Saturday, June 6, 2009

Financial Aid Post-Bacc

Questions have arisen elsewhere about how to finance the pre-reqs for med school if one already has a degree.

I can only say what has worked for me in the past, as currently, I'm paying out of pocket for my educational expenses.

First, check to see how much you borrowed, if any, as an undergraduate. Check to see the total amount owing. This amount will be used against the total amount allowed under federal guidelines. The difference is what you are eligible from a financial perspective only. This amount is NOT what WILL be paid, only what you are eligible to receive.

Second, check the guidelines. Subtract what you owe from the guidelines. Currently, that amount listed by

is $57,500. Therefore, if you currently owe $20,000 the top amount you could conceivably obtain in student loans to pursue the pre-reqs post undergraduate completion, is $37,500.

Third, you MUST be either a student completing pre-reqs for a professional degree (which some schools will say is not true for medical school) OR a degree seeking student outside your original degree/college.

For instance, an English major with a B.A. degree cannot get funding to the College of Liberal Arts to complete a second degree as a CLA degree seeking student again. However, if that same student becomes a degree seeking biology major within the College of Biological Science, the eligibility is kept intact.

Fourth, fill out the FAFSA form found here

For ALL federal financial aid this is a requirement. Submit the code numbers of the schools you are taking courses at.

Fifth, contact the school's financial aid office and let them know you've completed all the above steps and ask for any other types of funding available i.e. scholarships for disabilities, minorities, under-represented populations, athletes, social clubs, philanthropic organizations, etc. Many of those do not care if there is a former degree, only that there is an affiliation and/or a solid GPA.

Sixth, and this is critical: if med school is going to cost between $150,000 and $230,000 take a deep breath and think about how much it might be worth to NOT accrue any more debt before medical school. Can you pay the tuition required by downsizing your wants vs. needs and use that money for school? Can you stop going out on weekends and save the money? How about not buying more clothes until your medical school acceptance letter arrives and saving that money?

Last, take a deep breath and don't give up. There are numerous ways to fund classes required before med school applications.

Good luck!!


Sam said...

You're dead on about student borrowing. Unfortunately, for many students (especially where I went to undergrad), they have trouble forgoing today in lieu of tomorrow. Every dollar borrow today costs two dollars tomorrow.

It's great to see the federal government has instituted total loan limits for student loan funding. In addition, I would like to see the over site go one step further by further constricting loan funding based on a certain percentage of total tuition. That way those attending more affordable schools do not get sucked into over borrowing.

I graduated just a couple years ago and I can remember just how scrupulous the private student loan companies were.

The first year I took out a private student loan, I over estimated my loan amount needed on the application. Months later, after no contact from the student loan company; I received two checks from my school which came close to $10,000. I thought somebody had made a mistake.

At the time of application, I didn't know what my exact financial aid package was going to look like, so I applied for more money than I would need. I did this assuming the difference between the amounts I was eligible for and the amount disbursed to the school would just remain unused.

Without any contact past a phone application and signature page that was months prior, they sent a 19 year old kid $10,000. There is definitely something wrong with that picture.

A Doc 2 Be said...

How are you? :)

Student loans can quickly put an unknowing borrower in the red for a very long time. These same student loans, however long one does not repay them, cannot be bankrupted out of.

It really pays for every student to be overly conscious of their loans, rates, spending and borrowing habits.