Financing a medical education can be challenging and is a huge factor that many MD applicants have to consider. Our school helps students tap on various resources to meet financial needs, including bursaries and merit scholarships. We interviewed an MD student from the Class of 2019, who shared how he finances his medical studies.
What sort of financial aid did you receive when you applied to Duke-NUS Medical School?
As a beneficiary of the School’s financial aid, I am extremely thankful for its generous support. In my first year, I received a Duke-NUS bursary that covered about 75% of my school fees. That helped to reduce the financial burden of attending medical school. I also took a Tuition Fee Loan (TFL) from a local bank that was made possible by MOE and NUS. The maximum TFL that can be taken is 90% of what a Singapore Citizen pays in tuition fees.
How did you finance the remainder of your fees?
Apart from the School’s financial aid, I also used savings accumulated from work. Prior to joining Duke-NUS, I had spent two years working at the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Ministry of Education (MOE). My savings played a critical role in funding day-to-day expenses, especially since I come from a lower income household. Some of my classmates choose to be part-time tutors but because I have no previous experience in the areas of medicine and biology, having graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, taking up tuition assignments to fund my daily expenses was not a feasible option. It could be quite disastrous given the rigour of the MD programme.
How did your decision to pursue an MD affect your family?
I would not have been able to pursue a postgraduate medical education without the encouragement and support provided by my family. It was important for me to discuss financial considerations with my family before embarking on such a long and arduous endeavor, as they had to make adjustments to accommodate the loss of family income.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue an MD but is worried about the cost?
I would advise them to talk to the Duke-NUS financial aid folks about the various ways they can fund their education and passion for medicine. They are friendly, approachable and provide excellent advice on how best to manage your finances during your 4 years at Duke-NUS.