Are you thinking about pursuing your Physician Assistant (PA) degree in 2023? As you embark on this journey, finding a school that fits your academic and financial needs is essential. But with all the PA programs in the US, how do you decide which is right for you at the best possible price? Look no further! This post will provide an in-depth overview of the cheapest PA schools in the United States for 2023. So, read on and prepare to take that next step toward a successful medical career as a PA!
The Average Cost of PA School in the US
Attending a Physician Assistant (PA) school is expensive but can have a significant return on investment. Generally, the average cost of attending a PA school varies depending on multiple factors. Nevertheless, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the average cost of PA school in 2019-2020 was approximately $56,850 for two years in-state and over $101,500 for two years out-of-state.
Generally speaking, PA school programs are divided into semesters, costing around $10,000 to $20,000. That means that depending on the cost per semester and the state you wish to study from, the overall cost of attending PA school can vary significantly. Nevertheless, out-of-state tuition is generally higher than in-state tuition rates due to differences in state funding and subsidies.
With average tuition expenses ranging between $90,000 and $110,000, Tennessee, California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are the costliest states to pursue a PA degree. Similarly, the states with the lowest tuition averages are Kansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Here, expenses range from $50,000 to $80,000.
In addition to tuition and fees, other costs associated with attending a PA school include living expenses. These expenses include the following:
- Housing and Meals
- Books and Supplies
- Transportation Expenses
- Medical Insurance
- Licensing Fees
- Other Miscellaneous Expenses
For example, some schools may charge a lab fee or require students to purchase specialized equipment or software. Generally, these additional costs may add up to around $3,000 per semester or $6,000 annually. Therefore, as a student, you should factor in these additional costs when calculating the overall cost of matriculation before committing to a particular program.
Cheapest PA Schools in the US
There are plenty of options available for finding an affordable PA school. From small private colleges to large public universities, we’ll look at some of the best programs with low tuition rates and rigorous curricula. We’ll cover each school’s academic offerings, student resources, and financial aid packages so you can make an informed decision about your educational future. So, let’s get started!
1. Wichita State University
Wichita State University is the cheapest PA school in the US. Here, potential students can complete their studies to become PAs within two years. To be eligible for admission, applicants must have completed at least 90 semester hours of college credit, have maintained an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, and have earned at least a C+ in coursework related to science and mathematics.
The PA program at Wichita State University offers comprehensive academic offerings, including courses in the following fields:
- Clinical Medicine
- Medical Ethics
In addition to these core courses, students must complete electives such as healthcare policy and administration, legal issues in healthcare, and community health promotion.
Wichita State University offers one of the most affordable PA (Physician Assistant) programs in the United States. For estimated tuition cost per semester for out-of-state residents studying full-time is $3,400, while in-state residents have an estimated tuition cost of $2,000 per semester. This means that out-of-state students would pay approximately $70,343 for tuition fees, while in-state students pay approximately $28,642 over that same period.
The total cost of attendance (which includes tuition fees plus estimated living expenses like food, housing, etc.) throughout Wichita State University’s PA program is estimated to be around $47,500 for in-state and $89,000 for non-residents. This makes it one of the most cost-effective PA schools in the United States when considering living costs and tuition fees.
2. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC)
Texas Tech University, Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) is one of the cheap PA schools in the US in 2023. Located in Lubbock, Texas, it offers an excellent quality education at a more affordable rate than many other programs. The school offers an accredited program that provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the medical field.
Admission requirements for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center PA program are quite stringent. Applicants must have completed their undergraduate degree, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have taken certain prerequisite courses, and submit GRE scores within the last five years. Additionally, they must demonstrate an aptitude for healthcare and complete an intensive interview process. This includes a one-on-one interview with faculty members.
The tuition costs are very competitive when compared to other schools in the US. Tuition for each semester is approximately $4,900 for Texas residents and $8,200 for non-residents. The estimated total cost of tuition for the entire two-year program is $33,125, while out-of-state tuition is $84,125.
Students who get accepted into the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program may be eligible to take advantage of various financial aid options, including grants and loans from federal programs. These include the following:
- Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) Grant
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Direct PLUS Loan (Graduate and Parent Plus)
In addition to these federal programs, students can also take out private loans through banks and credit unions. Additionally, scholarships are available through organizations such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), which provides loan repayment assistance to those who qualify. At the same time, they serve primary care needs in underserved areas throughout the US.
3. CUNY York College
CUNY York College offers one of the cheapest PA colleges in the United States in 2023. The rigorous program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become competent, entry-level Physician Assistants.
The PA program at York College provides students with an in-depth education, preparing them with the skills they need to make an impact in their respective fields. The curriculum includes courses in the following topics:
- Clinical Medicine
- Medical Ethics
To be accepted into York College’s PA program, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited undergraduate institution. They should also have scores from the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE). International applicants who did not attend school in the US are required to submit additional documentation. This includes transcripts translated into English and proof of English language proficiency, such as TOEFL scores.
The school’s tuition costs vary depending on residency status. For in-state students, tuition for the entire period is approximately $36,655; for out-of-state students, it is approximately $74,385. The total estimated cost of the two-year program is approximately $50,170 for in-state students and around $88,660 for out-of-state students.
In addition to these low tuition costs, CUNY York College offers financial aid packages to help offset tuition costs. These include need-based grants such as Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).
There are also loans available such as Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Unsubsidized Loans, that can be used to cover tuition costs. The school offers a student loan repayment program. It is an incentive for PA program graduates to benefit from reduced repayment of student loans following graduation.
4. University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin is one of the top choices for students looking for affordable PA programs in the US in 2023. Founded in 1848, the university offers various health-related educational opportunities. Its highly competitive Physician Assistant (PA) program has an outstanding faculty and a world-class curriculum.
The PA program at UW Madison provides students with a unique academic experience that includes cutting-edge theoretical knowledge and hands-on clinical skills development. The curriculum covers diverse topics such as:
- Human Anatomy
- Clinical Medicine
- Integrated Courses in Communication
- Ethics and Research Design
To be eligible for admission to the University of Wisconsin’s PA program, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Completed 90 credit hours of approved coursework from an accredited college or university within the US
- Completed prerequisite coursework
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all science prerequisites and an overall GPA over 3.2 on all college courses before application submission
If accepted into the program, students can expect to complete approximately 105 credit hours over 27 months before graduating with a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies.
The University of Wisconsin offers one of the most affordable Physician Assistant (PA) programs in the United States. The tuition costs for PA students are some of the lowest in the nation, both for the campus track option and the distance track option. The most popular choice is the campus track, with a tuition price of $39,565 for in-state students and $80,415 for out-of-state students. These fees cover items such as departmental fees, technology fees, and library access fees.
In addition to its low tuition costs, UW offers several financial aid packages designed to help make the program even more affordable for its students. Packages range from scholarships and grants to loans and payment plans. Scholarships are available for various student profiles ranging from merit-based to need-based awards. The university also offers a variety of payment plans that allow students to spread their payments over several months or even years.
5. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center is among the most affordable and respected PA schools in the US in 2023. With an exceptional academic track record and myriad top-notch programs, UT Southwestern’s Physician Assistant Program offers students a quality education and affordability.
At UT Southwestern’s Physician Assistant Program, students can expect to find an extensive curriculum that covers foundational topics such as:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Signs and Symptoms
- Medical Diagnosis
- Clinical Skills
- Medical Ethics and Professionalism
The program also focuses on providing hands-on learning experiences in both classroom settings and clinical settings. These experiences include simulated encounters with standardized patients. It may also be with mannequins onsite at UT Southwestern and clinical rotations at local hospitals or clinics in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area.
Instate students enrolled in the PA program can expect to pay $354 per semester hour with about 112 hours to cover. This comes to approximately $39,648 for the entire 30-month period, significantly lower than many other well-regarded schools. Out-of-state students should expect slightly higher costs at $354 per semester, amounting to around $85,344 over the entire study period.
UT Southwestern offers several financial aid packages to help students cover tuition costs. They include federal loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Students can apply for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans which can be used to cover tuition costs. UT Southwestern also works with external organizations and other foundations to provide financial assistance to qualified students. Several scholarship opportunities for students enrolled in the PA program are also available at the university.
The institution provides unique options, such as its Loan Repayment Program. This program allows graduates of their Physician Assistant program to join an approved community organization or practice and receive loan repayment funding over two years after graduation. This program is an excellent way for PAs to reduce their future student loan debt.
6. Indiana State University
Indiana State University offers an accredited physician assistant program through its College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services. ISU’s PA program was established in 1999 and offered an accredited Master of Science degree. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skill sets, and clinical experience required for various Physician Assistant specialties.
The program consists of didactic education, as well as clinical experiences in a variety of healthcare settings. Core courses include the following:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Health Assessment
- Pediatrics and Geriatrics
- Medical ethics and Jurisprudence
To be accepted into the PA Program at Indiana State University, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Completion of all prerequisite courses with a C or higher grade
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Completed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within three years before the application date
- Proof of 40 hours of volunteer work in healthcare settings. You can read on the internet how to get clinical hours for PA school
Indiana State University offers one of the most competitive tuition costs for a PA Program in the United States. For in-state students, tuition costs for an entire two-year course of study are $40,734, while out-of-state students pay a total of $80,073. It costs $438 per credit hour for the in-state student and $861 for out-of-state students, with 93 credit hours to cover in the entire seven-semester period.
The school also offers special financial aid packages to help make its PA program more accessible to everyone. Students have access to loans, grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial assistance that can help reduce the overall cost of attending school. The university encourages prospective PA students to apply for these funds early to ensure maximum savings on tuition.
7. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is located in Little Rock, Arkansas, and offers an affordable PA program. UAMS has been ranked as one of the top PA schools in the country. Also, its tuition costs are among the lowest of all PA programs in the United States in 2023.
The program’s curriculum emphasizes problem-based learning and focuses on knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- Clinical Medicine
- Physical Diagnosis
- Healthcare Delivery Systems
- Professional Communication Skills
Academic requirements for admission into the program include a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework and a minimum score of 500 on the GRE. In addition, the university also requires two additional science courses, such as biochemistry or genetics. A strong background in humanities is also preferred but not required.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences offers some of the most competitive tuition costs to become a physician assistant in the United States. Throughout the program, in-state students can expect to pay approximately $46,669 in tuition; out-of-state students will pay approximately $73,500 throughout their degree program.
In addition to low tuition rates, UAMS offers several financial aid options to help cover tuition expenses. These include federal and state grants, loans, and scholarships from private entities or organizations. The Office of Student Financial Aid is available to assist current and prospective students with all matters related to paying for their education. UAMS also provides resources specifically targeted toward helping PA students manage their educational debt after graduation.
8. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)
The University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is one of the cheapest PA schools in the US in 2023. Located in Edinburg, Texas, UTRGV’s School of Medicine provides a comprehensive program to equip pre-clinical and medical students with the skills needed to succeed as Physician Assistants.
The school’s PA program curriculum covers the following areas:
- Clinical Practice
- Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures
- Medical Ethics and Law
- Research Methodology
- Medical Informatics
The program is designed to provide students with an education emphasizing evidence-based practice and Problem-Based Learning (PBL). In addition to providing classroom instruction and supervised clinical experiences during their two years of study at UTRGV’s School of Medicine, students must complete two half-year-long clinical rotations approved by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
To be admitted into UTRGV’s PA program, applicants must meet certain academic requirements, including:
- A minimum GPA of 3.2 on all college coursework
- Completion of prerequisites such as anatomy & physiology I & II, general biology I & II, and general chemistry I & II
- Completion of 500 hours or more shadowing experienced PAs or MDs
- Three letters of recommendation from current PAs or MDs
Undoubtedly, this university offers one of the most affordable paths to obtaining a PA degree in the United States. In-state students’ tuition for the 28-month program is just $47,925. Out-of-state students are charged marginally more, with an overall tuition fee of $83,269.
The school offers financial aid, grants, and scholarships for those on a tight budget to help reduce costs even further. The university awards merit scholarships based on academic performance or need-based grants such as the Federal Pell Grant Program or State Tuition Aid Grants (STAG). Some employers may offer reimbursement opportunities to help offset tuition costs even further.
9. Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a great option for prospective PA students interested in quality education at an affordable cost in 2023. The university offers the only accredited Physician Assistant program in Missouri. It provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to benefit from the expertise and experience of highly-qualified faculty members.
The PA program at Missouri State University is designed to provide students with comprehensive academic knowledge, as well as comprehensive skills and clinical experiences. The curriculum encompasses two years of rigorous coursework, with PA majors such as:
- Medical Microbiology
- Clinical Practice
Concerning the academic requirements needed for admission into the PA program at Missouri State University, prospective students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA from an accredited college or university. Other requirements include undergraduate courses in anatomy & physiology plus one year of college-level chemistry with lab experience.
With tuition rates among the nation’s lowest, Missouri State offers great value for your investment. The program’s tuition is $31,581 for in-state residents and $60,465 for out-of-state students. When you add other expenses, the cost is $50,973 for in-state students and $79,857 for out-of-state students. It is among the least expensive of any PA school in the US.
In addition to competitively priced tuition, the university offers a wide range of financial aid options to help you afford your education. Options include grants and scholarships, federal loans, and work-study programs. This will make it easier for you to pursue your degree without taking on an overwhelming amount of debt. Nearly 80 percent of all MSU PA students receive financial assistance during their studies.
10. University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) offers a comprehensive PA program with a strong focus on clinical education. Through rigorous academic and clinical training, students are prepared to become excellent, autonomous healthcare providers.
The PA program at UNMC provides an in-depth academic experience. Its coursework is focused on diagnosing and treating patients, pharmacology, pathology, physiology, and medical ethics. In addition to completing multiple clinical rotations during the second year of the program, students will have ample opportunity to gain experience in areas such as:
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Emergency Medicine
- Mental Health Care
The academic requirements for admission into UNMC’s PA program are quite extensive. Prospective students must have completed an accredited baccalaureate degree before being considered for admission. Applicants must also have earned at least 500 hours of healthcare experience before enrollment. In addition to these minimum qualifications, applicants must submit scores from the GRE or MCAT exams as part of their application packet.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) offers one of the most affordable and comprehensive PA programs in the United States. The cost of tuition at UNMC varies depending on a student’s residency status. For in-state students, the program’s entire cost in 2023 approximates $55,545. Out-of-state students pay a total cost of approximately $87,135.
In addition to these standard tuition rates, this school offers various financial aid options for qualifying students. These include the following:
• Need-based Grants Such as Pell Grants
- Federal Work-Study Programs
- Merit-based Scholarships
- Private Loans
- Parent Plus Loans
- Veterans’ Benefits
- Perkins Loans
- State-sponsored Scholarships
• Employer Reimbursement Plans
All accepted students are encouraged to explore their financial aid options. So, they should schedule counseling sessions with the university’s financial aid office.
Table of Cheapest PA Schools in the US
The table below expresses a simplified illustration of the cheap PA schools in the US with their cost of tuition:
|School Name Tuition||Residents||Non-Residents|
|Wichita State University||$28,642||$70,343|
|Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center||$33,125||$84,125|
|CUNY York College||$36,655||$74,385|
|University of Wisconsin||$39,565||$80,415|
|University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center||$39,648||$85,344|
|Indiana State University||$40,734||$80,073|
|University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences||$46,669||$73,500|
|University of Texas Rio Grande Valley||$47,925||$83,269|
|Missouri State University||$48,767||$77,651|
|University of Nebraska Medical Center||$55,545||$87,135|
The Benefits of Attending a Low-Cost PA School
When comparing different physician assistant schools, tuition fees are likely to play an important role in your decision-making process. Low-cost PA schools offer numerous advantages, which include:
- Lower Tuition Costs: Low-cost PA schools often have tuition costs that are substantially lower than other programs. This allows students to get the same quality education without paying as much as they would at more expensive institutions.
- Reduced Debt Burden: Students can reduce their debt upon graduation by attending a low-cost program. Lower tuition means less money borrowed and lower monthly payments after graduation. This is especially beneficial for those who may not have access to additional financial resources or scholarships when paying for college.
- More Financial Aid Opportunities: The cheapest PA colleges and universities typically have more financial aid opportunities available due to their lower cost of attendance. This allows students to take advantage of various grants and scholarships typically offered at cheaper institutions. It can also make it easier for those with limited financial resources to attend school and complete their degree on time.
- Same Quality Education as Higher Cost Programs: One of the biggest misconceptions about low-cost PA schools is that they provide an inferior education compared to more expensive programs. However, this isn’t necessarily true; many low-cost colleges offer just as good (or better) education as their higher-cost counterparts. Some of the best physician assistant programs in the country are considered ‘low cost’ due to their reasonable tuition rate and generous financial aid packages for incoming students.
- Accessible Location: Many low-cost schools are located in areas with convenient transportation options or proximity to local airports and major cities–this makes them easily accessible no matter where you live or what kind of transportation you have access to. This can benefit out-of-state students who may want/need to travel home during breaks or holidays from school.
- Improved Student Support Services: Often, low-cost programs come with improved student support services such as counseling, career services, tutoring, library access, and other campus amenities. These services can help make college life easier by providing students with the necessary resources to succeed academically, socially, and professionally.
- Flexible Scheduling: Depending on your lifestyle, attending a cheaper school could mean having more flexibility when scheduling classes around work or other commitments. Many cheaper colleges offer hybrid courses (online plus face-to-face). This allows students greater freedom when balancing personal obligations with academic requirements.
Despite its lower prices, attending a low-cost program doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or receiving inferior instruction. Rather, these programs provide just as good an educational experience while providing added financial safety nets through scholarships, grants, flexible schedules, and increased support services. This allows PAs to pursue their dreams without breaking the bank.
How to Apply to a Low-Cost PA School in 2023
Applying to cheap PA schools can seem daunting, but it can be done with some research and careful planning. To make the process easier, here is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Choose the Right PA Program
Start by researching how many PA schools in the US offer the lowest tuition cost in the United States. Compare different schools and programs to see which one is best for you. Consider their accreditation, curriculum, faculty-student ratio, location, graduation rates, and other factors that could affect your learning experience.
Step 2: Gather Required Documents
Once you have chosen the right program, start gathering all the required documents for your application process. This can include transcripts from previous educational institutions or letters of recommendation from professors or employers. You may also compose a resume outlining relevant experience and certifications related to healthcare. Furthermore, you can practice common interview questions that are likely to be asked at the PA school.
Step 3: Take the GRE & Other Tests
Depending on the program you decide to apply to, some schools may require applicants to pass certain tests, such as the GRE or MCAT, before being accepted into a low-cost PA school. It’s important to consider whether or not these tests are necessary for admission before starting your application process to save time and money.
Step 4: Prepare Your Application Package Carefully
When preparing your application package for submission, ensure it is accurate and free of errors or typos. This can significantly decrease your chances of being accepted into a low-cost PA school. Pay attention to detail when submitting documents such as resumes or essays while following instructions carefully.
Step 5: Submit Your Application & Check for Updates Regularly
Once your documents are ready, it’s time to submit them. This may be done electronically or via mail, depending on what is indicated by the specific program guidelines. After submitting all required documents, keep track of upcoming deadlines while monitoring any updates regarding acceptance decisions.
Attending a PA school doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. With this guide, you can now find the cheapest PA schools available in the US and confidently explore the benefits of attending a low-cost school. Applying to these schools is easy — ensure you research thoroughly and approach every application process with dedication and meticulousness. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, it’s time to take your career aspirations into your own hands. Start planning your next move toward becoming a successful Physician Assistant.
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