Paying for PA School without a Tube Top, Mini Skirt and Corner Real Estate

PA schools cost money, money that most of us don’t have to pay upfront so we join the ranks of the indebted and take out student loans. I am a bit of a forever student so it has become second nature for me to just sign on the dotted line. It seems like monopoly money once you hit six figure debt…
So is that it? Do we just take out private loans and pay them back at 8-10% interest over the next 25 years? Are there options to avoid the big financial dig? Yes. Read on.
1.Check local/national scholarships
Even if they are “small,” they help. $1,000 scholarship is worth much more if you consider the 8% interest rate over the 25 years it takes you to pay it off. Below are some that I have found or applied to:
Susan Vincent Scholarship (for ME residents only)
2. Check your institution.
Northeastern doesn’t offer any scholarships to their PA students, but they do offer a need-based PA Loan at a low interest rate. They also offer a “Double Husky” discount for those PA students that also received their undergraduate degree from NEU. This discount reduces tuition by 25%. Lastly, don’t limit your search to “PA” scholarships. Look for other scholarships based on your interests, heritage, gender, etc. At NEU I am aware of full scholarships available for African American and Latino graduate students studying any discipline. Ask around.
3. Military Service
This is not an option for everyone, but if you’re open to joining the ranks it can be a great option. What are the branches? Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. What are the options within each branch? Active duty or Reserve duty.
I have seriously considered this option and this is the information that I have been given and it may be personalized for me. If you are interested – I suggest talking to a recruiter to see what the newest “perks” are for signing up (sign on bonuses, loan repayment, etc).
Active duty means signing on the dotted line for 8 years (6 years active, 2 years possible recall). Typically if you go active there are bigger sign on bonuses and more money to either pay for school upfront or repay loans later. Reserve duty is 1 weekend a month, 2 weeks a year unless you get called to duty. There are still sign on bonuses and loan repayment options but they are ever changing – contact a recruiter for the latest info.
4. National Health Service Corps – Scholarship or Loan Repayment
The Bare Basics-
The Scholarship: You apply it before school. If you are selected, it covers all of your tuition + some living expenses… in return you serve 2 years in an underserved environment of their choice.  GREAT option if you are flexible after graduation, not so great if you have a family or a significant other that can’t up and move to Montana for two years.
The Loan Repayment: Something you apply for once you are ready to start practicing. So you have already paid for school and if you are selected NHSC will repay up to $50,000 in exchange for 2 years of service.
If these sound interesting check out the site and READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY.
5. Negotiate
This may or may not be an option for you but it is worth mentioning. When you are looking for a job after graduation consider trying to negotiate some loan repayment as part of your contract. Even if it $10,000 of repayment over 3 years. That is something.
There are many options out there to offset the cost of PA school. Be creative. If you know of any additional scholarships/grants I'd love to post them. Let me know.

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