Finding Ways To Make PA School More Affordable
Higher education is an investment, and one that doesn’t come cheap. For most, finding a way to afford their education is difficult and requires assistance from multiple sources. Regardless, finding a way to pay for PA school shouldn’t deter you from applying to your top PA programs.
Other than applying to the top 10 most affordable PA programs, here are a few resources you can use to help you afford your education.
Before you look into expensive loans and financial aid packages, check with each program to see if they offer any school or program-specific scholarships. There may also be a few apprenticeships or fellowships available depending on the size of the program.
If you find that you’re not eligible for any school-sponsored scholarships, try looking for scholarships offered through PA and healthcare related organizations. There are also plenty of unrelated scholarships you may qualify for based on your life circumstances, gender, ethnicity, or region.
The Physician Assistant Foundation is a great place to start searching for PA-specific scholarship opportunities. There are also a handful of PA scholarships for specific demographics or for those focusing on a particular specialization:
- Association of Physician Assistance in Oncology
- California Academy of PAs
- New Jersey State Society of Physician Assistants
- Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants
- Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Physician Assistant Caucus
- Physician Assistants for Latino Health
- African Heritage Caucus of AAPA
- Fellowship of Christian PAs
- Veterans Caucus of the AAPA
If you’d like to dedicate some time to the armed forces or public programs before beginning your education or commit time after you’ve finished, the following organizations offer financial aid services and scholarships in return for a set amount of service time (you may also gain valuable patient contact experience along the way):
- National Health Service Corps
- US Army Healthcare Team
US Navy Health Services Collegiate Program
Depending on your state of residence, you may qualify for additional assistance on top of any federal loans or scholarships. When meeting with your school’s financial aid office, be sure to ask about any state funding for in-state residents.
The Federal Student Aid program sponsored by the US Department of Education typically comprises the majority of a student’s financial aid. Loans should be your last resource (as you’ll need to pay them back with interest after finishing your degree), but you should still apply to find out how much federal aid is available to you. While taking on a large amount of debt can seem daunting at first, think of it as investment capital- you’re investing in your future success as a PA. Plus, PAs are one of the highest paid occupations in the US, so while paying your loans back may feel impossible prior to or during school, the increase in salary will absolutely make things easier when it comes time to start the repayment process!
In some situations, you may qualify for Education Tax Credits where you can deduct a large portion of your educational costs on your taxes. The IRS Student Resource is a great place to start if you’re interested in learning how to cut the cost of your education, but be aware- you may have to itemize and keep tabs on a lot of your expenses to get any real returns.
Reach out to other PAs on message boards, social media, and through the AAPA. You’re not the first person who’s attempted to afford PA school, and there are plenty of current students and working PAs that would love to share their experiences with you! You can also check out Niche’s listing of available scholarships. If overall cost is more of what you’re focused on, you can use SimpleTuition or FinAid to help compare the potential costs of each program and find which sources of aid are right for you.