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Making It Financially

Since all medical schools only consider the medical student (without spouse and children) for financial aid purposes and calculating the cost of attendance, it is not surprising that they only provide about $11,000 or less per year for students to live on. That is less than $1000 per month to pay for it all - rent, utilities, food, transportation, recreation (what recreation?), clothing, etc. A pretty tight budget.

You may have to share an apartment and try to save wherever you can. One of the most quoted phrases that you will hear over and over "Live like a doctor now - live like a student later." That means essentially that you need to live within your budget. Live like a student now (poor and humbly) and you'll reap the rewards of the doctor life later. If you have a spouse and children, it will be nearly impossible to live on this limited budget and your spouse will most likely have to work to bring in extra money.

You will be unable to work during medical school. There is not enough time in a day to get all the material studied - let alone work. Another important aspect to consider, especially if you have a family, is what other government assistance programs are available.

Government assistance programs include food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and help with childcare, utilities and cash assistance. Many students and their families utilize one or more of these programs while going through school.

Qualification for these programs is based on income. With the absence of income or potentially low income through contribution by a spouse, most medical students (and family) qualify for these programs. Check with local agencies to find out what you have to do to get on these programs if you need them.

Food stamps and Medicaid are typically the easiest programs to qualify for and are especially useful for families with little (or big) children. Childcare assistance may be another useful program.

Keep in mind that you will be paying back into the system with large tax contributions when you are a physician.

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