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Financing Us Med School For Canadians


tl91

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Not sure if this question better belongs in the student doctor network forums, but does anyone have any advice/tips for how to pay for a USMD degree? I'm hoping for the best from Canadian schools still, but in case they don't work out, I've been fortunate enough to be accepted to a school that I'd be thrilled to attend. However, it sits on the higher end of the tuition spectrum, which is particularly brutal given the exchange rate now. Besides exhausting my own savings, some family support, OSAP and LOC's, what else is out there? I'll be looking for some grants or scholarships, but hard to know which ones I have a good chance for and how much I can rely on them. Feel free to PM me if you have some personal anecdotes; any advice would be much appreciated!

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1. OSAP (or whatever provincial loan program)

2. LOC (anywhere from 150k-275k)

3. Family money

That's about it, not much in way of scholarships for international students. 

Make sure to really sit down and look at the costs and factor in the currency conversion rates - have a "worst-case" scenario as well, in case the currency drops more.

As always, I recommend just picking the cheapest US school- I hope yours isn't one of the private MDs with tuitions in the 60's/70's per year :S  

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I met a guy who was working at Moore's Menswear store when I was buying a suit for my medical school interview 4 years ago now. He was at a medical student at the Chicago medical school and had just finished pre-clerkship and didn't have the finances to go on into 3rd year (clerkship) so he had to take a year off at least to work and save as much money as possible to continue financing his schooling. Scary proposition but he was doing it. I would think that this is not totally uncommon from time to time.

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I met a guy who was working at Moore's Menswear store when I was buying a suit for my medical school interview 4 years ago now. He was at a medical student at the Chicago medical school and had just finished pre-clerkship and didn't have the finances to go on into 3rd year (clerkship) so he had to take a year off at least to work and save as much money as possible to continue financing his schooling. Scary proposition but he was doing it. I would think that this is not totally uncommon from time to time.

Canadian? I find that pretty hard to believe they only had enough funds to make it thru 2 years. Definitely more to the story and not very common. Not sure why someone would start the journey without knowing they have the funds? Most schools want proof of funds every year (some all 4 years before enrollment)
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Canadian? I find that pretty hard to believe they only had enough funds to make it thru 2 years. Definitely more to the story and not very common. Not sure why someone would start the journey without knowing they have the funds? Most schools want proof of funds every year (some all 4 years before enrollment)

 

dollar dropping 25% might do it :) Often those LOCs are in Canadian funds.

 

I have seen family fortunes change so helpful from parents wasn't available as planned. Stuff happens.

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I met a guy who was working at Moore's Menswear store when I was buying a suit for my medical school interview 4 years ago now. He was at a medical student at the Chicago medical school and had just finished pre-clerkship and didn't have the finances to go on into 3rd year (clerkship) so he had to take a year off at least to work and save as much money as possible to continue financing his schooling. Scary proposition but he was doing it. I would think that this is not totally uncommon from time to time.

 

at least he was well motivated to save, ha :) Nothing like a clear goal to keep you on track.

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dollar dropping 25% might do it :) Often those LOCs are in Canadian funds.

 

I have seen family fortunes change so helpful from parents wasn't available as planned. Stuff happens.

True but at 250k LOC, even with the 25% drop, it is odd they only made it through first two years. Reason would seem they would run out of funds closer to 4th year in that situation...

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True but at 250k LOC, even with the 25% drop, it is odd they only made it through first two years. Reason would seem they would run out of funds closer to 4th year in that situation...

 

Might be trying to keep from running out of money after third year. I'd much rather take a year off between pre-clerkship and clerkship than take one after 3rd year, even if just to keep as much clinical knowledge fresh going into the all-important 4th year.

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Might be trying to keep from running out of money after third year. I'd much rather take a year off between pre-clerkship and clerkship than take one after 3rd year, even if just to keep as much clinical knowledge fresh going into the all-important 4th year.

 

exactly - you don't want to break in your clerkship - your skills will be stale by the time you do electives. You have to shine on electives - you have to bring you A game.

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Might be trying to keep from running out of money after third year. I'd much rather take a year off between pre-clerkship and clerkship than take one after 3rd year, even if just to keep as much clinical knowledge fresh going into the all-important 4th year.

Yeah for sure that would be the best course of action - i guess we wouldn't know for sure without knowing all the details haha.

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Not sure if this question better belongs in the student doctor network forums, but does anyone have any advice/tips for how to pay for a USMD degree? I'm hoping for the best from Canadian schools still, but in case they don't work out, I've been fortunate enough to be accepted to a school that I'd be thrilled to attend. However, it sits on the higher end of the tuition spectrum, which is particularly brutal given the exchange rate now. Besides exhausting my own savings, some family support, OSAP and LOC's, what else is out there? I'll be looking for some grants or scholarships, but hard to know which ones I have a good chance for and how much I can rely on them. Feel free to PM me if you have some personal anecdotes; any advice would be much appreciated!

worth checking out specific scholarships related to culture, religion, community. surprising number of grants from parents' workplace.. banks in particular but also many others. and remember that you can do most of your 4th year rotations in canada if you plan to return - and if you live at home that will cost a whole lot less. pm me if you want any extra info.. 

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worth checking out specific scholarships related to culture, religion, community. surprising number of grants from parents' workplace.. banks in particular but also many others. and remember that you can do most of your 4th year rotations in canada if you plan to return - and if you live at home that will cost a whole lot less. pm me if you want any extra info.. 

Just to be clear, that is very impractical. While yes you can do rotations in Canada, most schools have a limit of how many weeks you can do with them - and there are some limits on how many weeks you can do in a given province. Additionally, most places you have to pay a few hundred dollars, just to be allowed to do the elective. It's definitely not the case of being able to do most of your 4th year rotations in Canada.

 

Definitely not a way to save money, as you would still have your place in the US paying for rent.

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Does OSAP waive payments while in residency? Because if not, I highly suggest NOT applying to OSAP until you are running out of your student loans. Bank LOC are at prime (or +1) and interest only until you have finished your training and earning a decent salary. However if OSAP (and perhaps other provincial programs?) does not provide relief during residency, you will be on the hook for interest plus principle on a resident salary - and that can be tough. I know in Ontario, OSAP gets transitioned into the Medical Resident Loan, and they provide the relief. However I am unaware of any such program for international students. 

 

Also, although HELOC is a lot more simple, in that its just a secured interest only line, the interest rate on it is usually prime +1 whereas the interest on a PLOC is usually prime. So I would suggest not applying for a HELOOC until you need it. There is no harm is setting it up early, however, generally as house prices go up you have to pay an additional 500-1000$ to have the house reappraised for line increases if you need more money. Best to let the property price go up, and just pay the appraisal fees once. 

 

Thus, I would suggest PLOC > HELOC > OSAP > Private Loans from angle investors.

 

I also suggest buying everything on credits cards, not drawing cash from your LOC. Use the LOC to pay your cc bill off entirely each month. Thus way you will get a 52 day interest free grace period on the majority of your day-to- day expenses. Whereas if you transfer money from LOC to a chequing account or simply purchase from your LOC, you start accumulating interest immediately. Over a period of 4 years - it can save you a lot of interest. 

 

Plan this stuff carefully and you it can make a big difference!

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Does OSAP waive payments while in residency? Because if not, I highly suggest NOT applying to OSAP until you are running out of your student loans. Bank LOC are at prime (or +1) and interest only until you have finished your training and earning a decent salary. However if OSAP (and perhaps other provincial programs?) does not provide relief during residency, you will be on the hook for interest plus principle on a resident salary - and that can be tough. I know in Ontario, OSAP gets transitioned into the Medical Resident Loan, and they provide the relief. However I am unaware of any such program for international students. 

 

Also, although HELOC is a lot more simple, in that its just a secured interest only line, the interest rate on it is usually prime +1 whereas the interest on a PLOC is usually prime. So I would suggest not applying for a HELOOC until you need it. There is no harm is setting it up early, however, generally as house prices go up you have to pay an additional 500-1000$ to have the house reappraised for line increases if you need more money. Best to let the property price go up, and just pay the appraisal fees once. 

 

Thus, I would suggest PLOC > HELOC > OSAP > Private Loans from angle investors.

 

I also suggest buying everything on credits cards, not drawing cash from your LOC. Use the LOC to pay your cc bill off entirely each month. Thus way you will get a 52 day interest free grace period on the majority of your day-to- day expenses. Whereas if you transfer money from LOC to a chequing account or simply purchase from your LOC, you start accumulating interest immediately. Over a period of 4 years - it can save you a lot of interest. 

 

Plan this stuff carefully and you it can make a big difference!

Sorry..but no. You need to sit down and read a bit more, because you are mixed up.

 

Provincial loans charge no interest during school. That is the first one you should use as it is free money. At the end of your interest free period, transfer all the provincial loan debt, to your bank LOC - as the interest rate is lower.

 

While in school: Provincial Loans> Bank LOC 

 

After school, transfer it all to your bank LOC.

 

 

Sure HELOC may offer a larger sum than the Bank LOC- but not everyone has a house they can leverage, nor is everyone willing to do so.

 

 

The strategy of credit card/LOC can help delay things a little - but the savings aren't going to be significant. The majority of your expenses will be bulk expenses, that you can't exactly use this strategy for (tuition payments and rent).

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The OSAP site specifically states that medical interns/residents are not eligible for Continuation of Interest Free Status. "The following students are not eligible for CIFS:… Students participating in practical training required for acceptance in a professional corporation or for the practice of a trade or profession (e.g., medical internship/residency)" https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/TCONT003606.html

 

The Resident Loan Interest Relief Program the works with OSAP specifically mentions its for ontario residents who sign a Return Of Service. "During Ontario medical residency, MOHLTC will pay the interest on the participant’s Medical Resident Loan and the participant will be exempt from making payments of principal." https://www.oma.org/MedicalStudents/Pages/rlirpfaq.aspx  If OSAP defers interest 

 

So although you save interest while in school - all indications are the repayment process will kick in during residency and will also demand principal. On a ~50k salary it can be tough to make those payments. I think minimizing OSAP for the LOC would result in reduced payment load during residency when income is tight. If you have LOC available, you can transfer over the debt to solve this problem. But you then have to make sure you plan for this.

 

And of course, my advice with regards to HELOC is for those who wish to take that route. I am by no means saying its an option for everyone. At the end of they day, you have to plan your financials in the way that works for you. 

 

Also, with the credit card, if you use it for all your equipment, gas, groceries, plane tickets, etc you could $15-25 per month in interest. For a student, I think that is good savings. Plus what ever rewards you get on your card. (cashback, airmiles, etc). Its not going to make of break your education, but it can help sort a budget.

 

 

EDIT: I have not looked into other provincial loans. The policies for other provinces may be different. 

 

If you are interested in using OSAP or equivalent provincial program, you can avoid the heavy post-school payments by doing a balance transfer like UBC2012 suggested, but you need to make sure you leave an equally unused credit on your LOC so that you can pay of your OSAP after you graduate. 

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The OSAP site specifically states that medical interns/residents are not eligible for Continuation of Interest Free Status. "The following students are not eligible for CIFS:… Students participating in practical training required for acceptance in a professional corporation or for the practice of a trade or profession (e.g., medical internship/residency)" https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/A-ZListofAid/TCONT003606.html

 

The Resident Loan Interest Relief Program the works with OSAP specifically mentions its for ontario residents who sign a Return Of Service. "During Ontario medical residency, MOHLTC will pay the interest on the participant’s Medical Resident Loan and the participant will be exempt from making payments of principal." https://www.oma.org/MedicalStudents/Pages/rlirpfaq.aspx  If OSAP defers interest 

 

So although you save interest while in school - all indications are the repayment process will kick in during residency and will also demand principal. On a ~50k salary it can be tough to make those payments. I think minimizing OSAP for the LOC would result in reduced payment load during residency when income is tight. If you have LOC available, you can transfer over the debt to solve this problem. But you then have to make sure you plan for this.

 

And of course, my advice with regards to HELOC is for those who wish to take that route. I am by no means saying its an option for everyone. At the end of they day, you have to plan you financials in the way that work for you. 

 

Also, with the credit card, if you use it for all your equipment, gas, groceries, plane tickets, etc you could $15-25 per month in interest. For a student, I think that is good savings. Plus what ever rewards you get on your card. (cashback, airmiles, etc). Its not going to make of break your education, but it can help sort a budget.

 

 

EDIT: I have not looked into other provincial loans. The policies for other provinces may be different. 

Ah right, then use OSAP during school, and then once residency starts shift all the debt to your LOC - problem solved! If you're a CMG, there is no reason for the average student to not have excess room on their LOC to absorb this. Yes there are a few outliers of course.

 

As an AMG, its a different story, and with the exchange rate...you have to have saved money or family backing to make it work out.

Definitely true about the small things, I think for most people would do that anyways - Love those points!

 

I apologize for misinterpretation - in BC the provincial and federal portions are integrated under "Canada- BC integrated loan" - I thought Ontario also followed this?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, thanks for the comments and ideas. For once I was hoping there's some kind of secret money thing only med students know about, but alas, not the case haha. Definitely having some conversations with the banks now and taking a real hard look at my finances, but don't want to commit to anything until May 12th... Gahhh.

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Hi all, thanks for the comments and ideas. For once I was hoping there's some kind of secret money thing only med students know about, but alas, not the case haha. Definitely having some conversations with the banks now and taking a real hard look at my finances, but don't want to commit to anything until May 12th... Gahhh.

 

yeah it isn't easy but some people have made it work. Really the dollar has to bounce back a bit to make this a little more doable again (when it was at parity it was pretty amazing actually)>

 

good luck!

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Hi all, thanks for the comments and ideas. For once I was hoping there's some kind of secret money thing only med students know about, but alas, not the case haha. Definitely having some conversations with the banks now and taking a real hard look at my finances, but don't want to commit to anything until May 12th... Gahhh.

Good luck on your May 12th, 4 more days of wait than I. 

 

CIBC will give you the largest amount at 275K. 

 

However, if you have a fortunate family situation such that your parents are able to help you above and beyond- there are things call "homeequity line of credit" or something to that name, where essentially you can get the equity in the house as a LOC. A bit risky, but as long as you don't fail out its not that bad of a thought. Of course only if that is even available.  And assuming of course that is even a consideration, as it is for very few people - definitely not something I can consider if i end up having to go south.

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Good luck on your May 12th, 4 more days of wait than I. 

 

CIBC will give you the largest amount at 275K. 

 

However, if you have a fortunate family situation such that your parents are able to help you above and beyond- there are things call "homeequity line of credit" or something to that name, where essentially you can get the equity in the house as a LOC. A bit risky, but as long as you don't fail out its not that bad of a thought. Of course only if that is even available.  And assuming of course that is even a consideration, as it is for very few people - definitely not something I can consider if i end up having to go south.

I actually know a couple of people who did this and it worked out for them. BUT that doesn't mean it's a good idea. 

 

You're right, it's a risk. And the thing about risks is that they sometimes materialize. 

 

I think that a good rule of thumb is that people shouldn't lend each other money that they are not willing to possibly lose. 

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I actually know a couple of people who did this and it worked out for them. BUT that doesn't mean it's a good idea. 

 

You're right, it's a risk. And the thing about risks is that they sometimes materialize. 

 

I think that a good rule of thumb is that people shouldn't lend each other money that they are not willing to possibly lose. 

True, but i meant that not everyone is in a position where their family outright owns a house. Needless to say, if there's already a mortgage on it, you aren't going to be able to do that.

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True, but i meant that not everyone is in a position where their family outright owns a house. Needless to say, if there's already a mortgage on it, you aren't going to be able to do that.

Yes, and that's a good point. A house that is completely paid off is a very nice thing to have! And that's why it's such a big deal to lose.

 

Did you know that UCLA has a full scholarship that is open to international students?

 

http://geffenscholarship.medschool.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=35

 

I mean, it's obviously a long shot. It is merit-based and there are about 33 of them. But, it's interesting to note that this sort of thing exists. 

 

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