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Submitted by ssgaggi on Thu, 06/23/2016 - 9:32am


Our goal is to help undergraduate medical students understand the financial aid process as well as develop the financial skills necessary to make informed choices about their future.

We never want debt to be a barrier to student success at the Cumming School of Medicine.


Financial Counselling

Medical school is exciting and challenging … and expensive. We know that the majority of students will graduate with large amounts of debt. There is light at the end of the tunnel and financial literacy will guide the way. Some of the things that will be discussed in the “Lunch and Learn” sessions include controlling spending habits, how to track your spending and create a useful budget, credit ratings, using credit cards, loans versus lines of credit, loan repayment, insurance and more. Part of my role is to help educate you and provide counselling and support regarding these and other issues such as helping you resolve feelings of anxiety about money and gaining control of your spending habits.

Whether you are a prospective student, newly admitted or a current “animal” in our menagerie, please feel free to contact me directly:

Karen Chadbolt
Manager, UME Finance
403-220-3945 /


Medical School Costs

Medical School Costs

The following chart outlines some of the basic costs you will encounter during your medical school education at the Cumming School of Medicine. Tuition and general fees are set by main campus and do not vary, but other costs can be rather variable in nature. Some students will pay a lot for textbooks, while others will find other options such as used or digital versions. The preclerkship (first and second) years are mostly spent in classroom. Getting around using transit is usually not too much of a problem. You will not start seeing costs creep up until you start booking electives. Many students decide to go out of province (or even out of country), and these costs quickly add up. When you enter your clerkship year (year 3), you may all of a sudden discover that you need a car. Or now that you are spending long days and nights in a clinic or a hospital without much of a break, you find yourself buying more meals and coffee than is normal.  

Please be aware not only of the costs, but also the due dates for these costs.  The following link will take you to the University of Calgary calendar, where you will see important dates.

Some typical Clerkship costs:

  • AFMC Electives Portal registration fee ($100 minimum, $250 maximum – depending where you apply)
  • Travel costs (flights) for out-of-Calgary or out-of-province electives (including accommodation)
  • CaRMS registration fee plus additional fees for additional programs
  • Flights and other travel costs for CaRMS interviews
  • MCCQE Part 1 licensing exam (budget $1000 to $1500)
  • Costs associated with owning a vehicle (gas, insurance, maintenance)

Student Loans and Lines of Credit

Student Loans and Lines of Credit

As actual study dates vary by term and, often, by student, The University of Calgary utilizes standardized study dates for loan purposes to streamline the loan application and confirmation process.  Please note that while the standardized loan dates may differ slightly from your actual in-study dates, they are true and correct for loan purposes and represent the same number of study weeks and have no impact on your funding eligibility.  Please use the following table as a reference when applying for student loans. Further guidance can be obtained by contacting the Financial Aid office at

Alberta Student Loans

Full-time students need to apply online using their online SIAMS account. This resource provides a secure, centralized access to all online applications for the Alberta Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education (such as your student loan account).

The current annual loan limit for Student Aid Alberta is $7,500 per semester. For medical students, the lifetime limit is $175,000. For more information: Please note: if you have received an Alberta student loan, the loan remains payment and interest-free while you are in residency.


For Alberta & Quebec loan borrowers: Maintaining Interest-Free Status

Students who have outstanding provincial loans from Alberta and Quebec are eligible to maintain interest-free status on these loans while in Medical Residency.  Forms to maintain this status must be obtained yearly through the Financial Aid Office.  The form can be completed a maximum of 30 days before the start of the study period.  As each new year of Residency runs July 1-June 30, the earliest a Form B can be completed is June 1.

Please email Financial Aid ( with your request on or after June 1, 2016 and a completed form will be provided to you at that time.

Federal Student Loans

Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for government student loans. Student loans offered by the Government of Canada require certain eligibility criteria that must be met, and students are advised to be aware of the maximum lifetime limit for Canada Student Loans. You will also have to start paying back the loan six months after you graduate or leave your studies.

More information can be found at:

Loans from Other Provinces

Student loans and grants are managed by each province. Eligibility is determined based on the province you reside in, not where you are attending school.

Please be familiar with the residency requirements for independent and dependent students. The Office of the Registrar gives the following guideline for determining which province you should apply for student loans: (>

Residency for Independent Students

Students who are 21 years of age or older; have been out of high school for more than four years; have been available for full-time work for at least two years since graduating high-school; are married/common-law; are divorced/separated/widowed; or have at least one dependent child are considered to be independent.

If you qualify as an independent student, you should apply for your student loans in the province where you:

  • have most recently lived for 12 consecutive months while not a full time post-secondary student, or
  • currently reside if you have never lived in any other Canadian province for 12 consecutive months


Residency for Dependent Students

Students who do not meet any of the independent student eligibility are considered to be dependent students. If you are a dependent student, you will determine province of residency based on where you parent(s) reside.

Faculty of Medicine Bursaries

Faculty of Medicine Bursaries

The University of Calgary offers both competitive and nominated awards and bursaries to medical students enrolled in the MD program. Go to and scroll down to Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries. Then click on Professional Program Awards ( )

and read all three sections on information for eligibility, how to apply and deadlines. You will need to apply through the myUofC portal.

  • On the right-hand side, there is a Related Links section. Here you can click on Search for Awards.  
  • Under Search Criteria, use the Faculty drop-down menu and select Medicine (MD) and then press the Apply button. You will see a list of 66 different Faculty of Medicine Bursaries and awards, 9 of which are for Medical Electives.
  • The deadline for Medicine Bursaries is August 10 and for medical Elective Awards, the deadline is April 1 of each calendar year. 
  • You can apply to Faculty of Medicine Bursaries (ranging from $400-$8,000, average $2000-$3000) by completing one single application.

Differential Tuition Bursary

To be eligible, you must be paying the differential tuition fee to the Cumming School of Medicine for the academic year in which the Differential Tuition Bursary is awarded. You must also provide the Student Awards Office with proof of your outstanding government student loan debt (Federal/Provincial) to date. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions including how to submit your outstanding student loan information please visit this link. Differential Tuition Bursaries FAQ

Cumming School of Medicine Special Bursaries

To receive a Special Bursary, you must be experiencing an exceptional, unanticipated financial hardship which has put you at serious risk of withdrawing from the MD program. You must also be paying the differential tuition fee to the Cumming School of Medicine for the academic year in which the Special Bursary is awarded.

You can complete the “Medicine Special Bursaries” question in the Cumming School of Medicine Bursaries application. Please do not send your documents or personal details to the Student Awards Office or the Cumming School of Medicine. The Cumming School of Medicine will contact you in late August if more information is required.  

Other Sources of Funding

Professional Student Line of Credit

Medical school is expensive, and banks are more than willing to provide students with a professional line of credit, often in the range of $200,000 or more. The difference between a government student loan and a bank line of credit is that with a line of credit, you start paying interest right away on any funds that you use, which turns into a monthly interest expense in your budget. Many students find that these interest payments are paid through further advances on their line of credit. Another think to keep in mind is that you are not guaranteed to receive the maximum as many banks will advance funds based on individual credit ratings and requirements. The interest rates for LOC’s are based on prime, so these are subject to change. It is important that you check out the websites of the different banks and make sure that the bank you choose is giving you the best option.

Life-Long Learning Program

If you are in the position of having large savings in an RRSP, the Lifelong Learning Plan will allow you (or your spouse/partner on your behalf) to withdraw up to $10,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000 tax free. You do not have to pay any interest on the amount you withdraw, and you will have up to ten years to repay the full amount that you borrowed from your RRSP. For more information, please visit