Scholarships for Medical Assistants

ASO Staff Writers
Updated July 11, 2023
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Finding and Applying for Scholarships, Grants & Loans

Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing career fields in the country, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting 16% growth nationally between 2021 and 2031. As the demand continues to increase, competition for the best talent is expected to heighten. Completing a postsecondary education is paramount, yet students may have concerns about financing their education. Learn about the different types of financial aid opportunities available to medical assistant students, including medical assistant scholarships, grants and loans.

Expert Contributor: Thomas Jaworski

Medical Assistant Scholarships & Grants Search

For the prospective student, locating potential medical assistant scholarships can be a challenging process. Below is a list of scholarships and academic awards available to students interested in becoming a medical assistant.

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Types of Financial Aid for Postsecondary Students

Medical assistant students are not alone when it comes to financing their degree, certificate or other forms of post-secondary training. In fact, students in vocational programs—such as medical assisting—qualify for a range of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, loans and federal work-study. Below is an overview of each type of financial aid.

  • Scholarships

    Scholarships are a type of student financial aid that do not need to be repaid. They are awarded based on different criteria, including merit, academic performance, or financial need.

    • Both multiyear and single academic year scholarships are available.

    • Some scholarships are limited to individuals from a specific demographic (e.g. African American, female, individuals with a disability).

    • They are available from a wide range of organizations, including state and local government, community organizations, nonprofits, employers, universities, and religious entities.

    • Some scholarships may cover the entire cost of tuition, while others may only provide a couple of hundreds of dollars.

  • Grants

    Grants are a form of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. They are typically awarded based on the financial need of the student.

    • They are available from federal, state, private organizations, nonprofit agencies, and postsecondary institutions.

    • The Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant are the two main federal grants programs available to medical assisting students.

    • The Pell Grant provides a maximum of $5,775 in academic assistance each year.

    • Some grants cover multiple years of schooling, while others may be limited to a single year.

  • Loans

    Loans are the most commonly used type of financial aid. They may come from federal government or private sources (e.g. banks) and must be repaid with interest.

    • The federal government has two loan programs: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program.

    • There are three direct loans: subsidized (provided to student who demonstrate financial need); unsubsidized (provided to students regardless of financial need); PLUS (provided to parents of undergraduate students or professional/graduate degree students); and Consolidation.

    • The Federal Perkins Loan Program is for students who demonstrate significant financial need and, under this program, the school acts as the lender for the loan.

    • Students may borrow up to $5,500 per year in Perkins Loans and between $5,500 and $12,500 in direct loans.

  • Work Study

    The Federal Work-Study program provides students who demonstrate financial need with part-time jobs that allow them to earn money towards education expenses.

    • It is available to both part- and full-time students.

    • Federal Work-Study is administered by individual schools and not every institution participates.

    • The program focuses on jobs related to the student’s course of study.

    • The amount of work-study aid is variable and dependent on the student’s financial need and the amount of work-study aid available at the college or university.

FAQ with Thomas Jaworski,
Educational Consultant

Q. What types of scholarships are available to students considering an education to become a medical assistant?

These scholarships are harder to find because they are vocational or certificate programs, but there are organizations and foundations that support specialized fields with scholarships. For example, the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development offers the Allied Healthcare Scholarship. Additional financial aid and/or scholarships can come from the program offering the medical assistant courses themselves.

Q. What are the steps you recommend prospective students take to start learning more about scholarships and financial aid?

Keep looking, they are all around you. Local or civic organizations such as a chamber of commerce, Rotary Club or Lions Club offer scholarships that have a small applicant pool. Websites such as FastWeb and are good places to look for scholarships, but many times these are large national scholarships, with a large applicant pool, thus harder to win.

Q. When should students start the financial aid/scholarship search?

Yesterday! Many scholarships can be earned prior to senior year that parents/students do not know about. They can then save these scholarships to be sent when starting college or place them into their college savings accounts. Begin searching early in the high school career. If a student is not eligible until senior year, keep a log of these scholarships and then to apply. Many times, the essay prompts do not change from year to year, thus you can have plenty of time to write the essay.

Q. What advice do you have to prospective medical assisting students to find and land a scholarship?

Research the medical assistance profession and find organizations designed to support this field. If scholarships are not listed on their website, contact the organization to ask if they have one, or know of any. Most of the time they will know where to look. Also contact the school offering the program. Ask if they have any program scholarships or know of organizations that might be able to help.

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Medical Assistant Financial Aid at a Glance

Digging Deeper into Financial Aid for Medical Assistant Students

Prospective students have a variety of funding sources for medical assistant financial aid. These sources range from government organizations to local community nonprofits. However, finding specific funding opportunities from each source can be challenging. Learn more about how to discover scholarships and other sources of funding for medical assistant programs. Professional Associations

Prospective medical assistants can turn to professional healthcare associations as sources for potential student aid. In addition to scholarships and grants, these organizations also offer networking opportunities, workshops, professional development courses, and other resources for students and practicing medical assistants. Below is a list of common medical assistant associations.

University / College

As noted above, each university, college and technical institute has an office of financial aid that works with students to create financial aid packages. Prospective medical assistant students can work with financial aid officers to identify school- or community-based scholarships that may be available to students attending that particular institution. Scholarship Websites

Finding medical assistant scholarships can be challenging because of the niche nature of the field of study. However, there are a variety of online sources that can serve as starting points to locating financial aid opportunities. Below is a list of websites that have more information about scholarships for students interested in becoming medical assistants.

State-based Organizations and Foundations

Each state has a variety of health-related organizations that support the education of future healthcare professionals through loan repayment, scholarship, and grant programs. These entities vary from state-to-state. For example, the Health Professions Education Foundation in California works to encourage individuals from underrepresented communities to move into healthcare occupations. In Pennsylvania, the State System of Higher Education, Inc. offers a range of scholarships for students interested in healthcare degree programs. Students may also want to turn to the local chapters of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Many of these local chapters provide scholarships and other resources to medical assistant students. Getting Grants

The Pell Grant is the federal grant program for students who have not completed a bachelor’s or professional degree. Pell Grants are needs-based, designed for low-income students enrolled in any of the 5,400 participating postsecondary educational institutions—including vocational schools. The amount of the grant award is determined by the student’s enrollment status, the cost of the medical assisting program, and the student’s Expected Family Contribution. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the maximum yearly award is $5,775. Unlike loans, Pell Grants do not need to be repaid.

Financial Aid & the FAFSA: 10 Important Facts

In order to apply for federal student aid, including grants, student loans and work-study, prospective students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most states and colleges use the FAFSA to qualify the student’s eligibility for aid and determines the student’s overall financial aid package. Below is a list of ten facts for students to keep in mind when completing and submitting the FAFSA.

How to Find and Apply for Medical Assistant Scholarships: The Steps

There is scholarship money available for medical assistant students, which means students should have a plan of attack when it comes to securing the most financial aid possible. Below is a step-by-step guide that covers information about how to find and apply for medical assistant scholarships.

1 Submit the FAFSA

The first step is to complete and submit the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid and is vital when it comes to accessing the most aid possible.

2 Get Organized

The total number of scholarships for medical assistants is limited, so students should take an organized approach to being a competitive candidate. Below is a list of steps to take to stay organized:

3 Develop a List of Targeted Scholarships

Once the student has gotten organized and understands the types of scholarships they need, the next step is to start searching for scholarships.

4 Gather Documents and Start Preparing
Scholarship Applications

After locating scholarships that fund medical assistant students, the next step is to start the application process.

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