Top 10 Medical School Scholarships to Apply to in 2020

medical school scholarships to apply to in 2020

There’s no way around it, medical school is expensive and unfortunately for medical students, the costs have been increasing over the past several years. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average cost of medical school including tuition, fees, and health insurance for first-year students attending in-state public schools in 2018-19 was $36,755, a 22% increase from the cost in 2012-13 ($30,192). For in-state private schools, the average cost jumped from $48,292 in 2012-13 to $59,076 in 2018-19, also a 22% increase. Predictably, the cost of attending out-of-state medical schools was even more expensive. The average cost for first-year students attending out of state public schools and private schools in 2018-19 was $60,802 and $60,474 respectively.

Whether you are attending a public or private school, or if it’s in-state or out-of-state, medical school is costly and often requires you to take on loans to support your education. Taking out loans can be a hassle and often cause financial and emotional stress. 

Luckily, an alternative option medical students have to financially support their education is medical school scholarships. Applying for scholarships can reduce the number of loans you may potentially have to take out, or in some cases pay off your college tuition entirely. We’ve gathered 10 medical school scholarships medical students can apply for in 2020. 

1. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship is offered each year to students pursuing careers in healthcare. In total, they offer ten $10,000 scholarships and twenty-five $5,000 awarded each year.  

The scholarship application process is simple. To apply, you must submit two essays as well as your transcript. To be eligible, participants must be seeking a degree to actively treat patients. Entrants will be judged on college GPA, academic records in medical school, community involvement, and essay content.

2. BoardVitals Medical School Scholarship

The BoardVitals Medical School Scholarship awards two lucky medical school students who have shown strong academic standing and a desire to improve society by tackling a critical issue in healthcare. A first place winner will receive $2,500 in the form of a VISA Prepaid Card, and a second place winner will receive $1,000 in the form of a VISA Prepaid Card. Five third place winners will receive 50% off a BoardVitals question bank.

To apply, you must be a resident of the United States who is currently enrolled as a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-year medical student in an accredited MD/DO school located in the United States. Participants must apply online and submit a 500-word essay or 2-minute video on an issue in healthcare that they would like to fix and/or are passionate about. Applications are accepted until May 1st, 2020.

3. White Coat Investor Scholarship 

The White Coat Investor Scholarship provides funding for medical students in order to “help those who wear the white coat a fair shake.” Every year, the scholarship gives out multiple awards equivalent to 1% of the White Coat Investor’s total profit and additional contributions from corporate sponsors and readers. The total cash given out has increased in every year. In 2019, they plan on donating over $65,000 cash and over $90,000 in cash and prizes including books and online courses. 

This scholarship is open to full-time professional students who are in good academic standing. Eligible students must be studying:

  • Medicine
  • Osteopathy
  • Podiatry
  • Dentistry
  • Law
  • Pharmacy
  • Optometry
  • Physician Assistant 
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • CRNA
  • Veterinary Medicine

Note: In certain cases, aspiring physical therapists and occupational therapists will also be considered.

To apply, you must simply submit a document that details basic information such as your name and anticipated degree and date of graduation. In addition, you must submit an 800-1,200 word essay that can be about any topic that you would like to write about. Winners will be selected after a thorough judging process that consists of three rounds.

4. Physicians of Tomorrow Awards

The Physicians of Tomorrow Awards is one of the more substantial scholarships medical students can earn to help support their education.  There are 10 different Physician of Tomorrow Awards that medical students can apply to, each offering $10,000. 

While each award has specific requirements, there are commonalities amongst the different awards. For each award, you must be a third-year medical student to be eligible. In addition, to apply to these awards, you must be nominated by your school dean and then submit your application which must include a letter of recommendation, a personal statement, school transcripts, and proof of your financial status.

5. Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship

Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarships offers five $5,000 scholarships to students entering their third year of medical school. To be considered, students must have shown “leadership in efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care and have demonstrated leadership efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States”

Applicants must submit a nomination letter from their school’s medical dean that states that the applicant has maintained good medical standing during their first two years of medical school. In addition, they must submit a letter of recommendation from the medical school’s institutional GSA diversity affairs officer or from the medical dean in the case that the applicant’s school does not have a GSA diversity affair officer. Applicants also need to submit an additional recommendation letter from a faculty member and also a personal statement that details the applicant’s experience in leading efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care for minorities.

6. USA Medical and Surgical Scholarship Program 

The USA Medical and Surgical Scholarship Program offers a bi-annual scholarship award of $1,500 for college and university students. To be eligible you must be studying:

  • Medicine
  • Therapy
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Laboratory Science
  • Medical Technology
  • Nursing
  • Health Care
  • Pathology
  • Radiology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • or other health-related disciplines 

To apply, applicants are asked to write an essay on how medical supplies or medical equipment has the biggest impact on healing, improving, or extending human lives. It is recommended that the essay is at least 1,200 words and it will be judged based on human impact, originality, relevance and writing quality.

7. National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program 

The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program offers to pay for up to four full years of medical school tuition and fees as well as offering a living stipend in exchange for practicing in rural, urban, and tribal communities with limited access to care, upon graduation and licensure. You must also practice in an NHSC approved site, such as:

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Rural health clinics
  • Private practices
  • Other select institutions 

The number of years you receive financial aid will determine the amount of time you are required to serve.

Many different medical students are eligible for this award. You can be eligible if you are in a program aspiring to be a primary care physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, or physician assistant. 

To apply, applicants must submit an online application that also requires them to complete three essay questions. The applications will be subject to an independent review process. The judges will be determining winners based on multiple factors including academic standing, financial status, and proven dedication to supporting underserved communities.

8. National Medical Fellowships’ Scholarships

The National Medical Fellowships’ (NMF) scholarships and awards aim to provide financial support to underrepresented minority medical students including: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian-Americans (Vietnamese and Cambodian only), and Pacific Islanders. The organization offers many different scholarships offering ranging $5,000 – $7,000. Some of their most popular scholarships include the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)/Darrell G. Kirch, MD Scholarship, Dr. James Curtis Scholarship, and Franklin C. McLean Award.

Each of the NMF awards has specific requirements, but there are commonalities amongst them all. Each award will be given out based on academic merit, demonstrated leadership ability, and a commitment to serving medically underserved communities. 

9. James “Rhio” O’Connor Mesothelioma Scholarship Fund 

The James “Rhio” O’Connor Mesothelioma Scholarship offers a $1,000 scholarship every month to medical students. To enter, students must submit a 700-1,500 word essay that answers pertinent questions related to cancer. For example, a prompt you can choose to address in your essay is “Should cancer patients and doctors be able to use whatever treatments they like in treating cancer? Why?”.

10. Merit-Based School Scholarships

Another option medical students have to support their funding is applying for merit-based school scholarships. Many universities and colleges will offer merit-based scholarships to outstanding students. Merit-based scholarships often are awarded based on academic factors such as GPA and MCAT test scores. Other factors including humanistic qualities, outstanding personal traits, and a vision of the future can be considered when awarding these scholarships. Most universities and colleges base scholarships on financial need but some of the top schools that offer merit-based medical school scholarships are:

These 10 scholarships are some of the best options for medical students looking to reduce the financial burden of medical school. However, there are many other scholarships and awards out there students can apply to help them out. Be sure to check out these options and other alternatives for paying for medical school to support your education. If you’re already well into your career and still tackling student debt, check out more tips to pay it down quickly.

Looking for medical school scholarships for 2021? Check out our updated list.

The writing staff at BoardVitals is passionate about medicine, healthcare, and education. We’ve trained over 1.5 million physicians and work with more than 300 top teaching institutions. Learn more about our board review and continuing education products at

Try BoardVitals free for 10 days.

Free Trial. No credit card required.