If a MedSend grant may be in your future, your relationship with MedSend may begin long before the formal application process. As you consider God’s call to medical missionary service, you may have questions about finances, healthcare training and missionary service. We welcome this type of inquiry and encourage you to use resources on our website to learn how to minimize borrowing and practice principles of financial stewardship. You may also want to explore our list of Associates and link over to their websites as you try to discern where and how God has called you to serve. Here is a list of FAQs that may also be helpful:

MEDSEND BASICS
What Does MedSend Do? Why?
Do I have to serve under the authority of a MedSend Associate to be eligible for a grant?
Are MedSend grants available to healthcare professionals other than doctors?
What criteria does MedSend use to review grant applications?
Are MedSend grants available to medical missionaries serving in the U.S.?
How long is a MedSend grant term?
Do you offer grants for short-term missionaries?
Do you offer scholarships?
What does MedSend believe? 

GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS

What degrees or experience do I need to apply for a MedSend grant?
When should I apply for a MedSend student loan repayment grant?
How do I begin the application process for a MedSend student loan repayment grant?
How often does MedSend consider grant applications?
How do I find the right sending agency or mission board for me?
If I am married, how is this addressed during the application process?
Can I apply for a grant if I received my healthcare training outside the U.S.?
How hard is it to receive loan repayment help through MedSend?
As a grant applicant, can you provide me with guidelines to follow with regard to my personal financial support of other missionaries and ministries?
Although I have not completed my professional healthcare training, I feel that I am ready to go to the mission field now. Can I apply for a grant?
If my sending agency requires a period of language and cultural training, will MedSend cover my loans during that time?
Will a MedSend grant cover loans taken in my parents’ names?
When does MedSend begin to make student loan payments on my behalf?
Is there a limit to how much educational debt a MedSend grant will cover?
Are there government programs that provide alternatives to MedSend grants? 

LIFESTYLE AND FINANCIAL ISSUES

How do I know if I am called to a healthcare missions career?
How do I choose which school to attend for my training as a healthcare professional?
What do you mean by the expression “living a missionary lifestyle?”
Does the Bible prohibit borrowing for my education?
How much should I borrow?
What resources do you suggest so I can be more knowledgeable about my financial affairs?
How do I go about choosing a student loan?
Should I consolidate my student loans?
What about loan deferments or grace periods?
What is the secret to minimal borrowing?


What Does MedSend Do? Why?
One of MedSend’s primary activities is to offer student loan repayment grants to healthcare professionals who are headed for career healthcare missions service. Healthcare education in the U.S. is expensive and many students finance it by borrowing heavily. This creates a problem for many prospective healthcare missionaries who must work to pay off their educational loans before going to the mission field. In doing this, they are delayed in responding to God’s call, and many put down roots in the U.S. and do not make it to the field at all. MedSend solves this problem by awarding grants that make the monthly educational loan payments for healthcare missionaries while they serve, thus allowing them to answer God’s call and get to the mission field more quickly. (Return to question list.)

Do I have to serve under the authority of a MedSend Associate to be eligible for a grant?
Yes. To be eligible for a MedSend grant, you must be a healthcare professional who has completed your training and you must be headed for career, full-time healthcare missions service under the authority of a sending agency or mission board that collaborates with us – what we call a MedSend “Associate.” MedSend Associates provide screening, training, assignment, oversight and accountability for MedSend grant recipients. See Associate list. (Return to question list.)

Are MedSend grants available to healthcare professionals other than doctors?
Yes, healthcare professionals who are automatically eligible to apply for MedSend grants are: physicians (MD and DO), dentists, nurses with BSN degrees and two years of clinical experience, veterinarians and physician assistants. Other healthcare professionals are considered on a case-by-case basis, depending largely on the need on the mission field as expressed by the Associate. We have approved grants for pharmacists, mental health professionals, optometrists, physical therapists, public health professionals (MPH), and others. We do not currently accept applications from chiropractors.  (Return to question list.)

What criteria does MedSend use to review grant applications?
Criteria our board looks for when reviewing applications include, but are not limited to:

• Show evidence that you have a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and experience in communicating this relationship to others.

• Be called to use your healthcare training to spread the gospel.

• Be under the authority of a Christian missions sending agency that is a MedSend Associate OR be in the process of applying to a MedSend Associate. See Associate list.

• Be within 24 months of leaving for a career of full-time healthcare mission service.

• Show that you have made an effort to manage your personal finances, including debt, in a way that reflects Christian maturity.

• Be in the process of paying off your student loans as soon as earning begins, such as during internship, residency or practice.

• You are committing at least 50% of your time and a minimum of 20 hours per week to the practice of preventive and/or curative healthcare, which may include providing community and public health or health education.

• Your service will be among and for the underserved and poor and may include training Christian nationals to serve the poor through healthcare evangelism.

• You have had experience working among the underserved and poor.

• You are active in a local church.

•Show evidence that you have a personal and growing relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and experience in communicating this relationship to others.

• Be called to use your healthcare training to spread the gospel.

• Be under the authority of a Christian missions sending agency that is a MedSend Associate OR be in the process of applying to a MedSend Associate. See Associate list.

• Be within 24 months of leaving for a career of full-time healthcare   (Return to question list.)

Are MedSend grants available to medical missionaries serving in the U.S.?
Yes. For purposes of domestic missionaries, Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF) acts as the Associate providing screening and accountability for missionary candidates and the clinics at which they serve. To contact CCHF and view the list of clinics that partner with CCHF, please visit their website at www.cchf.org.     (Return to question list.)

How long is a MedSend grant term?
Our standard grant terms are four years, but our board is willing to consider grants to those who have committed to terms as short as two years, if they are seriously considering a call to career healthcare missionary service. Grant renewal is generally  aformality as long as there is no significant change in a person’s medical assignment or financial status. (Return to question list.)

Do you offer grants for short-term missionaries?
MedSend’s ministry is narrowly focused on the issue of education-related debt as it impacts the availability of career medical missionaries. Although we do not offer support for short-term missionaries, many short-term missionaries receive support from their church, friends, family, and others who believe in their ministry.  (Return to question list.)

Do you offer scholarships?
No, MedSend offers student loan repayment grants – not scholarships – to healthcare professionals who have completed their training and are headed for career, full-time healthcare missions service under the authority of a mission board that collaborates with us, a MedSend “Associate.” If you receive a MedSend grant, we will make your monthly educational loan payments while you serve. Christian Medical & Dental Associations (www.cmdahome.org) has a scholarship program for medical missionaries. We are not aware of any other private scholarships or resources that are available to cover the cost of healthcare training for prospective healthcare missionaries. (Return to question list.)

What does MedSend believe?
At MedSend, we believe:

In one all-powerful God who exists eternally in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and who is the creator, ruler and sustainer of everything that exists.

In Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin as the only being who is both fully God and fully human. He led a sinless life, but willingly took on Himself all our sins and our due punishment through His sacrificial death on the cross. He rose bodily from death and ascended into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father as our mediator and advocate while we look forward to His return someday to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who is co-equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their sins and their need for Jesus. He empowers those who follow Christ to love and obey God, to understand spiritual truth and to serve Him through work and witnessing.

In the Bible as the Word of God, which was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, it is without error and it is the ultimate and absolute source of truth for Christian beliefs and living.

In salvation, which is God’s free gift to us. It means that by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior – and Jesus Christ only – all people everywhere can be adopted into God’s family and receive eternal life.Salvation is necessary because,although God loves us dearly and created us in His image, we all sin or fall short of God’s standards. But if we ask Jesus to forgive us and accept His offer to pay the penalty for our sins, we are reconciled with God forever. Those who do not accept Jesus’ offer will be judged by God for their sins and eternally separated from Him.

In the church, which is made up of all those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Jesus has called the church to be His witnesses, and through the Holy Spirit, He empowers them to heal the sick, to care for the poor, and to make disciples of all nations; baptizing them and teaching them to observe all things He has commanded. (Return to question list.)

GRANT APPLICATION PROCESS

What degrees or experience do I need to apply for a MedSend grant?
Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree, plus whatever additional academic and professional training, as well as licensing, they need to practice professionally in their respective medical fields.

In addition, MedSend requires that BSN applicants obtain a minimum of two years of clinical experience before serving outside the U.S. This requirement is based on the fact that BSN training may not adequately prepare nurses for the extremely challenging professional demands they are likely to face on the mission field. The additional clinical experience in the US can help nurses prepare to meet these challenges.  (Return to question list.)

When should I apply for a MedSend student loan repayment grant?
We would like to receive your application as soon as you are eligible to apply. You are eligible to apply once you have initiated a relationship with a MedSend Associate and are within 24 months of departure or going on salary as a missionary. (Return to question list.)

How do I begin the application process for a MedSend student loan repayment grant?
If you believe you are eligible to apply for a MedSend grant, you may begin the application process by clicking here.  You will be directed to a website where you can create an account and begin the application process by filling out a Letter of Interest application (LOI).

For more detailed information on how to apply and what to expect during the application process please visit the “How to Apply” section of our website by clicking here(Return to question list.)

How often does MedSend consider grant applications?
Three times a year, the MedSend board reviews completed applications for healthcare professionals headed for career missionary service.  The three application deadlines each year are: January 15, May 1, and September 1.

For more detailed information on how to apply and what to expect during the application process please visit the “How to Apply” section of our website by clicking here. (Return to question list.)

How do I find the right sending agency or mission board for me?
There are numerous excellent denominational and independent sending agencies or mission boards. Bear in mind that in order to qualify for a MedSend student loan repayment grant, your missions service must be under the authority of one of the sending agencies or mission boards that collaborate with us—a MedSend “Associate.” You can see a partial list of our Associates with links to most of their sites here. We encourage you to link over to our Associates’ websites and ask questions about where needs are greatest for missionaries with your particular healthcare specialty. The Lord can use that type of inquiry to help you more clearly discern His call.

Another great resource for aspiring missionaries is MedicalMissions.com. On this site, you can search for sending organizations and mission opportunities that match your healthcare specialty, passion areas and preferred geographic areas. Please note that the search will list all sending organizations that match the information you provide, not just MedSend Associates.  (Return to question list.)

If I am married, how is this addressed during the application process?
Your spouse should complete the spouse section your full application, unless he or she is also applying for a MedSend grant. In that case, your spouse must complete a separate full application.  (Return to question list.)

Can I apply for a grant if I received my healthcare training outside the U.S.?
MedSend’s requirements for grant applicants include the following:

  • You must do at least some of your training in the U.S., such as your residency and you must be licensed in the U.S.
  • In addition, you need to have borrowed from a U.S. lender at a reasonable rate of interest. Unscrupulous lenders have been known to charge extremely high interest rates for loans to U.S. students in foreign schools.
  • In addition, you should carefully evaluate the school’s credentials and make sure it is a reputable institution.
  • You must meet these requirements to apply for a MedSend grant whether you are a U.S. citizen studying overseas or the citizen of a country other than the U.S.  (Return to question list.)

How hard is it to receive loan repayment help through MedSend?
As stated in preceding answers, applicants must fulfill certain requirements to receive grants. With that said, it is good to keep in mind that MedSend’s approach to ministry is to look for ways to say “yes.” To date, no qualified candidate has been turned down for a grant due to a lack of funds. It is important to keep in mind that the grant process has two steps: 1) approval and 2) funding; and grant payments cannot begin until both steps are complete. In most instances, grants are funded soon after approval.  However, when funds are tight, it may take more time to raise the funds needed to start grant payments.  (Return to question list.)

As a grant applicant, can you provide me with guidelines to follow with regard to my personal financial support of other missionaries and ministries?
The MedSend Board of Directors often encounters applicants with sizable debt who give generous financial support to a variety of worthy causes. The  Board realizes that each person or couple will make decisions of finances and giving as they prayerfully consider what God is calling them to do. However, it is the position of the Board that individuals or couples who are called to fulltime ministry and hold debt that will need to be paid to free them to serve, refrain from giving financial support to other ministries or charities apart from their tithe/support of their local church. In addition, if there are extra finances that an individual or couple has in their budget to give to ministry; we recommend that they use these resources to reduce their educational debt. (Return to question list.)

Although I have not completed my professional healthcare training, I feel that I am ready to go to the mission field now. Can I apply for a grant?
To apply for a MedSend grant, you must have completed your professional healthcare training and licensing requirements, or you must be in the process of completing these requirements within one year of application. In addition, BSN applicants must obtain a minimum of two years of clinical experience before serving outside the U.S.

Please note that your professional healthcare training and licensing must be completed before MedSend will begin making your grant payments.  (Return to question list.)

If my sending agency requires a period of language and cultural training, will MedSend cover my loans during that time?
We will begin making your loan payments when you go on salary with your MedSend Associate sending agency and this may include a period of language and cultural training if required by your Associate. We understand that many long-term career missionaries need this type of specialized training to minister effectively.  (Return to question list.)

Will a MedSend grant cover loans taken in my parents’ names?
If you finance your education with loans taken in your parents’ names, we cannot make payments on those loans as part of a MedSend grant. If, however, you have taken a loan from your parents to cover educational expenses and if it is an official loan with a properly executed promissory note and at a reasonable rate of interest, we might be able to make those payments as part of a MedSend grant.  (Return to question list.)

When does MedSend begin to make student loan payments on my behalf?
Once MedSend approves your grant application, we begin to raise the money to “fund” your grant. MedSend computes the amount necessary to make your monthly payment for the first term. When that amount is raised, your grant is considered “funded.” MedSend will take over payment of your student loans as soon as your grant is funded and you go on salary with your mission board (generally one month prior to departure for the mission field). Grants are easily renewable for successive terms, assuming there are no significant changes in assignment or financial status. MedSend will make your monthly payments as long as you serve. It is important to note that you retain legal responsibility for your loans. We desire to completely pay off your student loans while you commit your healthcare career to serving the underserved in Christ’s name. If you return from the mission field during your grant term for health or other reasons, you are required to notify the MedSend office. Each situation is reviewed independently. If it is determined that you are no longer eligible for a grant, your grant will be terminated and you will reassume responsibility for making your student loan payments.  (Return to question list.)

Is there a limit to how much educational debt a MedSend grant will cover?
While there is not a limit per se, our board does look for evidence of mature fiscal stewardship when reviewing an application. MedSend will only assume responsibility for educational debt related to healthcare training. Consumer-related debt is not covered by a MedSend grant.  (Return to question list.)

Are there government programs that provide alternatives to MedSend grants?
For some healthcare missionaries, the U.S. Department of Education’s student loan repayment plan called “Income-Based Repayment” (IBR) may provide a viable alternative to a MedSend grant. Under this plan, your payment amount is based on your income level, not the amount of the loan. If you plan to serve internationally, you may find that under IBR, your monthly educational loan payments would be extremely low or even $0. If you are planning to serve in the U.S., your monthly payments also may be significantly reduced. If you sign up for IBR and you still have a monthly educational loan payment, MedSend will consider awarding you a grant to cover that payment. If you repay under IBR for 25 years and meet certain other requirements, any remaining loan balance will be cancelled. Additionally, those working for non-profit organizations (including healthcare missionaries) may qualify to have their loans forgiven after 120 payments.

Check the following sites for more information:

Click HERE for information on IBR. If your student loan debt is high relative to your income, you may qualify for the Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR). Most major types of federal student loans—except for PLUS loans for parents and Consolidation Loans that repaid PLUS loans for parents—are eligible for IBR.

Click HERE for information on Loan Forgiveness. If you work full-time in a public service job, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Click HERE for information if you are serving in the U.S.  HRSA health professions loan repayment, scholarship and loan programs help to encourage and enable clinicians to work in underserved areas.  (Return to question list.)

LIFESTYLE AND FINANCIAL ISSUES

How do I know if I am called to a healthcare missions career?
One experience leads to another if you walk before God in such a way as to hear His stirring of your spirit. Circumstances, the counsel of other Christians, and God’s Word will either affirm your call or deflect you to some other means of using your profession in the service of Christ. If you are called to healthcare missions service, plan to prepare yourself to serve in a place of great physical and/or spiritual need as quickly as possible.  (Return to question list.)

How do I choose which school to attend for my training as a healthcare professional?
You can get an excellent education in any licensed, reputable program. It is what you put into it that counts. A conscientious student at a state school will make as good a healthcare practitioner as someone who attends a more prestigious institution. In order to minimize educational borrowing, it often makes sense to attend the least expensive U.S. school you can, which is usually your state university.  (Return to question list.)

What do you mean by the expression “living a missionary lifestyle?”
Here’s what we mean by “missionary lifestyle”:

  1. Missionaries buy what they need, not what they “want.” They “want what they have.” Missionaries can’t afford everything they want, but they can afford what they need.
  2. Missionaries “use things up, wear things out, make things do, or do without.”
  3. Missionaries have a conserver mentality rather than a consumer mentality.
  4. Missionaries don’t “shop.” They buy with a list of needs and don’t buy anything by impulse. Shopping leads to buying things you don’t really need.
  5. Missionaries always maintain the spiritual discipline of giving to God, but not with borrowed money. Sometimes they can only give by self-denial.  (Return to question list.)

Does the Bible prohibit borrowing for my education?
At MedSend, we think the Bible warns against needless borrowing, but does not prohibit borrowing for the right purposes. Some people believe that borrowing for education is not biblical. If that is your situation, then we would not argue for you to borrow. For any Christian, and especially for those considering career missions as healthcare professionals, remaining as debt-free as possible is the ideal. (Return to question list.)

How much should I borrow?
One must borrow with great care. This implies that you borrow only for needs and this will require a simple lifestyle – especially when compared with your peers. Borrow with a budget in hand. Do not simply accept the amount the financial aid office tells you that you should borrow. Typically, a person with a restrained lifestyle can live on thousands less than the lenders recommend borrowing. If there are six or seven thousand extra dollars available, you can be sure it will be spent and you may hardly realize where it went! The less you borrow, the easier it will be for you to enter full-time Christian service and live a victorious Christian life. You will be able to focus on doing what God has designed you to do instead of finances.  (Return to question list.)

What resources do you suggest so I can be more knowledgeable about my financial affairs?
See the Equip section of this website.  (Return to question list.)

How do I go about choosing a student loan?
Shop around and compare. To minimize total indebtedness, look for the lowest possible interest rates. If it is possible, avoid unsubsidized loans and loans that charge points. Beware of graduated payment plans  where initial payments consist of a portion of current interest due only.  Unpaid interest is added to the principal amount and interest is charged on interest in an ongoing “snowball” effect. Such loan repayment plans can result in a student loan with a longer life expectancy than the student!  (Return to question list.)

Should I consolidate my student loans?
Variable rates are just that – variable. They go up or down each year based on the Treasury-bill rate. The variable rates on most student loans are reset every July to match the 91-day Treasury-bill rate set in the last auction in May, plus a factor.

When you consolidate, you combine all your student loans into one fixed rate loan and “lock in” the new interest rate. Your new, fixed interest rate will be the weighted average of your underlying loans rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.

Consolidation makes sense when your new loan results in lower monthly payments over the same repayment term. Previously consolidated loans are generally not eligible. If you consolidate, be sure there is no penalty for pre-payment. Also, be sure you are on a level repayment plan where each payment includes both interest and principal. The money that is saved as a result of the new monthly payment amount should be used to reduce principal.

Consolidation does not make sense in some situations such as when you have only a few years remaining on your loans because the new loan would cost more in interest over time. Also, be sure to determine whether consolidation would void any benefits or privileges you now have, such as cancellation, deferment or any life/disability insurance.  (Return to question list.)

What about loan deferments or grace periods?
Be very careful about loan deferments and grace periods. Before you consider taking advantage of one, be sure it is not designed to take advantage of you! Check to be sure no interest accrues during the deferment. However, if interest does accrue during the time that you are not under obligation to make your payments, this interest will be capitalized (that is, added to principal annually) and interest will be charged on the interest, adding significantly to the cost of your loan. You will have the principle of compound interest working against you.  (Return to question list.)

What is the secret to minimal borrowing?
You must plan for a lifestyle that requires minimal borrowing. If you must borrow, always think about repayment. When you borrow, (1) cultivate the mindset that you will begin to pay back the principal before it is even required—as soon as you earn your first dollar (e.g., during residency); (2) continue to live a “missionary lifestyle”; (3) deal with delayed gratification (NOT: “I owe it to myself to buy this or that because of my sacrifices and hard work to get through medical school”); and (4) learn to give while borrowing (not borrowing to give, but giving up a necessity in order to give to God).

If you practice these disciplines, you will borrow much less than your classmates and you will be freer to answer God’s call on your life. In the process, you will be filled with the joy that serving Him will bring. You will develop habits that insure a lifetime of financial success regardless of how much income you earn during your lifetime.  (Return to question list.)