anyone know about new US regulation requiring MCAT score for US federal loans?

jaketheory

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university of queensland told me a new regulation requires students to submit MCAT scores to receive US federal student loans.

i'm an australian permanent resident and will be applying to aussie med schools. while international applicants have the option of submitting scores for the MCAT or the aussie test (GAMSAT) for admission, local applicants must submit GAMSAT scores.

it appears this new rule means i cant get federal student loans at any aussie med school despite that 3 are approved to distribute them and international applicants submitting MCAT scores to these schools can get them.

WTF? i'm trying to find more info on this regulation. i've googled all kinds of things with no luck. can anyone help me locate info on this?
 

Raigon

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university of queensland told me a new regulation requires students to submit MCAT scores to receive US federal student loans.

i'm an australian permanent resident and will be applying to aussie med schools. while international applicants have the option of submitting scores for the MCAT or the aussie test (GAMSAT) for admission, local applicants must submit GAMSAT scores.

it appears this new rule means i cant get federal student loans at any aussie med school despite that 3 are approved to distribute them and international applicants submitting MCAT scores to these schools can get them.

WTF? i'm trying to find more info on this regulation. i've googled all kinds of things with no luck. can anyone help me locate info on this?
http://www.financialaidforum.com/discussions/graduate-loans/

This is the financial aid forum for US federal loans. Post that question there. Usually an experienced person or staff will answer your question. If not, you can always contact the programs themselves; ie Stafford subsidized/unsubsidized, gradplus, etc. Because I can't find anything on MCAT restrictions either.

*UPDATE: I''ve already contacted the federal loans office. That question also concerns me so I also want an answer. Will post reply when I get one.

~Nick
 
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jaketheory

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i have emailed UQ for further clarification, but i am inpatient. i was actually able to locate documents describing these new regulations. they are not the actual publications by the dept of education but they do include weblinks to the dept. of ed document. unfortunately the links are broken. however, a google search found a broken linked document for which an html was available. this document is the report to congress and it details of recommendations and includes the requirement to take the mcat. however, it also includes a recommendation that med schools have prerequisite subjects similar to that of US med schools, and none of the Aus schools have prereqs. it is here:

http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:l3LOEYhIJbIJ:www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/ncfmea-dir/reporttocongress2009.doc+Ncfmea+mcat&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

are you an US citizen/PR international student that took the GAMSAT? if so, that sucks for you. i'm an aus PR, so if i have to go private loans, i'd only have to take out about half what an international students does given fees for me are less than 9000AUD, i can get social security payments to help cover living expenses, and once i get citizenship i can defer the fees rather than pay them up front.

have asked uq and flinders if i can take both tests. as i am an aus PR, i have to take GAMSAT for admission. but i want loans too!
 

Raigon

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i have emailed UQ for further clarification, but i am inpatient. i was actually able to locate documents describing these new regulations. they are not the actual publications by the dept of education but they do include weblinks to the dept. of ed document. unfortunately the links are broken. however, a google search found a broken linked document for which an html was available. this document is the report to congress and it details of recommendations and includes the requirement to take the mcat. however, it also includes a recommendation that med schools have prerequisite subjects similar to that of US med schools, and none of the Aus schools have prereqs. it is here:

http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:l3LOEYhIJbIJ:www2.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/ncfmea-dir/reporttocongress2009.doc+Ncfmea+mcat&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

are you an US citizen/PR international student that took the GAMSAT? if so, that sucks for you. i'm an aus PR, so if i have to go private loans, i'd only have to take out about half what an international students does given fees for me are less than 9000AUD, i can get social security payments to help cover living expenses, and once i get citizenship i can defer the fees rather than pay them up front.

have asked uq and flinders if i can take both tests. as i am an aus PR, i have to take GAMSAT for admission. but i want loans too!
Still waiting for the response. They say they'll get back to me in 2~3 days. (Which translates to a week or two).

I took the MCAT. But I'm not sure if they have restrictions on taking the MCAT or a SCORE on the MCAT. If it's the latter, then I'm a little worried.

Wait, if you're a local, and you get a CSP or BMP or other scholarship places, then that's much more affordable than us internationals! Why would you need loans? =/
 

jaketheory

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Still waiting for the response. They say they'll get back to me in 2~3 days. (Which translates to a week or two).
what foreign loan office did you contact?

I took the MCAT. But I'm not sure if they have restrictions on taking the MCAT or a SCORE on the MCAT. If it's the latter, then I'm a little worried.
i don't know what you mean by this. its not a restriction on the mcat. its a requirement. do you mean you dont know if they simply require a score or they require a score at a certain level? cuz i was thinking of just sitting it without studying and bombing it just to say i took it. but its another story if they say i have to have a passing score. i dont think they should be able to say i need a passing score when my admission is based on my passing a different yet similar test.

Wait, if you're a local, and you get a CSP or BMP or other scholarship places, then that's much more affordable than us internationals! Why would you need loans? =/
ugh. . . because i am human and thus have basic requirements such as food and shelter. in 18 months i will qualify for Austudy and rent assistance. however, these social security payments will not cover all living expenses even in the cheapest of cities that have a medical school (probably Churchill for grad-entry, Monash Uni Gippsland, and Hobart for 5 year undergrad entry, Uni of Tasmania), and in more expensive cities such as Melbourne or Sydney, these payment wont come close to cover all living expenses. I will also have to pay fees upfront with no discount at least until i become a citizen which will not be for another 3.75 years. i will need books and medical instruments (stethoscope, etc. . .). further, most programs will require a car in the later years to get to clinical sites. finally, i am currently unemployed and only have enough savings to last me another 4 months. obviously i will have to get a job but i am not exactly confident in scoring a job that will earn me enough dough in 2 years to cover living expenses for 6 years plus fees, books, and a car. i also must get private hospital cover by Oct 2010 for which i expect to be paying $60/month min for private health cover.

i estimate i will need at least ~$88,000, not including the cost of a car, to cover all expenses for the duration of a 4 year course if living in Sydney. and i just calculated that in order to have that much in savings i would have to land a job within the next 3 months making $103,000/year before taxes. not gonna happen mate! i will need loans!
 

jaketheory

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i am interested in why you are concerned about this. you seem to be an international applicant. did you take the gamsat for admission instead of the mcat?

you do know only flinders, UQ, and USyd will give US loans for studying medicine right?

the UQ office has told me they are seeking legal advice from Washington regarding my situation and that they will contact me as soon as they have info.

i've also contacted the international loan office at USyd. they told me that having taken the gamsat should make me eligible, but they told me to contact the foreign schools team of the department of education to confirm. i know in the document i found, at one point it says the MCAT or similar test should be required, and the gamsat is obvsiouly similar.

before this new loan regulation my top preferences where those schools that can provide US loans. but if it turns out i cant get them from anywhere, that obviously wont be a priority and i will then be looking at all schools recognized in CA in a new light. this includes the 5 yr undergrad schools. i cant even apply to 4 yr grad entry this year because i havent taken gamsat yet; however, i can still take UMAT and apply to 5yr undergrads schools this year, meaning i would graduate at the same time as had i waited a year and gone to a 4yr school. i've calculated that the cost of living in hobart is so low that i would have to make $34,000 before taxes next year to make completing a 4 year degree in Sydney financially advantagous over a 5 year degree in hobart. i can reasonably expect to earn $34k or more, but probably not a large amount more, meaning it wouldnt cost a lot more for me to go to UTas. UTas has longer vacation breaks and given its an undergrad school, the first year or so would be a breeze, so i could work more too.
 

Raigon

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i am interested in why you are concerned about this. you seem to be an international applicant. did you take the gamsat for admission instead of the mcat?

you do know only flinders, UQ, and USyd will give US loans for studying medicine right?

the UQ office has told me they are seeking legal advice from Washington regarding my situation and that they will contact me as soon as they have info.

i've also contacted the international loan office at USyd. they told me that having taken the gamsat should make me eligible, but they told me to contact the foreign schools team of the department of education to confirm. i know in the document i found, at one point it says the MCAT or similar test should be required, and the gamsat is obvsiouly similar.

before this new loan regulation my top preferences where those schools that can provide US loans. but if it turns out i cant get them from anywhere, that obviously wont be a priority and i will then be looking at all schools recognized in CA in a new light. this includes the 5 yr undergrad schools. i cant even apply to 4 yr grad entry this year because i havent taken gamsat yet; however, i can still take UMAT and apply to 5yr undergrads schools this year, meaning i would graduate at the same time as had i waited a year and gone to a 4yr school. i've calculated that the cost of living in hobart is so low that i would have to make $34,000 before taxes next year to make completing a 4 year degree in Sydney financially advantagous over a 5 year degree in hobart. i can reasonably expect to earn $34k or more, but probably not a large amount more, meaning it wouldnt cost a lot more for me to go to UTas. UTas has longer vacation breaks and given its an undergrad school, the first year or so would be a breeze, so i could work more too.
I contacted the Sallie Mae study abroad option (including foreign medical schools). I haven't received a reply yet, but they help you borrow federal loans combined with low interest private loans. That's the one I'm thinking about using to cover both tuition and living expenses.

No, I took the MCAT instead of the GAMSAT. But I'm worried about whether the restrictions are about taking the MCAT itself or if there's an MCAT score hurdle I have to pass. That's what I'm asking them for. Assuming you are a US citizen (and from your words, you most likely are), there really aren't anymore regulations I know of.

As for why I need student loans, well...I have an interview with Flinders between May 19~31, and if I am lucky enough to get in, it will be around 43k per year (if not more, with the rising tuition rates) and that's considered CHEAP for internationals (compared with UQ 50k and Sydney ~60k). If you have CSP/BMP and need student loans, then I who am paying 4~5 times your load will definitely need it. And so I'm as worried, if not more worried than you. I'm definitely planning to work part time in med school, but I'm not sure how much I can work off; probably only living expenses.
 

jaketheory

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I contacted the Sallie Mae study abroad option (including foreign medical schools). I haven't received a reply yet, but they help you borrow federal loans combined with low interest private loans. That's the one I'm thinking about using to cover both tuition and living expenses.

No, I took the MCAT instead of the GAMSAT. But I'm worried about whether the restrictions are about taking the MCAT itself or if there's an MCAT score hurdle I have to pass. That's what I'm asking them for. Assuming you are a US citizen (and from your words, you most likely are), there really aren't anymore regulations I know of.

As for why I need student loans, well...I have an interview with Flinders between May 19~31, and if I am lucky enough to get in, it will be around 43k per year (if not more, with the rising tuition rates) and that's considered CHEAP for internationals (compared with UQ 50k and Sydney ~60k). If you have CSP/BMP and need student loans, then I who am paying 4~5 times your load will definitely need it. And so I'm as worried, if not more worried than you. I'm definitely planning to work part time in med school, but I'm not sure how much I can work off; probably only living expenses.
dude, you have nothing to worry about. i'd say there is no way they could stipulate a minimum MCAT score to get US loans. US schools dont do that and you can get into some US DO schools with an mcat score of 22. As far as i know all aussie schools require a min 24 just to be considered. further, those that offer US loans will require a decent mcat to get an offer (though i here the earlier one applies to UQ, the more likely they can get in even with a low score with reports of people getting in with scores as low as 24). if you get accepted to any of the Aus schools offering US loans you have nothing to worry about. and you should NOT be looking at private loans. all private loans are high interest compared to US federal loans. stafford loans have relatively low limits for those studying medicine at foreign school; however, Grad Plus loans should cover what ever is left up to the total cost of attendance. the only reason you would get private loans is if you are unwilling to live the student lifestyle while in school which would be pretty stupid.

and given you are unlikely to be able to stay in Aus afterwards unless you are willing to work in the middle of nowhere, i'd suggest you spend your spare time preparing for the USMLE instead of working as you will need to given Aus schools' curriculums wont prepare you much for them. and as i said, you should get enough in loans to support you such that you dont need to work.

my situation is that i question if they will accept an mcat score that wasnt used used in the admissions process. if they do there should be no way than can set a min level of performance, but i am proposing to get a score lower than any school would even accept whereas you are actually looking to get accepted with your schore. i have emailed the foreign schools team of the dept of education ([email protected]) and will post when i recieve a reply.

but i repeat you have nothing to worry about. wish there were others on here in a similar situation as me. . .
 

jaketheory

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Seems an odd requirement.

The 6 year BS-MD programs in the US don't all require MCAT so why would they for those studying elsewhere?
since you mentioned it, the new regulation has seperate criteria for:

(1) postbacalaureate (grad-entry) medical degrees and
(2) integrated first degrees in medicine

however, both require the MCAT. for the integrated degree courses, the MCAT must be taken before year 4.

the only document i was able to find on the web was a report of recommendations to congress of the new eligiblity criteria; i couldnt find the actually document of the instituted regulations. though there were google hits that appeared to be the actual document, they would not download as if it was a bad link. what i found very interesting was that in this recomendation document were requirements that foreign medical schools require traditional US style premed coursework. None of the aussie schools require that!

but what is acceptable at US schools has little bearing on this regulation. all US schools are accredited by the US accreditation body and I'm sure this mess has come about to ensure US tax dollars are only being used to fund loans to students that are likely to succussfully train as Dr's and thus be able to pay back the loans. it all started when the Dept of ED gave loans to students studying at new Caribbean schools (back in the 80's i believe) and the schools went under before they finished. then they had people with massive US loan debt that wouldnt be able to practice as dr's and thus not be able pay off their massive loans.

i'm sure you are aware the loan limits for US med students are higher than those for students at foreign med schools. if attending a US school, one can get stafford loans up $47k/year whereas those studying at foreign schools can get no more than $20.5k in stafford loans. they can both get grad plus loans to cover the balance of the cost of attendance but grad plus loans are credit dependent and have higher interest rates. thus, international students will end up having to pay more for their educations after repayment even if their international education cost the same as a US education.
 

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Makes sense jake.

I was looking at the issue from the standpoint that, in the past, FMGs have successfully sued/lobbied for equivalency - it was one of the reasons why the Step 2 CS exam came about, as it was pointed out that FMGs/IMGs should not have to take additional exams.

So if not all US schools require MCAT, foreign schools should either - but if the requirement is in writing, sounds like a lawsuit would be in order.

The issue of pre-reqs is an interesting one though...
 

jaketheory

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forgot to update.

emailed flinders the same question. not unexpected, tony edwards was the only one to respond same day and with actual useful info. he says i can take mcat to receive us loans even though my admission will be based on gamsat (cuz im a local applicant) even if i bomb the mcat. they just need a score to show i took it. hope this is accurate.
 

Raigon

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forgot to update.

emailed flinders the same question. not unexpected, tony edwards was the only one to respond same day and with actual useful info. he says i can take mcat to receive us loans even though my admission will be based on gamsat (cuz im a local applicant) even if i bomb the mcat. they just need a score to show i took it. hope this is accurate.
Okay - so there's a restriction on the MCAT itself and not a score hurdle.

Still haven't gotten a response from the student loans service. Actually, I'm not sure if they will ever respond. ==