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Students studying in Caribbean medical schools may have to deal with student borrowing differently than those who choose a state school. Federal and personal loans for medical schools in the Caribbean can have their own rules and regulations.
Understanding the process is key to having a solid pay plan for a Caribbean medical school. Here’s our guide to what you should know.
Why Caribbean Medical Schools? A second chance
The best medical schools in the Caribbean offer the same academic accuracy, training, and qualifications as US medical schools. Graduates from these schools can practice medicine after passing their board exams and completing their residencies. The process is the same for medical school graduates in the Caribbean and the United States.
But Caribbean medical schools are sometimes referred to as second chance schools. With less competition for seats, US applicants don’t have to be the perfect candidate to secure a seat. It is not uncommon for applicants who have been turned down by US medical schools to direct their search towards Caribbean medical programs.
Caribbean medical schools have worse results, higher costs
Caribbean medical schools are not the best or smartest option for every applicant. Students considering attending a Caribbean school should look at their own goals, expectations, and drive, suggested Taylor Barrett, a graduate of the American University of the Caribbean at St. Maarten.
For example, overall scores at Caribbean medical schools lag behind those at US institutions.
“There’s a high dropout rate – it’s a very heavy workload,” Barrett said. Even for undergraduate and graduate students, the match rates for residency are lower than US medical schools.
Then there is the cost. According to Student Loan Hero’s medical school debt ranking, students can expect to pay an average of $ 39,116 per year at a US medical school. But Caribbean medical schools often charge higher costs, and students can expect sky-high prices that come with living on the island.
Barrett had to reckon with education fees of around $ 60,000 per year. Other Caribbean medical schools have similarly high prices. St. George’s University, for example, has medical program costs of about $ 62,000 per year. Housing can also be expensive. Barrett’s monthly expenses included rents between $ 2,000 and $ 2,500 for a two-bedroom apartment and $ 400 for utilities.
The total cost of his graduation was high: Barrett estimates his medical school debt at around $ 415,000. Even so, he feels that the investment has paid off after graduating and planning a residency. However, he admitted that not all of his classmates were so lucky.
“When considering attending a Caribbean medical school, it’s important to do your research and understand the tradeoffs,” Barrett said. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether or not a Caribbean medical school is worthwhile for you.
How to Get Federal or Private Student Loans for Caribbean Medical Schools
As with Barrett, most Caribbean medical school students must obtain loans from federal or private students in order to graduate. However, getting federal and personal loans for Caribbean medical schools is not always easy.
Here is an overview of the medical school loan options in the Caribbean for the 2019-2020 period.
|Type of final loan||Interest rate||Rental fee||Annual credit limit|
|Direct unsubsidized loans for PhD students||6.6%||1.062%||$ 40,500|
|Degree PLUS loan||7.08%||4.236%||Up to the participation costs minus other financial support|
|Loans for private medical schools||Determined by the lender and based on the borrower’s credit and other qualifications||Varies depending on the lender||Usually limited to participation costs, but may vary depending on the lender|
Federal Medical School loans to Caribbean schools
Currently, US students are offered US student loans at certain Caribbean medical schools. The following Caribbean medical schools are approved for participation in the direct loan program on the Federal Student Aid website:
The Federal Office for Student Aid states that the schools mentioned above must continuously meet the requirements to maintain their status.
However, a school’s eligibility may not always extend to its medical program. Contact Caribbean medical schools directly to verify their participation in the direct loan program.
For students who qualify for eligibility and are attending a qualified medical school, federal student loans may be the easiest way to fund their medical degree. If you are eligible, you can use these two types of federal student loans to pay for Caribbean medical school:
- Direct unsubsidized loans
- Degree PLUS loan
Caribbean Medical Schools Private Loans
In addition to government grants, students can also obtain funding from private lenders. However, finding private student loans for medical schools in the Caribbean can take some work.
Many US lenders are willing to offer Caribbean medical school personal loans, but you need to know where to look. The first place to start your search is at your school’s financial aid office.
This office and its advisors will work with students to find funding so they can direct you to lenders and programs that will work with students in your situation. It’s also a good idea to check with our recommended private lenders.
Of course, there is more to getting private medical school student loans in the Caribbean than just finding a lender. You also need to meet the requirements to be approved for these loans.
Reputable lenders need good credit, among other criteria, in order to obtain a private student loan. You can also qualify by finding a co-signer with good credit. If you have bad credit or a rocky credit history, getting private student loans for Caribbean medical schools can be difficult.
Find out Caribbean Medical School Loans; then make a plan to repay them
Getting the student loans you need to study medicine in the Caribbean doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Students who plan ahead and do their research can figure out how to get access to the necessary federal or private student loans for Caribbean medical schools.
It is also never too early to develop your medical school debt settlement strategy. Once you’ve figured out how to get the funds you need, start working on your medical school debt settlement plan.
Rebecca Safier contributed to this article.