Loan Programs Overview
Many loan sources are available to medical students. However, some loans are much better than others. For example, some loans have no interest accruing or the federal government pays the interest while you are in medical school. These are called subsidized loans. Others, unsubsidized loans, have interest accruing, although it is capped at 6.8%. The goal is to get through medical school with the best loans you can get from the fewest sources. You don't want to borrow from a large number of lenders because each loan program has a minimum payment. Also, it is easier to keep track of your loans if you only have a few of them. It's also easier to request deferments if you are eligible during residency.
Another important consideration should be whether the loans can be consolidated after you graduate. This facilitates refinancing. Most federal loans are set up on a 10-year repayment plan, although you can stretch out your payments to 20 years or more by consolidating. However, non-federal loans and the Primary Care Loan are not eligible for consolidation.