manicmaven

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Hey everybody,

When during this process do we begin to fill out FAFSA forms and apply for financial aid? Does this happen after we are accepted, or during the application cycle?

Also, I'll be 26 when I matriculate. I know some schools account for your parental income no matter your age or marital status. Do any schools have an age cut off where they begin to count you as financially independent?
 

Zoobaby

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Originally posted by manicmaven

Also, I'll be 26 when I matriculate. I know some schools account for your parental income no matter your age or marital status. Do any schools have an age cut off where they begin to count you as financially independent?
Man, I hope so, but I think we may be screwed. I'll be 27 when I (hopefully) matriculate. My parents have told me that I won't get dime one from them, so if they're expected to contribute, and calculated into my financial aid, I'm going to be out of luck.
 
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manicmaven

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I'm in the same boat. In the last few years my parents have begun to do really well for themselves...and I'm happy for them, but they aren't going to help with medical school. If schools look at their numbers and expect them to contribute, I don't know what my options will be.
 
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mpp

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The FAFSA is just a generic form for federal financial aid and you can fill it out starting in January next year. There is section to fill in the schools where you want the completed form sent, but you can ammend that later as you find acceptances. It can benefit you to have your FAFSA completed early as some fianancial aid awards are on a first-come first-served basis.

As a health professions student, you will be asked to put your parental income on the FAFSA. You can opt not do so. However, some schools will require your parental information (income and savings) to determine eligibility for state-based and institution-based awards. The federal awards (subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans) are a different matter. You should be eligible to receive the maximum in unsubsidized Stafford loans ($38,500 per year) and possibly $8,500 of that might be in subsidized Stafford loans (the government pays the interest on the loan while you are in school) depending on your financial situation. The FAFSA uses some algorithm to take into account your income and personal savings to determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). So if you earned a lot of money last year or have a lot of money in savings (not including money in a home or retirement account), your EFC can be quite high.

My EFC for the first year was well above the calculated annual cost for my tuition and living expenses for my school. I was still offered substantial amounts (but less than the maximum) of unsubisidized Stafford loans.
 

SMW

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Just to clarify about the EFC (Expected Family Contribution). In the case of med-students-to-be, the "family" is you (and your spouse, if you have one). Nevertheless, you still have to fill out the parental income portion for most medical schools, or you will not be considered for their institutional grants, scholarships, etc. Parental income will not affect the amount of unsubsidized Stafford loans you can get, only the subsized portion, as mpp has indicated. The MSAR has a great section on financial aid.
 

Angel_Eyes

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When should I apply for financial aid? Officially, I am single but I will be getting married this summer. I am 22 and have been using my parents to apply for my Pell Grant during college. If, by the grace of God I am accepted to medical school, when should I apply for financial aid and how should I file? If I file in January, I will have to re-file when I get married. If I wait to file in July...I will be so far behind the pack!

What should I do?
 

mpp

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The information you put into the FAFSA will be from the tax return that you are required to file in April 2003 (i.e., for your income in the year 2002). If you will be filing a joint tax return in April 2003, then you are required to use the information on that tax return. If you will not be filing a joint tax return, then it will not matter if you are single or married.
 

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Do med students take out loans for all four years at once, or do they have to reapply each year for the coming year?
 

KU Brendan

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As a post-bacc student, you do not have to tell anything about your parents' income to the government. It does not count for or against you. Most people at my school have $0 EFC (or close) since most of us are taking out loans and have very little income. As some have mentioned, some schools may require you to enter your parents' info for local scholarships or grants (my school doesn't), but this is an optional thing. The government has to be give you whatever the difference is between how much the school claims med school will cost in a year and how much your EFC is. Be careful, though, in looking at which loans are subsidized or unsubsidized: the government pays for the interest all through school on subsidized loans; for unsub ones, the interest accrues all during school. Regardless, you'll pay off your loans quickly once you have an actual job.

--Brendan--
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Smurfette

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To answer the original question, yes, most schools have cutoffs for parental contribution requirements.

Most schools are reasonable about this for non-trads (both med schools in my state consider all med sudents regardless of age as independent, but that is not the norm). The FAFSA/federal government has a cutoff of age 24 for independent status--I think most schools stick to that guideline. You'll probably find that financial aid isn't a problem, and the schools will be very accommodating for the most part.

However, from interviewing, I can tell you that Northwestern has the most irrational policy for independent status. Something like you had to have worked full-time for a minimum of 7 years and over that seven year period, your average gross income had to be like $27,000+ per year. It may even have been 7 consecutive years of income over $27K, I'm not sure. Married people were still not considered independent from mom and dad unless the above qualification was met (I'm not kidding! I don't think your spouse's income could count, either).
:confused: :eek: :eek:
 
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manicmaven

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Good lord...seven years?!? How ridiculous is that? :eek: Thanks for all the great info, everyone. I'll be returning to my perch above my mailbox now.
 

Random Access

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Originally posted by Smurfette
The FAFSA/federal government has a cutoff of age 24 for independent status--I think most schools stick to that guideline.
The FAFSA also has a cutoff if you're married, if you've had military service...and there are maybe 2 other conditions, in addition to being 24 (I seem to remember there being 5)...

-RA
 
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