acrowder

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Some background first: I just married my best friend in the world. We lived together for 2 years before getting hitched so we know each other very well. Too well sometimes. :) She is the one
who inspired me to follow my dream and take a crack at med school. I do not have a degree so I will be starting from scratch. It's a long road. We have been making well over 100k for the past 2
years (we both work for dotcoms in the silicon valley) but will be moving to Roanoke while I go back to school. first so that she is closer to family and second is the cost of living. I plan on working
as an EMT during my under grad but she does not know what she will do. (she has a degree in phsyc from VT). Between EMT pay and my GI bill ($680 a month for 2 more years) and our nest egg,
we don't have much. Obviously student loans will be needed.
I see a lot of discussion on here of both spouses going to school as well as raising children. I would really like Kristin to finish her masters. My question is how is everybody making it? Do the
student loans cover tuition/books AND living expenses? What are some of the creative ways people are making this dream happen?
Thanks for everyone's responses. you folks are great on here.
 

im4real

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My question is how is everybody making it? Do the
student loans cover tuition/books AND living expenses? What are some of the creative ways people are making this dream happen?
Thanks for everyone's responses. you folks are great on here.[/QB]<hr></blockquote>

My answer for us personally:

Student Loans, Student Loans, Student Loans!!! It stinks, but I can't think of any other way we could have gotten through our schooling!

I just think you all are great to essentially start over after having it nice making 100K. Wow! You are the MAN!!! And she is the WOMAN!!! hehe!

Christy :)
 

Wifty

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First off, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Marrying your best friend is to me, the height of success in this life. :)

As for the rest, I don't have much info. Hubby and I are both college students and basically, live off financial aid. Being married helps because you can claim the other as a dependant. Hubby did that, and they give enough in loans and grants to pay for school, books, living, utilities, insurance, etc. There isn't anything left over and so he has a part time job that gives us some spending cash. We could get more in loans, but we don't mind living simply. Luckily, we don't have any debt that we need to pay on now....no car payments, no house payments, etc. That helps ALOT!!!

To get lots of financial aid, you need to be willing to be poor....but it is doable and we actually are having fun with it. The hardest thing is not being able to get people lots of gifts...but one day when he is a doctor....we will make up for it. :)

It all depends what is important to you.

Remember though...some loans have limits on how much you can borrow and if you borrow too much now, when you are in med school, you might reach the limit for that loan. Though, there are plenty of people willing to give money to doctors-to-be, they are good risks. :)

Good luck....let us know if there is anything else you need and let me know how you are doing.

Getting to do the career that fulfills your soul, with the person who completes your soul....is more important then having alot of material things now. At least, thats my take on it. :)

Wifty
 
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acrowder

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Thanks for the feed back. I'm sure it sounds really drastic that we are giving up the high salaries to do this but I can assure you that even with that salary we could only afford to rent here in the
valley. We have a 1 BR 700 sq'..$1300. :) And its not in the best area either. The average home here starts at around 500k. One more reason we want to move out of here.
As far as being willing to live "poor" we have no problem. But lets define poor here. Bill wise all we have is a combined car payment of about ~$600 a month. (Glad I didn't buy the HUMMER!),
my student loans from dive school, and rent with all the affiliated expenses but that's it. So in that area we are doing very well. I have not decided if I will use the remaining 2 years of my GI Bill
payments right away or save them for later. We have more than enough nest egg to live on in Roanoke for 2 years. If I work as an EMT and she lands something in the 20k a year area we could pay
for the first 2 years of school in cash and use the GI later. (On a side note, I was thinking about doing my AA in a nursing program and get my RN. This way, I will have a skill that will pay well and
keep me in the health care field while I continue to go to school. Good idea or bad?)Then, its loan time for med school. We are fine with that. I calculated that if we were to cash out everything
(savings, 401's, IRA) and then max out the cards we could have around 100k cash but who really wants to do that?! Also, will lends want to factor in a persons investment holding, equity in a home
ect when you apply? (We would really like to buy a home when we get to VA. Is that a good idea, or should we rent?)
If you don't mind my asking Wify, what kind of monthly income are you getting from loans? I'm trying to decide how much longer I should keep this job and save so I can go to school and not be so
distracted about the finical aspects of this. How much in loans does a typical med student accumulate and what is the typical monthly payment when you start paying these loans back? I heard a
number being tossed around that after school the grads are writing $1500 student loan checks. Does this sound right?
 

radspouse

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How do we make ends meet? Well, my husband took an Air Force scholarship after being accepted to med school. We had additional financial aid loans to help us with living expenses and it worked out to be just enough for our family of five to survive comfortably. There are pros and cons to having a military scholarship (you'll find many opinions on this site btw). BUT, if having a family while you're relatively young is a high priority for you, then an Air Force HPSP scholarship is a truly wonderful thing in our experience. Otherwise - the only answers to financially surviving medical school and residency (if you are married) are student loans and having a spouse that can earn an income - whether in a career or in an at-home business. There are also the rural scholarships and a few other scholarships that your spouse might want to explore with his financial aid office. Also, once your spouse gets to a certain point in residency, moonlighting is a very financially lucrative option.

I might also add that people can live off a lot less money than they often believe. $100k would've been RICH for me or my husband growing up so we've both had backgrounds of living frugal lives. We have found that in our current geographic area we can comfortably survive with our three children (with me being a full-time mother) on about $35k a year. (our monthly rent is $1375 and we manage to still feed, clothe, and afford toys, etc for us and our children in additon to our minivan auto payment). At this point in our lives $100k would be TRULY RICH!!! :D :eek:
I am sure that if you guys have been pulling in a combined income of that much (and if you don't have any children to support) you have some savings and investments to draw upon - I highly recommend you use those before you start attempting to get student loans. Also, the financial aid dept at your spouses' school is going to use your previous year's income tax returns to determine your financial need - on that income you are probably not going to get a penny. You will have to fill out a form describing how your financial circumstances have changed since that tax form was filed. Also, if you DO have savings/financial investments in either of your names, those will also be taken into account - ie you will be expected to draw upon those resources before you are awarded any financial aid. This is not the case for private trusts set up for you by family members (those trusts are protected and do not even have to be disclosed). If you are pulling in an income during your spouse's education, that will be taken into account. You will be expected to fund the education by a certain amount based upon your income. The higher your taxable income, the more you will be expected to put towards the education.

Also - look into medical residency deferment of any loans you do acquire during medical school. There are several reasons for deferment - including low income (which residents' incomes qualify - however, having a spouse working may change that) and being active duty military. Also, participating in a rural scholarship program may allow forgiveness of some or all of your debts accrued for education.

Jennifer
 

jhug

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A quick question for all you wise people-- My grandparents have given my wife and i a good chunk of stock as an inheritance (one has passed away)-- when i fill out my tax stuff all i put are the dividends received for the year....will the FA office want to know how much i make off those dividends or will they ask for the total value of the stock? I plan on using it to pay for all my tuition/fees, and then we will work (my wife, bless her little heart, is a nurse) to pay for the rest-- if needed, and i imagine it will be-- we thought of trying for the subsidized/perkins loans to cover what we can't-- but i worry that we won't qualify for those even though we are super below poverty level w/o the stock. Well, this turned out not to be such a short question in the end :) I appreciate your feedback!
 

radspouse

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I strongly suggest you find a copy of the current FASFA ( I THINK that is the name of the form - its the Federal Application for Student Financial Aid - pretty sure). Look that form over and it will lay out what you are going to need to provide for the purpose of applying for financial aid (which in medical school mostly consists of federal student loans - Stafford loans both subsidized and unsubsidized). One other little tidbit you might like to know: you will be REQUIRED to provide your PARENTS' intimate financial details in order to qualify for any financial assistance as far as federal loans. This is EVEN IF YOU ARE MARRIED AND HAVE BEEN INDEPENDENT FOR YEARS! The first year my husband applied for financial aid for medical school, we had been married a couple of years, had our own home, had our first child, etc. We still had to provide this information! And, if your parents have "sufficient" resources (and I know they definitely do want to know about investments - financial and property-wise - your parents possess), they will be EXPECTED to provide some financial assistance to you! Pretty wild - but true!

Jennifer
 

k's mom

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In response to acrowder's original post, I have a few suggestions. First of all, congrats on deciding to go back to school, and for having such a wonderfully understanding spouse! My husband decided at 27 to go back from scratch, so for the past five years at least one of us has been in school full time and we will (hopefully!) be paying for Med school starting in August.
Here's my two-cents worth:

1. Eligibility for Financial Aid is based on your cash assets, not your debts. So, a basic package will cover school and modest living expenses, but not credit cards, car loans, school loans, etc. For that reason, I suggest using your "nest egg" to pay off all of your debts. THis way you will not only have lower monthly costs, but your decreased cash savings may make you eligible for MORE financial aid. Cool, huh? All schools allow some savings reserved, and I don't know if they can touch 401k, etc... so call and ask specifics on what is and is not counted. (FYI: IF YOU ARE INDEPENDENT (BY BEING MARRIED, YOU ARE) YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DISCLOSE PARENTAL INFORMATION FOR UNDERGRAD, BUT YOU WILL FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL)

2. Once you have paid off your cars and gotten your financial aid package, SELL ONE OF THEM! The cash will come in very handy for moving expenses, it will not effect your aid award, and upkeep, licensing, parking, etc.. on two cars is ridiculous. Invest in a good bike or a bus pass.

3. Regarding buying a house, that is a tough call. If you are expecting "the house of your dreams" or a place you want to raise your kids, forget it. If ten years from now you have managed to go to undergrad, medschool AND residency in the same city, I will owe you an apology, but I suggest being mobile. If you are dead-set on buying, might I suggest a cheap condo or townhouse? A mortgage on one of those can be significantly lower than rent. The idea is to keep your housing budget as close to the amount most financial aid offices allow for housing (usually around $500.00/month)

4. Have you considered married student housing? It might not be glamourous, but campus housing is always less expensive than the local average rental rates, and usually includes basic (and often expensive) utilities such as electricity, cable and basic phone service. As a plus, you won't need that car I told you to sell anyway! Besides, I can almost guarantee it will be bigger than whereever you are renting now in the bay area!

5. Has your spouse considered finding a job on campus? Most schools offer tuition reimbursement or tuition reduction for employees AND their spouses after as little employment as a year. This may also insure adequate medical insurance.

That's all I can think of now. Best wishes, and I hope this helps!
 

Starflyr

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The one thing that I found thats slightly different from what other people have said is this:

If you are applying ONLY for federal aid (staffords, perkins, etc) and you are independent (married, whatever), you DO NOT have to provide parental information. HOWEVER. If you are applying for school-based loans (as opposed to govt=based), you generally DO have to provide parental information, which IMO is rather stupid. But there you have it.

The way Im doing it it a little different too. I came into med school debt free, so I didnt have to worry about that aspect. I also have some assets in the stock market. I applied for federal loans, looked at the stock market and set a yearly budget. Based on the stock market, I decided how much to take in loans - right now, Im taking more in loans, paying less out of assets b/c I will make more in the stock market than I will accrue interest on the loans. I dont know if this makes sense to anybody but me right now. Anyways.

Star
 

radspouse

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K's mom has some really excellent advice!

Jennifer
 

Wifty

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Everyone is giving such great advice!!! :) Its nice to see sharing of life lessons learned. :)

Anyways, I am looking at the financial aid papers right now for KCOM and it DOES say that you have to supply parents info on the FAFSA for the Perkins loan. It also says something about only 20% of students getting that loan (maybe just at kcom?) due to funding.

Ugh....I hate looking at all this stuff!!

Rebecca
 

radspouse

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Let me add that my husband's ONLY med school loans are Stafford loans (not very much btw due to the Air Force scholarship he received). Anyway, we do have a bit of loans to repay that are all federal Stafford loans. I know for a FACT that in order to apply for those loans you MUST provide the medical student's parental financial data. I know this because I'm the person who ended up doing all of this paper work. And, I'm pretty sure that this policy applies to all medical students applying for federal loans (ie I don't think this was just the policy at UT Southwestern where we were). Like I said, it is ridiculous, but be prepared for it....

Jennifer
 

dustinspeer

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My wife and I got married, I am still in my undergrad, she is working to support me, and I am planning on applying to Pharm school next fall. We are probably the luckiest couple around because we are completely debt free. We came into the marriage with all our own furniture and all, and only buy things cash. Our cars are paid off, and we even traded my wifes car with a relative so we have a used car and a monthly check from them. My father is paying my undergrad because of an old bet we made based on my ACT score- He didn't think I could get a 30, and I did. I transferred so I lost my scholarship, and he graciously is paying it. I will pay my Pharm school bill though.
I hate the way I have to work to make ends meet. My wife works full time and she is pregnant so we are saving up for the baby. When you're poor like we are, it makes it even rougher. Where we live in Arkansas, rent is low but the wages are also. She makes 8 and hour as a EDITOR believe it or not, but the job has 2 bonuses a year and they take a vacation every winter (we go to the souther caribbean for FREE on the 15th for a 5 day cruise)so those benefits make it worthwhile. She also has the best insurance plan her provider offers, with no annual deductible, so we are blessed in that area. I go to school during the days but I work 2 jobs: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I work the 7p-7a in the OR at a hospital here, and Tuesday and Thursday monrings at an opthalmologist's office. he's a friend so its a favor. yeah, thats right, I wake up at 6:30 on Mondays and don't get to sleep until about noon on Tuesdays, same on wednesdays-thursdays, but saturday I sleep in. This works out for us because my pay is ok (9/hr) but I get lots of hours in, and my check is automatically deposited into a savings account. We live off of her check. Our rent is 500, about 65 for phone and electricity (no cable, never home) 43 for car insurance... so we save a lot also. Thank God she is frugal like she is. We start getting pell grants next year so that will make things easier.

I don't know how we are going to do this with the baby. Its gonna be rough. Any advice? We won't buy a house until after school rather than using all our equity (about 8k in bonds and savings) on a downpayment. I recommend you work as much as possible also. Its not easy tightening the financial belt, but Rachel and I have really learned how to rely on each other. We bicker about it occasionally, but we have a mutual understanding of what we need to do. We play games at home to pass the time rather than spend the money. Its fun. :D
 
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radspouse

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RE: Making due with nothing financially.

Dustinspeers, I feel your pain! :D We end up spending our free time doing "free" things. We look for deals wherever we can find them - free movie tickets for buying groceries, free events for families at the civic center, and we DO go to the drug dinners (after all, they're a free dinner and usually held at an upscale restaraunt to boot). Anyway, you have to be really creative to be poor and have a life! :D ;)

Jennifer
 

dustinspeer

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I hear that. We are going out to dinner tonight with the doctor I work for and his wife, so theres a nice free meal. But usually My tuesdays and thursday are spent mostly asleep, catching up. I have a grat 7pm bedtime even after taking a 4 hour daytime nap
 

KG

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Necessity may be the mother of invention, but poverty is the mother of creativity! Some of the nicest times we've spent together are the little walks in the neat park we discover, playing sports as a family and that sort of thing. And, think, "Garage Sales!" We have gotten so much good stuff from garage sales and thrift stores, believe it or not, especially high-quality children's clothing and supplies. I'm hooked! Toys for kids can be thrown in the dishwasher and come out clean and practically like new. We occasionally go to the $1.50 movie theater in town here.

One thing I'm doing, returning to school after being a full-time homemaker, is to reserve Friday nights and Saturday morning to hang out with hubby. He's had to adjust too, and does a lot more around the house now! Planning time and sticking to it is good for both of us. We might just grab a bite to eat and go for a drive, but it's good to consciously put down the books so they don't rule my life. Sometimes I need to show or verbalize that my spouse really is my top priority.
 

k's mom

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RE: making do with nothing

Dustinspeer: First of all, congratulations on your upcoming arrival. Second of all, WOW!!!! You are set financially. Even if it doesn't feel like it, you are way ahead of most students. Third, your schedule sounds very similar to my husband's; full class load during the day, works the 11pm-7am shift four nights per week. All I can say is it has worked for us, BUT, if you continue your overnight shifts after the baby, don't expect a whole lot of sympathy from your wife when you drag through the door in the morning. If you can muster it, put on your happiest face, take the baby, and let your wife take a shower, or catch a few more z's. Believe me, she will be thrilled and you will win major points.
I would love to give some financial advice, but you seem to have it all together. I would say at this point not to be afraid of loans. Taking out a moderate amount each year of school will keep your payments fairly low when you graduate, but more importantly, it will alleviate much of the stress you and your wife will be feeling when you begin school.
Also, I'm not sure about Arkansas, (Is this where you will be going to Pharm school?) but check into medical insurance discount programs (most states have them for kids, and many for parents as well), and DES programs for discounted daycare rates. We don't qualify for the childcare discount, but I found a daycare for our son (now 17 months old) that just happened to provide all food...including formula. During his first year, this saved us about 20 dollars per week. (You know how much every penny counts!) Also, while it is not an immediate benefit, your federal taxes will be MUCH lower after you have the baby. You get a standard deduction, plus a discount for daycare expenses.
Oh yeah, regarding daycare. Although I love my career, I actually quit my full-time teaching job and am now working for myself as a private tutor....12 hours per week, instead of 70. Half way through the last school year, I figured out that with daycare expenses and planning time, I was making about $1.50 an hour. Now, with our seriously reduced daycare expenses, I am working much less, have more time for the family, less stress, AND I am bringing home about the same amount. Freelance/self-employment might be an alternative for you guys.

Hope this helps!
 

commymommy

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KG...I couldn't agree more!! It is true that some of our best times too have been taking walks with the kids or going to the park....even my dh and I have been known to get a sitter and then go for a walk....can't afford a sitter AND a movie....and we end up having a great time walking and talking...exercise and communication :D

Re: Taking out lots of loans......uggggh...DONT...we did this and wish we hadn't!!! Find a way to make it through with as few loans as possible! We made the mistake of thinking we'd be feeling the security now that my hubby is out of training and were we ever wrong....we pay 40% to taxes and FICA....and with our loans coming out of deferment we are worse off than in fellowship :(

just a thought....

Kris
 

Wifty

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So how does one do it then!?!?!?!

We looked at hard figures the other night....and it will be almost 200,000 in loans by the time this is through.

If we try and pay it off in 10 years, with the interest rate....it will be about 3000/month.....which leaves us (approx) $45,000 after taxes.

Now granted, thats more then we have now....but it means I will be 50 by the time we are all paid off and can play!

There has to be a better way! We are looking into the various scholarships, but those are a definate anyways.

We aren't doing this for the money....but a nice, secure life would be awesome to achieve at some point.

Sigh....
Wifty
 
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acrowder

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Radspouse: I would be interested to hear more about your hubbies AF deal. I spent 5 years active duty in the Navy and another 3 years as active reserve. The military is a home for me and it has been hard playing civilian over the past few years. Each night I get to watch on CNN as my old squadron launches off of the Carl Vinson to go bomb the Taliban. Often I find myself thinking about if getting out was the right thing to do. (whole nother story and from what I'v seen, almost every soldier has the same feelings once they are on the outside looking in.)
For those of you thinking about taking a military scholarship but worry about life in the military I can tell you that from my experiance it really is a family. The guys I served with I still talk too several times a week. One of these guys worked for me when he was fresh out of bootcamp for almost 2 years. When he got out we crossed paths again and this time he was my boss. :) Kristin and I frequantly travel the 160 miles to his house and hang out with him and his family. The bonds you make while serving are bonds that last a lifetime. The military was the best thing I did for my life. going back in AND being an MD....I couldn't imagine...
Radspouse: What was the process? One you had the acceptance to medschool you then applied? Or can you apply before you land an acceptance? How long is the hitch once you grad medschool? What are to "perks" they use to keep the MD's in once the hitch is up? (I know the Navy had some perks to try to keep the pilots in after they had done the 10 year hitch.)
Thanks for the info.
Allen
 

radspouse

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Allen, OK, this is our experience with the Air Force scholarship:

My husband applied to medical school and was accepted. He immediately deferred a year from medical school in order to finish his bachelor's degree (yup, that's right, you don't have to have the degree to go!) and because I was due with our first child. He next decided to do the Air Force scholarship to pay for a family during the many years he knew he'd have no income. He applied in the late summer of the year he deferred (to get the scholarship for the following year). With these scholarships, you have to apply VERY early in order to be a "shoe-in" so to speak. What also helped him not have any difficulty was the fact that 1)he'd already been accepted (although it IS possible from what I've heard to apply for a military medical scholarship BEFORE acceptance to medical school contingent on acceptance to med school - but if I'm wrong someone please tell me!) and 2)his dad was an Air Force captain (pilot). Your prior military service is probably going to be a HUGE plus in getting a scholarship from a military branch.

OK, the rest of what I can tell you is from the perspective of the Air Force:
You are immediately commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the reserves once you are officially given the scholarship. The contract you sign says that you will give one year of active duty service as a medical officer for every year the Air Force funds your medical education. Your active duty service commitment does not begin until after your residency is complete.

You will be required to apply for a military residency before you can go on to the civilian match during the fourth year of med school. Based on the Air Force's projected needs of specialists, you will be more or less likely to get a certain position. If there is a need for a certain specialty that is greater than the number of military residency spots for that specialty, then you MAY be one of the people allowed to go onto the civilian match process in the specialty you chose (and they hold you to that specialty - no switching because it is based on THEIR needs). My husband is one of the people who is doing a civilian residency. The same thing happens if and when you desire a fellowship.

As far as the "perks": You obviously have a greatly reduced (if it exists at all) debt on completion of medical school. You are paid as a reservist (in addition to your scholarship that pays for tuition/supplies) during medical school. You are (in the AF) automatically made a Captain once you achieve active duty status. IF you are going into family practice, internal medicine, peds, or another "general" specialty, the pay is actually quite competitive within the military to civilian salaries (plus you don't have the added expenses of setting up your own practice).

What are the "drawbacks"? You obviously lose a certain amount of control over your career choices. You cannot advance very well through the ranks (and thus pay scale) unless you take these inane military medical courses designed for NON-MEDICAL officers (ie these are courses YOU would be qualified to teach as a doctor rather than wasting your time taking them). If you go into a specialty such as radiology (my husband's), surgery, etc, you will be taking a HUGE paycut in the years of active duty service. (My husband will be making a half to a third what he could AVERAGE in the civilian world).

In the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons for your own situation. For some the military scholarship is perfect and a blessing. For others the military scholarship would be a very poor choice. For us, it has been an excellent choice to date - both financially, and, ironically, career-wise. In the end, the military will do what is in its best interest according to its projected medical needs. This means that you might have a unique arrangement that isn't the norm - such is what my husband has at the moment (I won't go into the details since it is a highly irregular arrangement and one that they may or may not repeat). What I have described, though, is the normal, expected path. One other thing I suggest: when you are arranging with the recruiter to apply for your scholarship ask to see the contract you will be required to sign - just to make sure you understand every bit of what will be required of you and what you will receive (but, I guess that is always a wise thing to do in every aspect of life!).

I know Wifty was also interested in similar information. Let me explain that I wasn't trying to ignore her post! I didn't respond on that thread since I had already answered her questions on another website and it would've been redundant for her! ;) I hope I answered your questions! If anyone has any additional queries I'll be happy to tackle those as well!

Jennifer
 

Wifty

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Thanks Jennifer for piping up with info....I was hoping that you would. :)

I know that I tend to be tenacious when it comes to acquiring info about something that I am interested in. LOL

And I just want to reiterate....look into what you are getting into from all sources. Then, take the worst-case scenario that could happen, if its acceptable to you (even if not ideal), then that gives you a good clue as to where you stand on the decsion because in all likelihood, things will turn out better then you expected.

Wifty....who will be gone for a few days....
 

jhug

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Starflyr-- We are very similar in that we don't have any debt going into med school, we have a chunk of savings on reserve, and a good amount of stock. Are you using div. to pay tuition or are you selling stock to pay for it? With the FAFSA application and parental info, can't you just check the does not apply box?? that may not be the exact name of it but it's something to that effect.
 
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