Pharmacy school scholarships can be a great way to offset the high costs of professional school. You’ve made it past the hard part, getting accepted to pharmacy school, but how are you going to pay for it?
Let’s face it: professional schooling is expensive. On average, pharmacy students can expect to pay about $25,000 annually for tuition. This comes out to an average of $123,063 over 4 years, and this is assuming the only loans taken out were to pay for tuition and no loans were used to offset the cost of living.
Average tuitions in similar professions, such as medical and dental school, are even higher with students paying an average of $39,900 in tuition per year. Seeing these numbers on paper is at least a little shocking to most people, but there are some ways to help offset these costs. Being smart about your finances during pharmacy school is just as important as doing well in your classes.
Budgeting for professional school
Before starting your first semester, it is extremely important to work out a budget. Any doctorate level schooling is going to leave little time outside of school to work, so don’t count on being able to keep your 40 hour per week job.
Most students are able to squeeze in about 10 hours of work per week. At a student pharmacist level, 10 hours per week might be a good chunk of spending money, but it will not get the bills paid.
The first thing you’ll need to consider is housing. Is it possible to live with your parents and commute from home?
If not, can you find 1-3 people to rent with? Housing is the highest portion of cost of living so the more ways in which this cost can be reduced, the better.
Since commuting is not always an option, living in dorms or off-campus in shared housing is usually the next cheapest option.
After rent, you will need to consider how you are going to pay for utilities and food. Since you’ve already been in an undergraduate program, you may already be used to making budget friendly meals.
Cooking is a much cheaper option than eating out, so it’s a good idea to learn a few staple recipes that use basic ingredients.
After a place to live and food is taken care of, the rest of the necessities depend entirely on the area in which you’ll be living.
If you’re in a metropolitan area, ditch the car and use public transportation. If not, make sure your car is in working condition and will get you from point A to point B.
Aside from all of these costs, it is also important to consider cost of books, cost of supplies, and any fees associated with your program. These fees are often laid out in the tuition section of the school’s webpage, so be sure to look into it!
Nationwide pharmacy school scholarships
Now that you have a budget, you can get started on researching pharmacy school scholarships. Pharmacy school scholarships contribute greatly in offsetting the cost of your tuition, and they tend to be offered by employers as well as pharmaceutical companies.
If you currently work in a pharmacy, your employer’s website is a good place to start. Some employers will offer pharmacy school scholarships once a year. Others will offer tuition assistance.
Keep in mind that with tuition assistance, the amount is usually paid in full by the employer so long as you agree to work for the company a certain amount of years after graduating.
Be sure to read the fine print before signing a tuition assistance agreement. If you take the assistance, and later break the contract, you will have to pay back the cost plus interest.
If you don’t work in a pharmacy, no need to fret! Most retail pharmacy companies offer scholarships to any pharmacy student, regardless of whether or not the student is employed with their company.
Start researching the websites of all of the community pharmacies you can think of. Even if the company does not have any stores in your state, they will often offer scholarships to entice pharmacy students to check out their company. It will never hurt to look!
Outside of retail pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies are also a great place to search for pharmacy school scholarships. Pharmaceutical companies will often give scholarships to pharmacy students due to good grades and community service.
So be sure to keep your grades up and stay active during your 4 years in pharmacy school. This will make you a good candidate for receiving a scholarship from an outside company.
Lastly, most pharmacy schools themselves have a universal scholarship application that is given to students once a year. This means that you fill out one application, and faculty choose from the applications to divvy out about 10-25 scholarships per year.
This is a great way to apply to several pharmacy school scholarships at once without having to fill out numerous applications. Generally, a list of all available scholarships will be given to students with the application, so you will be aware of what’s out there and available to help you pay for your education!