Financial Aid and Parents Income?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Benzeno, Jun 11, 2001.

  1. Benzeno

    Benzeno Member

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    I received from my school a demand for a copy of my parents' Federal Income Tax return. (I declared independent status on my FAFSA form and have been on my own since I was 18) I am over 40 years old and they are retired in Arizona. I will not ask them for this invasion of privacy and see this as a completely unreasonable request. Without it the office will deny me any institutional aid.

    Do I have any recourse?
     
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  3. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator

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    Ben, are you going for a professional degree? If so, they shouldn't be asking you for parent's income tax....
     
  4. Benzeno

    Benzeno Member

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    Yea, it's medical school. And to quote from the letter,

    "Although most of our matriculating medical students are considered "independent" from their parents for a number of years, the Institutional Methodology does not exempt students who are considered independent"
     
  5. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator

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    Thanks.... That's strange, b/c I didn't get any notice of the sort....
     
  6. pcl

    pcl Senior Member

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    I think it depends on the school. There seems to be a wide discrepancy in how the institutional aid is granted. Perhaps you can meet with the director of financial aid and discuss this matter with him/her?
     
  7. 12R34Y

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    I don't understand why parent's income comes into financial aid at all! If you have been indepedent for years and they are not contributing to your education then why are you required to provide information? Who made up this rule and how do they justify it? i would love to know if anyone has any insight into this obviously wrong way to do things.

    later
     
  8. VAD

    VAD Member

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    Most of the schools I applied to only required parental information if I wanted to be considered for institutional aid in the form of grants and scholarships that didn't have to be paid back. If you just provide your own information, you may only be elegible for stafford and alternative loans to meet the cost for medical education.
     
  9. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member

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    The sad fact is that most medical schools assume that all medical students are 22-years-old and fully supported by their parents. Here are a couple of schools' stated policies on institutional financial aid:
    From Dartmouth Med's financial aid web site:
    "DMS, like most U.S. medical schools, requires parental income statements from all applicants. This requirement cannot be waived even though a student is independent of his or her family." http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dms/dms_admiss/admiss_cost.html
    Rochester Med:
    Institutional Policies Regarding Parental Support
    "It is the policy of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to expect parents, to the extent of demonstrated ability, to contribute to the medical education of their children. For the purpose of establishing eligibility for University assistance, no medical student is considered to be financially independent of his/her family regardless of age, marital status, other graduate degrees, or the fact that he/she may have been self-supporting for a number of years. Parental income information must be submitted via Need Access as part of the application procedure for any student who seeks School or School-administered funds." http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/smd/finaid/MDhandbook/Handbook2000.html#18
    A handful of medical schools will allow you to declare yourself fully independent if you provide enough proof. Stanford is one school that recently made this change "Students age 30 as of the first day of the academic year; parental data will no longer be required in determining SU grant eligibility." http://www.med.stanford.edu/osa/financialaid/
    I think Duke is another one of the few schools that considers requests for independence on a case-by-case basis.
    Other than that, you're stuck with taking out extra loans if you can't provide your parents' data. I had the same problem- I got accepted to a highly ranked private school that offered decent financial aid, but invariably required parental data to qualify for grants. I'm 30 year old, married and have been fully self-supporting for over a decade. It was extremely awkward asking my parents for their financial information and I eventually gave up entirely. Rather than take out extra loans to cover the cost of the private school, I chose to attend an inexpensive, unranked state school.
     
  10. joojoobeware

    joojoobeware Member

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    I'm pretty sure you can hold off on that submission, you just have to write a statement why you aren't going to provide that info.
     
  11. TheAce

    TheAce Attending

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    It isn't about who is or isn't receiving money from their parents, as there is no way to be certain who is or isn't getting parental contributions. The fairest way to determine institutional aid (low-interest loans and school grants) is to determine parents that do not have the capacity to contribute to their childs education. Therefore these students would get most of the aid.

    Hell, I consider this unfair because if I got a grant or low-interest loan, my parents would have to contribute less to my education. But the fact is, my parents are more able to contibute money to my education than most parents, therefore I'm ineligible for institutional aid.
     
  12. kd

    kd Senior Member

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    This may, in fact, be a fair way of assessing financial need for younger traditional students. However, it is most certainly NOT fair to older students or those who are married or even to those younger students who ARE fully self-supporting. Do you really believe a FORTY-YEAR-OLD should have to hit their parents up for money? What about someone who's married or has kids of their own? I don't care if the parents are millionaires- virtually no one that age ever depends on their folks for money.
    I think if a student can present a preponderance of evidence that he/she is truly independent, medical schools should recognize that and award financial aid accordingly.
     
  13. TheAce

    TheAce Attending

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    KD: I agree with you to some extent, however, who's to say that your parents aren't giving you their money before they pass on to reduce the "death" tax? or that they aren't excessively wealthy and able to supplement you to the tune of tens of thousands or dollars per year regardless of age or marital status.

    One of my friend's parents (and thus him) are multimillionaires - as in tens of millions. Even so, if he were in medical school, I'm sure that he'd like to have his education supplemented by grants from the school. Regardless his parents will always give him tens of thousands of dollars per year, even though he makes a good salary from working. This money would never show up as income on his taxes, thus the schools would never know of it. Therefore, the only way to distribute institutional money is to give it to those that they know will almost surely never recive parental help - simply because their parents don't have the means.
     
  14. Benzeno

    Benzeno Member

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    My point is not whether or not my parents have money (they don't) but whether or not the university has the right to ask for the financial records of someone who has no financial obligation to the student. It's true that the trust funders of the world benefit on the side from their parent's wealth, but there must be a provision for the truly independent. I consider my tax return to be confidential and would not share it with the school if it didn't mean the difference between getting the loans to attend or not. I don't expect my parent's to have to disclose because I'm trying to improve myself. I have a mortgage to pay, and two children to raise and need every bit of aid I can get. The prospect of 4 years without an income is very intimidating. Sometimes I get the feeling that these aid offices don't have the best interests of the student at heart.
     
  15. Cassidy61

    Cassidy61 Senior Member

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    this is an issue that has infuriated me for years about my med school. it appears that there is no recourse. sad isn't it?? while they can see my 'point of view', they say that there is no way to get around it. this is complete bull! at least at our school you only have to submit this info if you want grants or school assistance. if you do not turn in this info, they have no right to refuse you the sub stafford (if you show need) and unsub stafford (regardless).
     
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  17. 12R34Y

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    space monkey,

    How is this fair? Because you know of several 40 y/o people who have help from their parents that does not mean that I (25 y/o) and have been completely independent of my parents for 5 years get money from my parents!!!!! those 40 y/o should say that they get help from their parents and provide the school with their parental info, but if you are completely freakin' independent and absolutely will NOT be receiving any help at all from your NOT wealthy parents then you should not have to provide information about your parents. My parents could be trillionaires, but if they aren't going to help with medical school costs then why in the hell do med schools care!? sorry for the run on sentences.
    this topic absolutely enrages me because i barely scrape by on three jobs, yet when I apply for financial aid and provide my parents data COMBINED with mine it looks like I'm loaded! Not the case! i'm very poor. I hate this rule. It's very impractical and very unfair. JMHO
     
  18. groundhog

    groundhog 1K Member

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    12R34Y,
    The fact that your parents choose not to help you does not matter. The financial aid programs for health care students which require parental financial data were purposely constructed to only help students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

    There is no way for the administrators of such programs to know the motives of families. Some parents might believe each person should make their own way in life and therfore plan to leave no material assets to their children. Others might simply choose to take advanatage of funds provided by third parties in order to maximize the passing of material assets on to their heirs.
     
  19. 12R34Y

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    space monkey,

    Please don't assume that my parents are in any way rich. They are very very very much blue collar workers and do not make much money at all. all i am saying is that if you combine 3 people's incomes (mine, mom and dad) you get figures that make it look like you are rich. even though you are not even close. say a person makes 20,000 a year. mom makes 20,000 and dad makes 20,000. individually that is a pretty low income, but combined it is 60,000 dollars which is a decent amount of money. Of course my parents would try and help me if it was an emergency, but it would have to be a true emergency because my parents do not have money laying around to just give me. they are like many other families. They live paycheck to paycheck many times and i think it is absolutely senseless for me to have to include my parents income since they will not be in any way shape or form able to contribute to my medical education costs.
     
  20. r124c41

    r124c41 Member

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    This is an example of the nuclear family run amuck. Isn't it odd that you think strangers [the school, the govt, school donors] should have a greater financial obligation to you than your own parents? Should I surmise that you don't feel any financial obligation to your parents - since their finances are their own private business and not part of your business? [Which feeling I strongly don't share!]
     
  21. Dreamer

    Dreamer Senior Member

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    I am not sure am I correct or not but school can ask you about parental tax return and any such stuff only if you are less than 25(?) years old.
    I have one question though, if somebody's parents are diceased should s/he send death certificate or/and thombstone picture also? kust to prove it to school.
     
  22. electra

    electra SDN Moderator

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    ok.

    here is your FAA talking.

    If you are an UG student, under 24, unmarried, not a veteran, no dependents, you need parental information.

    If you are a grad student (Masters or Doctorate,)you are normally considered independent, and parental info is not requried. HOWEVER...for some aid programs, such as Perkins Loans, PCL, etc., that info is required. What is the deal? That parental info is used, as has been stated before, to see which students might have other resources, versus those that don't.
    Unfortunately, sometimes that hurts students of wealthier parents who really don't have any more options than ones with lesser well-off parents. I myself fall into that category....father is a dentist...I have to accept that I will not receive some types of loan funds unless I provide that type of info, and my case also, it is not possible for me to get it.

    Talk to your FAO and find out what they need and why. Usually you can email them or call on the phone. Remember they are there to help you, and you can get a long way with a smile and an explanation. Submit your documentation promptly, sign it, etc, and usually they will do anything they can to help you...

    The big issue is usually with students who are finally out of UG and call themselves "independent" when they are truly not(they have no income, or not enough to live on.)

    hope this helps.
     
  23. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    I'm also concerned about this process. My mother remarried about a year ago, so her tax returns are much higher than they would be otherwise. Also, I can be 100% sure I won't be getting any of her husband's money for med school, much less hers.

    Someone previously stated that even if this gives you a high EFC, you can still take out the unsub loans to cover the difference. Does anyone know if this is true? Thanks.
     
  24. electra

    electra SDN Moderator

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    that is true, jamier.

    I worked two jobs full-time last year to buy and pay off a car...that increased my income by 10K and upped my EFC to more than I have in savings, etc. So I contacted the school, which is what you should do. The unsub portion can be requested to cover EFC.

    and I hope one of the above posts about the sub loans was not meant for me. I am pursuing an HPSP and even if I get it, which covers tuition and books, I would borrow a sub loan if I were eligible. Find a lender without a guarantee fee, and don't worry about the repay options. Take the money and hold it. You never know when you might need it, car repair, get sick, family trouble, vacation, etc. If you don't use it, pay it back after six months.

    electra
     
  25. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator
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    Thanks electra.
     
  26. 12R34Y

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    Space monkey,

    not a problem......I did not mean to snap at anyone. this is just a very frustrating topic for me.

    r124c41,

    first of all, I cannot believe that you are attacking my "nuclear family" by calling it "amuck". I have an amazing family and we all get along better than ever. I am very offended by the fact that you think I feel i don't owe my parents anything. I would love to be able to financially ensure my parents future someday. Nothing could make me happier and i hope to be able to help them out someday. Instead of attacking and making outrageous inferences about my family life (which if fabulous) try offering constructive suggestions and possible explanations like other posters on this thread have.

    I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one who's family cannot afford to help them through medical school. I also can't believe that you assume that makes the nuclear family messed up!!!
     
  27. tbachi

    tbachi Member

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    It seems to me that they are just trying to simplyify a complicated process by requiring everyone to submit the information (including parents) so that they can evaluate everyone exactly the same. Seems like the could care less whether or not our parents actually can contribute. I guess we are lucky that there are other ways to get loans and we will just have to utilize them.
     

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