Financial implications of repeating / taking a year off due to health issues

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j_diggity

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Hello,

I have IBD and am wondering what would happen if I had to repeat a year or remediate a block due to having a flare-up requiring hospitalization or surgery that causes me to miss time. My symptoms are pretty well-managed, but chronic illnesses can be unpredictable. If I had to repeat a year due to medical reasons, would I have to pay for a whole extra year? At schools that have significant need or merit-based aid, would that aid cover me for the extra year or would I have to pay full price for it? Are there any other considerations that I might need to consider before committing to a school?

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It has been a long time since I knew someone personally who came up against this but at that time the student got off the merry-go-round and got back on exactly one year later. There was no additional tuition charge.

The reason why a stop has to be for a full year is because the pre-clinical years: M1 and M2 are repeated annually and if you miss an organ system, it won't be taught again until that time the following year at which point your original cohort will be in a different organ system (and you can't do two at the same time).

If you flunk an exam (about 20-30% of students do at least once in the first 2 years of med school) you have the opportunity to retake the exam, usually after the school year is over. This is different, I think, than being hospitalized and missing everything taught over 2-6 weeks of hospitalization and recovery. It would be very hard to take one or two comprehensive exams without having received any of the instruction and in such a situation, you might be advised to take the rest of the year off (perhaps doing research on campus or taking a job) and picking up where you left off the following year.
 
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If you flunk an exam (about 20-30% of students do at least once in the first 2 years of med school) you have the opportunity to retake the exam, usually after the school year is over. This is different, I think, than being hospitalized and missing everything taught over 2-6 weeks of hospitalization and recovery. It would be very hard to take one or two comprehensive exams without having received any of the instruction and in such a situation, you might be advised to take the rest of the year off (perhaps doing research on campus or taking a job) and picking up where you left off the following year.
In addition to missing the clinical training in Clinical Medicine classes (and OMM/OMT for DO students).
 
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In my experience need based aid will continue as long as you're enrolled in enough units (those units can be research or self directed study if you can't take classes at that time) you can also get federal loans during that time if in enough units. Merit aid can be tricky and can sometimes only be allowed for 4 years TOTAL so it may not be applied during self directed study or research units or may not cover the 5th year. Hope that helps!
 
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