Guide to Medical Residency Relocation Loans

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 8/31/20

Many future doctors enter their fourth year of schooling believing the days of giant educational expenses are now behind them. The trouble is that this is not usually the case, as they take the boards, face review courses, and find a new place to live. 

While our unusual times are shifting some residencies to partially online models, perhaps saving a few soon-to-be practitioners a buck or two on moving costs, the fact remains that a medical residency relocation loan is a real need for many aspiring medical practitioners. 

This article will focus on explaining what medical residency relocation loans are, how to compare them, and what to expect as you plan the next step of your medical career.

What Is a Medical Residency Relocation Loan?

Medical residency relocation loans are designed to aid fourth-year medical students in handling the costs associated with getting them to their residency locations. 

The first thing to note is that a residency loan is not the same thing as a federal student loan. The steps to apply are somewhat different, as there is no need to obtain approval from your school’s financial aid office. However, your school might be asked to validate your enrollment status, and these loans are typically meant to extend to expenses that your federal loans will not cover. 

Examples of things that you can pay for with a medical residency loan include:

  • A deposit on your new apartment
  • Travel costs, such as fuel and train or airline tickets
  • Moving companies or hauling expenses

While providers will vary on loan terms and rates, the funds you receive from a medical residency relocation loan can only be utilized for post-medical school expenses.

Costs of a Medical Residency Relocation Loan

The fees and interest associated with a medical residency relocation loan are determined by the creditworthiness of you or you and your co-signer. Some lenders even offer these types of loans with no fees, so you will want to be sure to ask about additional costs when you are choosing a loan. 

Important things to evaluate when deciding on a medical residency relocation loan include:

  • Terms and conditions: Does the lender require a co-signer? Is there instant loan approval? 
  • Interest rates: Does the lender have fixed or variable rates? If both, do qualifications differ for each?
  • Processing time and disbursement dates: Is there an online application with a quick turnaround? How quickly can the money be received? 
  • Repayment and deferment options: When does repayment start? Are there incentives for auto payments or paying off early?

When researching medical residency relocation loans, finding out the maximum amount you can borrow and the length of any repayment plan you are considering is vital. Reaching a live representative and accessing your loan account online will likewise save you time.

Comparison of Medical Residency Relocation Loan Providers

Many medical residency relocation loans can tend toward smaller amounts of money, as in sums between $1,000 to $5,000. This figure will depend on the lender you use, and it is helpful to itemize your moving costs so that you have a clear idea of what you need before you apply. 

The following chart offers a comparative analysis of three of the more popular medical residency relocation loan providers.

Lender Interest Rates Repayment Extras
Sallie Mae Variable: 3.03–9.62%
Fixed: 6.52–12.0%
You can receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction when enrolled in auto pay.
Deferment is optional during enrollment and can be extended up to three years after graduation.
Sallie Mae offers lower, interest-only options for the first two or four years.
You can borrow up to $30,000, and the money comes straight to you.
There is no interest during deferment.
Sallie Mae provides specialized loans for all medical, podiatry, and veterinary residencies.
Discover  Variable: 5.74–8.50%
Fixed: 6.99–8.99%
Receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction when enrolled in auto pay.
Interest continues to accrue during the deferment.
In-School Interest Only: Pay only interest while enrolled and during the grace period to receive a 0.35% discount on the interest rate and a lower overall loan cost.
In-School Fixed:Pay a fixed $25 each month while you are enrolled to lower the overall loan cost.
Deferment: Pay nothing until nine months after graduation or when enrollment drops to half-time.
There is no prepayment penalty.
You can borrow up to $18,000, depending on your medical profession.
There are 24/7 student loan specialist support and a fast application process.
Wells Fargo MedCAP-XTRA Variable: 7.46–7.69%
Fixed: 9.76–9.99%
Receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction when enrolled in auto pay.
There is an interest rate discount of 0.25% for customers and other qualifying relationships.
No payments are necessary until six months after graduation.
Allopathic and osteopathic students make no payments for 36 months after leaving school.

There are no fees of any kind or prepayment penalty.
Sets borrow-what-you-need limits with school approvals at:
$1,000–$12,500 for medical boards and clinical exams, including review courses, exam cost, and living expenses for students in allopathic (M.D.) osteopathic (D.O.) medical, dentistry, and podiatry programs. $1,000–$15,000 for residency interview and relocation expenses (up to $5,000 for interview travel and $10,000 for relocation) for allopathic and osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine students.
$1,000–$5,000 for internship expenses for occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant students.

How Is Eligibility for a Medical Residency Relocation Loan Determined?

While qualifying criteria for a medical residency relocation loan can vary widely between lender and lender, a few absolutes remain in place. For starters, applicants need to have an established credit history in the United States. If that is not the case, a co-signer who is an American national with a strong credit score will be mandatory. While U.S. citizenship is always helpful, permanent residents and international students with an approved co-signer can generally still apply. Most companies require an applicant to be at least 16 years old at the time of application.

Applicants must also be within 180 days of beginning their official medical residencies. Some companies favor only certain medical fields, and others have a more open policy. 

The ability to prove satisfactory academic progress in your chosen field will also be asked for. Many applications will ask for some form of grade verification or communication of academic standing from your current college.

Another factor that can affect your eligibility for a medical residency relocation loan is your loan aggregation totals. This refers to the complete amount of student debt you owe from all other lenders outside of any medical school scholarships you may have obtained. Some companies will only lend you an amount representing the balance between your total debt and their aggregation limit. 

For example, if a lending company has set an aggregation limit of $250,000 for your specialized field of medicine, and you already have $230,000 in student debt, even if you prequalify for $30,000, you can only receive $20,000 of that. Most lenders take a careful look at your outstanding debt before deciding your eligibility for a medical residency relocation loan.

Making College Easier for Future Medical Practitioners

Everybody knows that medical school is not easy or cheap. is here to support future physicians in the cost analysis of their education. We provide detailed resources on loan repayment structures, savings plans, and FAFSA so that you do not have to search for the facts you need to make an informed decision. is committed to keeping fresh, information-rich material about the many types of college funding. Visit our website today to find out more about the finance options available to you as you pursue your medical degree.