough? ›

Talk to a student money advisor and see how they can help. There is literally millions of pounds worth of funding available in the form of scholarships, grants and bursaries, but you have to look for it. You need to understand where to find this funding and how you might be eligible.

How much is the average medical student in debt UK? ›

The average amount of debt a UK medical student will leave university with is between £50,000 and £90,000. This figure depends on how long their degree was (typically 4-6 years), whether they studied in London or not and whether they were studying medicine as an undergraduate or a postgraduate.

How much debt do most med students have? ›

Attending medical school can be extremely expensive: As of 2021, 76% to 89% of medical school graduates leave school with an average of $203,062 in total education debt, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Why am I getting less student finance this year? ›

Student finance in your final year of study

In your final year of uni or college, you'll get less Maintenance Loan than you had in other years. This is because student finance usually covers the breaks between each year, but you're no longer entitled to it once your course has ended.

Can you ask for more student finance? ›

Enquire about hardship funds: universities and colleges may offer extra money to students facing some form of financial hardship while they're studying. This is usually reserved for those who've exhausted all other sources of financial support.

Can I ask for more student loan? ›

Request Additional Federal Student Loans

If you've exhausted other options and still need additional funds to help you pay for school, contact your school's financial aid office to find out if you're eligible for additional federal student loans.

Is being a doctor worth the student debt? ›

The short answer to this question is yes. Medical school is worth it. Financially, going to medical school and becoming a doctor can be profitable, especially if you're able to save and invest a considerable amount of your income before retirement.

Do doctors pay off their student loans? ›

While most doctors have some form of debt, the average amount owed is $170,000. The data shows that there has been a steady increase in the number of doctors paying off their debt within five years. This could be due to several factors, including rising tuition costs and job competition.

What is the average monthly student loan payment for a doctor? ›

4.3% is the interest rate on the average federal direct unsubsidized loan for graduate or professional borrowers. $2,480 is the minimum monthly payment the average medical school graduate must make in order to pay off all educational debts within 10 years.

Why are med students in so much debt? ›

While there are a multitude of causes for the growing debt burden, the most significant remains the massive increase in tuition costs across the country's medical institutions: Over the past twenty years, median medical school tuition and fees have increased by 165% in private schools and by 312% in public schools.

Who has the highest medical debt? ›

Black Americans are far more likely than people of other racial and ethnic groups to report significant medical debt. We find that 16% of Black Americans report have significant medical debt, compared to 9% of White and 4% of Asian Americans. Women are also more likely to report having medical debt (11%) than men (8%).

How do people pay off med school debt? ›

Student loan refinancing is likely the best option for doctors paying off medical school debt aggressively. If you can get a lower rate, you could save thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your loan. Physicians are typically ideal candidates in the eyes of student loan refinance lenders.

Can you get rejected from student finance? ›

Not everyone is eligible for student finance, and it can be quite a shock if you think you are going to be eligible, you apply to university, get your offer, start to look forward to going and then find you can't get a student loan.

Can I get student loans if my parents make too much money? ›

Don't worry, this is a common question for many students. The good news is that the Department of Education doesn't have an official income cutoff to qualify for federal financial aid. So, even if you think your parents' income is too high, it's still worth applying (plus, it's free to apply).

What's the minimum student finance you can get? ›

What are the minimum and maximum Maintenance Loans in England? The minimum Maintenance Loan on offer for students from England is £3,597. This is paid to students with a household income of £58,253 or more and who'll be living at home during their time at uni.

What is the max student loan UK? ›

Maintenance Loan for living costs
2021 to 2022 academic year2022 to 2023 academic year
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroadUp to £10,866Up to £11,116
If you're 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your courseUp to £4,014Up to £4,106
3 more rows

Will student finance pay my rent? ›

No, a tuition fees loan is to cover tuition costs only and will be paid directly to your university. It's not money you'll be able to use for anything else.

How many times can you get student finance? ›

Two years of previous study: You'll have to pay your own way for the first year of your course, but you'll get student finance for every year after that. Three years of previous study: You'll have to pay your own way for the first two years of your course, but you'll get student finance for every year after that..

What happens if you max out student loans? ›

Once you reach federal student loan limits, you aren't eligible for any more federal loans and will have to find other ways to pay for school. By exploring scholarships, grants, other federal loan options, and private student loans, you can get the cash you need to complete your degree.

What happens if I borrow too much student loans? ›

When you borrow too much money, the remaining amount will appear as a credit in your student loan account. You can receive that credit as a refund check to cover other expenses or return the money to the Department of Education and reduce your student loan debt.

Can you have 2 student loans at once? ›

It's possible that, like many students, you're considering taking out more than one loan to make the process easier. Of course, it's possible to have simultaneous loans, but before you apply for more student loans, you should be aware of some of the effects this might have on your future.

What is the highest paid DR? ›

According to the latest statistics, physicians working in the orthopedics specialty are the highest earning doctors in the US, with an average annual income of US$511K.

Are doctors salary worth it? ›

The six-figure attending physician salary is well-earned since they're one of the most highly trained professions and are extremely valuable to all people. Not only does a physician's path take time and effort, it also incurs a high financial cost and debt burden not to mention burnout.

What percentage of doctors have student loans? ›

The average student loan debt for doctors and other medical school graduates sits at $203,062. Here are some more details about the average debt after medical school: Seventy-three percent of graduates have med school debt. Nearly 1 in 5 medical school graduates have more than $300,000 in student loan debt.

What is the fastest way to pay off medical school debt? ›

Ten Strategies for Repaying Medical School Loans
  1. Make Payments While You're Still in Residency. ...
  2. Refinance Your Loans. ...
  3. Take Advantage of Loan Forgiveness. ...
  4. Seek Out Repayment Assistance Programs. ...
  5. Opt for Income-Driven Repayment. ...
  6. Live As Modestly As You Can. ...
  7. Consider Working in a Rural Area. ...
  8. Make Extra Payments When Possible.

Are med school loans forgiven after 10 years? ›

One way to have your student loans forgiven is through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. If you work as a physician in the government or non-profit sector for ten years, you may get your loans forgiven thanks to PSLF. The key is to make sure they are Direct loans and make 120 (10 years) payments.

How can I get my medical student loans forgiven? ›

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program – The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on an individual's Direct Loans after he or she has made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a government or not-for-profit organization.

Are most doctors in debt? ›

A career as a physician can be a rewarding profession, but one that's generally mired with student loan debt. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported that the median medical school debt among the Class of 2021 was $200,000, not including their undergraduate debt.

How long does it take to pay 20k in student loans? ›

Average Student Loan Payoff Time After Consolidation
Total Student Loan DebtRepayment Period
$10,000-$20,00015 years
$20,000-$40,0020 years
$40,000-$60,00025 years
Greater than $60,00030 years
2 more rows

How much is a monthly payment for 50000 in student loans? ›

With $50,000 in student loan debt, your monthly payments could be quite expensive. Depending on how much debt you have and your interest rate, your payments will likely be about $500 per month or more.

Why is med school not worth? ›

[Tweet "Medical school is often not worth it."] While the relatively high salaries of doctors invariably pay for opportunity and real costs of a long training period, the stresses of large debt loads, long hours of studying and residency, and sometimes extremely stressful work conditions take their toll.

Does med school debt get forgiven? ›

Paying off medical school debt can be difficult, but federal and state programs provide loan forgiveness and repayment options.

What happens if I don't pay my medical school debt? ›

You can be subjected to wage garnishment to repay the debt (if you are a Federal employee, you could be subject to up to 15% garnishment due to the Federal Salary Offset) Your lender could take legal action against you. Your lender could place a lien on any property you own. You could have your tax return garnished.

How do you beat medical debt? ›

How to Pay off Medical Debt
  1. 9 Ways to Negotiate and Pay Large Hospital and Doctor Bills. By. ...
  2. Make Sure You Really Owe the Money. ...
  3. Try to Negotiate It Down. ...
  4. Ask for a Workable Repayment Plan. ...
  5. Seek Help. ...
  6. Prioritize Your Debts. ...
  7. Be Aware of the Impact on Your Credit. ...
  8. Avoid Taking on Credit Card Debt to Pay Your Medical Debt.

How many people don t pay their medical bills? ›

Overall, an estimated 41% of people — or about 100 million adults — currently face such debt, ranging from under $500 (16%) to $10,000 or more (12%), according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Does medical debt affect credit score? ›

Medical providers typically don't report to credit bureaus. But they might turn unpaid medical debt over to collection agencies, and this could affect credit scores. As of July 1, 2022, paid medical collection debt won't appear on consumer credit reports.

Can you buy a house with medical school debt? ›

Don't worry, you can still buy a home. The key is to be prepared with knowledge of how the loans work so you can maximize the benefits of them. Keep in mind that one of the best parts of a physician mortgage loan is that you can typically qualify without taking your student loans into account.

How much debt is the average medical student in? ›

The average medical school debt for the class of 2021 was $203,062, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Facing such extraordinary costs, many medical students turn to student loans to fund their education. The AAMC says that 73% of 2021 graduates carried student loan debt.

How long will it take me to pay off my medical school loan? ›

It can take anywhere from 2-5 years to twenty-plus years. It all depends on how much debt you have, your specialty, where you work, and your repayment plan.

Why would you be refused finance? ›

your credit score being too low. negative information on your credit file, such as records of payments you've missed. the lender deciding you wouldn't be able to afford to repay the credit you applied for. information on your file suggesting fraudulent activity.

What happens if you make a mistake on student finance application? ›

I have applied for the wrong course or made a mistake on my application, what do I do? You can complete a CO1 form, this is provided by Student Finance and you will be able to amend the details on your application.

Does everyone get accepted for student loans? ›

Almost everyone qualifies for student loans, though students with the greatest financial need can generally borrow under the best terms. The first step in applying for a student loan is figuring out whether you will be considered an independent student or one who is dependent on your parents.

At what age does parents income not affect student finance? ›

You'll usually be classed as independent if any of the following apply to you on the first day of the first academic year for which you're applying for support: you have care of a child or young person under the age of 18. you are aged 25 or over. you have no living parents.

Will I get financial aid if my parents make over 100k? ›

You could receive financial aid, even if your parents make $100,000. The calculation considers other factors in addition to income, such as the size of your family, other family members in school, and the cost of attendance.

Is it better for a student to get a loan or a parent? ›

In most cases, it's best for the child to take out the loan in his or her own name, both because loan terms for students are usually more flexible and because if the parent cannot keep up with the loan payments, it could make it difficult or impossible for them to save for their other financial goals.

Can I get a student loan at 36? ›

Tuition fee loans cover the cost of your undergraduate course fees, and are paid directly to the university or college. There is no age limit on eligibility for tuition fee loans, so anyone can apply, providing that they're going to be studying for their first undergraduate degree.

What is a reasonable monthly student loan payment? ›

The average federal student loan payment is $267 for bachelor's and $196 for associate degree-completers. The average monthly repayment for master's degree-holders is $567.

How much do students need to live on a week? ›

Cost of living in London: How much is it? Imperial College notes that students moving to London for the term 2022-23 may require about 360 British pounds a week. This totals about 1,500 pounds per month and £18,000 a year.

Can I get a higher amount of maintenance loan? ›

Students can apply for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs. How much they can get depends on where they live while studying. They can also apply for a higher amount that's based on their household income.

Can I change my maintenance loan amount after applying? ›

You can also change the following information online up until you send your online application: The amount of Maintenance Loan and Tuition Fee Loan you want. The tuition fees you are being charged by your university/college.

Can I get another maintenance loan? ›

In theory, the only way you'll be eligible for a Maintenance Loan is if this is the first higher education course you're enrolling on. But, in reality, it's a little more complicated. If you've previously started a course but had to drop out of uni, you may be eligible to receive funding again.

How many installments can you have on a maintenance loan? ›

Student Maintenance loans payments are released in three instalments. You should receive your maintenance loan at the start of each term.

What is the maximum student maintenance loan 2022? ›

The maximum Maintenance Loan is £12,667 and is paid to students who will be living away from home and in London, and whose annual household income is £25,000 or less. Students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales can all apply for a Maintenance Loan online or by post.

What is the maximum maintenance loan for 2022 UK? ›

Maintenance Loan for living costs
2021 to 2022 academic year2022 to 2023 academic year
You spend a year of a UK course studying abroadUp to £10,866Up to £11,116
If you're 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of your courseUp to £4,014Up to £4,106
3 more rows

Does my income affect my maintenance loan? ›

The basic rate of Maintenance Loan doesn't depend on your household income, but they can apply for more that does. Any loans they borrow have to be paid back, but not until they've finished or left their course, and their income is over the repayment threshold.

What is the maximum maintenance loan 2022 23? ›

You may be entitled to get a non-repayable Maintenance Grant of up to £4,009 a year. If your household income: is £25,000 or less, you may be entitled to the full Maintenance Grant of £4,009.

Is maintenance loan cleared after 30 years? ›

You stop owing either when you've cleared the debt, or when 30 years (from the April after graduation) have passed, whichever comes first. If you never get a job earning over the threshold, it means you won't have repaid a penny.

Can student finance reject you UK? ›

If you feel that the decision not to offer you a student loan is unjustified, you are entitled to launch an appeal against the decision. You can find full details on how to appeal here.

Do I get student finance if I fail a year? ›

You'll normally only get student finance for your first degree or higher education qualification, even if you studied a long time ago, or if the course was abroad. The number of years that you can get a Tuition Fee Loan for is normally calculated as: length of current course + one year – years of previous study.

Can student finance pay for 2 degrees? ›

In short, no you are likely not eligible for another student loan if you are doing a degree at the same level of one you already have. This is true even if you did not take out a student loan for your first degree. There are certain circumstances, however, where you can get funding for a second degree.

Do you get your student maintenance loan all at once? ›

Maintenance Loans are paid directly to the student three times a year, normally around the start of each term.

Do you get maintenance loan if you retake a year? ›

If you have to repeat another year however, or if you have already repeated or studied a different course you will have to self-fund your tuition fees for this repeat year. However, you will still be able to apply for a maintenance loan and extra support as the Parents Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant.


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