Cost of Attendance vs. Debt

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by saa09, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. saa09

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    When considering what schools to apply to, what do you think is more important to consider in terms of the financial burden: the COA or average debt? (aside from other factors, of course)
     
    #1 saa09, Jun 19, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2008
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    They are not unrelated. You borrow to cover tuition plus living expenses. If tuition is higher your debt will be higher. So I would consider them equally.
    But don't spend too much time on this -- until you have multiple choices, the issue is moot and generally you should go where you think you would be happiest and thrive, because if you do well, you will be able to get on a track that will service your debt.
     
  4. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist
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    Careful when considering the average exiting debt of students though. The average is artificially weighted down by the lucky students who have their parents footing the bill or that get big scholarships. Most people can't count on that, so they will be in more debt than the average for their class.
     
  5. WellWornLad

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    Average class debt is meaningless on an individual level. At best, you can compare COL to average debt to get a rough idea how many of your classmates are rich or going into the armed forces.

    The only thing that matters to you is 1) COL, 2) how much you have in the bank, and 3) how much you expect to get from parents or scholarships.
     
  6. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Average debt in the MSAR is a joke. You'd need to get a scholarship worth big money to even attempt to reach the numbers they are putting in that book. $4 gas affects everything in your living expenses.

    A better idea would be to take a schools first year expenses then add around 6% or so each year after for inflation to get an idea of how much a school will cost (before interest). But like someone else has already said, it doesn't do you much good to worry about this now if you don't have multiple schools to choose from.
     
  7. BTC

    BTC

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    Bumping this thread.

    I'm looking at the "Average indebtedness for 2007 graduates who incurred medical school debt" list on US News and comparing it to the Cost of Attendance numbers. Is the average indebtedness number a joke?

    The school I'm currently planning to attend (private) is significantly more expensive than another school I'm on the waitlist for (a state school). The private school claims they only give need based financial aid and there are no merit scholarships. Yet the graduate debt levels between these two schools is only around $20k different. What gives?

    Do med schools often pull out the pocket book in the later years because the students all have zero equity? Does parents financial situation continue to play a role in these latter years?
     
  8. Gut Shot

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    Average debt is a joke. The only number that matters is how much it's going to cost you.
     
  9. cpants

    cpants Member

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    Average indebtedness is pretty meaningless. A lot of students will have parents pay for everything or will be in the HSPS, and hence have zero debt. This brings the average way down.

    Average indebtedness also means nothing to you, as it has no bearing on the debt you as an individual will incur. What you should do to estimate your own indebtedness at a school is take the COA x 4, subtract grant/scholarship moneys and estimated personal/parental contributions, then add 10-15% for interest on unsubsidized loans and tuition increases.
     
  10. WaterBird

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    I don't know how MSAR calculates it, but in most of the financial aid packets I received at interview days, there was an asterisk next to the figure stating that they excluded people who had zero debt (ie rich parents and HSPS). So it's not quite as biased as people are making it out to be. I guess parental income will still matter in this figure (because of people who have a substantial EFC but still take out loans).

    I agree that average indebtedness is pretty meaningless - unless perhaps it is off the charts one way or the other. And when you actually make this decision, you will be deciding based on your personal COA (and projected debt - not average indebtedness or COA. A school could give a lot of merit aid and have low average debt, but if they don't give you any, this won't matter to you in the end, so it doesn't make much sense to count it now.
     
  11. BTC

    BTC

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    Right and I'm 27. My parents have money but they aren't giving me squat. As other students have parents who draw down their savings to help pay for medical school, they become eligible for more institutional aid. Does the fact that my parents remain rich because they aren't paying for medical school hurt my chances to get institutional aid in the latter years of medical school?
     
  12. searun

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    Yes, you are in the worst position possible as far as obtaining need based financial aid from your med school. This is because the med school will determine your parent's expected contribution based upon their personal resources. If your parents are wealthy, you will not qualify for need based aid from your med school. You will have to borrow what your parents will not provide.

    I have alot of need based grant money from my med school because my parents' financial resources are limited and my school is generous to the poor and downtrodden, such as myself.

    The best scenario is to have rich parents who will pay for your med school education.

    The second best scenario is to be poor and have parents of limited means because you at least have a shot at getting need based grants.

    The worst scenario, is your situation, parents who can write the check but will not do so. Welcome to the wonderful world of massive debt.
     
  13. cpants

    cpants Member

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    At 27 your parents contribution no longer factors in. You don't have to include their finances with your financial aid application. I believe it only counts until you are 23. Some people opt to still include it if their parents are poor, because it may make them eligible for disadvantaged background grants and stuff like that. If your parents have money, just don't give their info. Your school should give you financial aid in the full amount of your COA, and by that I mean you will qualify for loans in that amount.

    You aren't likely to get much in the way of grants. Few people do. If you come from a disadvantaged background or are a minority you have a better chance at some scholarship funding.
     
  14. Podalarius

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    I wish it only counted until you were 23. I'm 24, and my parents' financial information was required everywhere I applied.
     
  15. BTC

    BTC

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    I'm not sure that is right for institutional aid and my financial aid offers seem to show it.
     
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  17. WaterBird

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    Yeah I haven't heard of many schools were this is true. The schools I applied to mostly counted parental info until you are 30, and a few count it no matter what age you are. If you don't include parental info, you won't be considered for school-based aid (if they require it for students of your age). Federal student loans do not require parental info for grad students of any age.

    But, whether your EFC is $40k or $100, everyone is eligible to take out student loans for their entire COA.
     
  18. searun

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    I don't think you are accurate for direct aid from the med school. I am 26 years old and getting $40,000 plus in direct grants per year from my med school for the past two years. So $80,000 plus through second year. The director of financial aid at my private med school told me point blank, no aid from my med school without my parents doing FAFSA and Need Access. Which they did. A good investment. This has nothing to do with federal aid or loans.
     
  19. cpants

    cpants Member

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    Right, because your parental income, or lack thereof rather, made you eligible. If your parental income is low enough, it can make you eligible for additional need based aid (grants) from your school and from the feds. If your parents are well off, but they aren't giving you any money for med school, it really doesn't make a difference if you submit it or not. I guess my last post wan't very clear. I didn't really mean it to apply broadly, just to the poster to whom I was responding, but rereading that post it didn't even really answer his post well.
     
    #17 cpants, May 6, 2009
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  20. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    Being a professional student (graduate) makes you independent for FAFSA purposes and therefore you aren't required to submit parental information. It can only help you. Your personal EFC is all that matters in terms of getting stafford loans. If your CoA-EFC is more than $8500 then you will get the full $8500 in subsidized stafford loans. If it is 0 or lower, then you will get the full stafford amount in unsub rather than unsub and sub.

    As for need-based aid like Perkins subsidized 5% loans (usually limited to 5000 a year) or institutional grants/scholarships, it requires parental information. If your personal EFC is about 0, then your parental AGI should be less than 100,000 to be eligible for any kind of need based aid assuming their assets are 0 (though it is highly school dependent and many have tier systems). If their income is high, your personal EFC is high, and you don't want to bother getting parental information, then don't bother unless your school absolutely requires it for any aid at all. Personally, I wasn't eligible for need-based aid my first year, but I was for year 2, 3, and I'm assuming 4. In the grand scheme of things at Wayne at least, need-based grants max out at about 10k per year so even the students with a parental+personal EFC of 0 are only about 40k in better shape than you. While there are other need-based scholarships, very few people actually get them. Also, if someone is coming from a background where their parents are absolutely broke and are out of a job in this economy they deserve more aid than someone coming out of college with parents who (at least for the first 18 years of life) were able to be financially supportive.
     
  21. cpants

    cpants Member

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    See, this I disagree with. Why is any adult more deserving of aid because of parental job status? If one person's parents can't afford to support his med school, and another's choose not to, what is the difference? Why should a disadvantaged background entitle you to less debt after med school? A more equitable system would be to factor in previous debt load, so if you are coming in with a ton of undergrad debt, they try to minimize additional debt as much as possible. Or it should be largely merit based.
     
  22. Gut Shot

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    I went to a relatively inexpensive state school for undergrad, why should I subsidize the debt load of someone who went to an expensive private institution?
     
  23. cpants

    cpants Member

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    I guess that's a good point. But why should I subsidize someone's education just because my parents have money, when they aren't giving me any?

    Maybe the most sense is just to take the school's grant money, divide by the number of students, and give each student that amount in grant money. I guess that will never happen because it is not politically correct.
     
  24. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    Very few people get need-based aid. It isn't even something to get all bent out of shape about. Dividing the limited funds among everyone would defeat the whole purpose. They can't reduce tuition equally because the funds are different and then they can't claim how much financial aid they give to students.
     

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