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Okay I need some convincing!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by dlc, Jun 19, 2002.

  1. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    All right...I know this subject has been brought up upteenth times but I never really had a reason to pay attention to it. So, although I had always assumed that I would be in debt during and after medical school, it never really hit me until now when I have to decide if it really is worth it to go to my dream school. Its either Duke or MCG...neither school has been very generous with their financial aid and at most I am looking at $160,000 in debt. Several people, especially MDs, have told me not to worry about money and to let money be the last thing I consider when deciding where to go to medical school. Others have said that it does not matter where you go as long as you are happy. Well, I know that I would be substantially happier at Duke than at MCG. For some reason, both schools assume that my family contribution is much more than it actually is (in fact, Duke calculated it to be $30,000 more than my EFC!). I don't expect my family to help at all. So I need some insight from all on what you think of my situation. I really don't want to be in Augusta for the next 4 years but to go to Duke would mean taking out twice as much in loans. I know for some, the choice would be obvious, but it is hard to think about where I would be happy when I am facing such a huge number! Yet, my boss, who is still paying off his loans, told me that, as long as I can accept that I will be in debt for a while, I should be fine going to my dream school (which is Duke in case it isn't obvious). Advice please!!
    Dana
     
  2. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    Please call up Duke tomorrow and ask them what's going on with the EFC. That sounds very odd to me. It's possible that NeedAccess made them see your financial picture in a different light, but it's also possible a mistake has been made somewhere along the line. The discrepancy seems very high to me. Duke has always charged me less than my FAFSA EFC. It's definitely worth checking so you can know for sure.
     
  3. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan FM/EM Attending, PC Gamer
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    The EFC, as far as I know, is completely based on what you put on your FAFSA. Since med school began, I have never put any parental info on my FAFSA. I put only my tax return info and how much money I have in the bank. My EFC for this next year is 0. During the first three years of med school, it was under $1000. And I do actually have some money in the bank, really! :) So yeah, check with Duke, although double check what you put on your FAFSA.

    --Brendan--
    <"}}}}}><
     
  4. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    Thanks for such quick responses! That makes me feel a little better that it seems odd. As for FAFSA, I had put my parental information on it because MCG had suggested it in order to be considered for institutional scholarships (I don't know if its the same with Duke). My FAFSA EFC is around $7,000, which is still more than I expected but a hell of a lot easier to deal with than Duke's estimation! I wish they had a 24 hour hotline so I could get to the bottom of this right away!
    Dana
     
  5. KU Brendan

    KU Brendan FM/EM Attending, PC Gamer
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    It just amazes me that this didn't all happen to you on a Friday evening so you'd have to wait the whole weekend. It always seems like frustrating things that you want to get to the bottom to always happen when you can't do anything about them! :)

    Sounds like you have a personality like mine in that regard. Best of luck in dealing with the financial aid people.

    --Brendan--
    <"}}}}}><
     
  6. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Dana you seem intent on going to Duke so *even* if you have to fork out the mula I would choose Duke. Also consider the different approaches to physician training, at Duke you will do two year in one is this something that you look forward to? if your answer is yes then go for it. Good luck!
     
  7. Doctora Foxy

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    Happiness is expensive, but worth it!!! :) This is Duke we're talking about here! If you'd think you'd be happier at Duke, and you won't mind being in debt, go for it!
     
  8. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member
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    Definitely call up the financial aid office tomorrow. Due to a snafu in my Need Access form--which was my fault--my initial grant award from Duke was fairly low. I wrote them, asking about it, they quickly fixed the problem and ultimately upped my free money by more than $10,000.

    That said, if your parents make a whole lot of money, there's not much you can do. My mother is a college professor at a public university (not exactly rolling in it), and they put the parental contribution at $8,500 a year. With that, you just have to suck it up and take the loans.

    Good luck! It sounds like you really want to go to Duke; I would go for it if I were you (this coming from someone who recently turned Duke down :) ).
     
  9. laviddee

    laviddee Senior Member
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    i think we pretty much all know you'll go to duke. in the end... i think you'll choose a place you won't regret going to. and i think duke will be that place.
    everyone goes into debt. it's just a matter of degree. don't pass up on duke.

    with that said--- i still firmly believe education is what you make of it. regardless of if you go to harvard or joe mama's college of physicians and surgeons. if you study the material and have great people skills - you'll be a great doctor, it will be noticed, and doors will open.
    one thing a large debt may do is affect the type of doctor you become. Someone with a huge debt might love primary care or family practice, but b/c of that debt will be inclined to do something that pays a bit more. in the end-- what happiness is more important? choosing the right school or choosing the right field of medicine. Sure a counter argument can be made b/c a better school will let you have more options to match.. but again, if you utilize the education you get, and rock the boards, you can truly be any doctor you want without the worries of how to pay that loan off.

    oh well.. i say all this knowing that if i got into harvard and i got into uic.. i'd choose harvard in a sec. I'm sure in your mind you've already made that decision to go to duke. so try to get more money- follow the advice of these other folks... and just do it, live your life w/o regrets.

    dave
     
  10. silvercholla

    silvercholla Smarter than the avg bear
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    Here's a little bit of financial information. It might not help for this year but next year it could help a lot. When you file taxes next year file separate from your parents, do not let them claim you as a dependant. It will mean that they will loose refund money but it could save you a whole lot of future debt repayment. Make sure that you state single and one (depending on your state law and unless you have children)and file a full 1040 tax return do not use the amended 1040. It helped for me and I owe only one year of private undergrad school tuition after three years in school. Good luck and Congrats <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     
  11. bebe2

    bebe2 Senior Member
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    Dana,

    I also put my parent's info on the EFC and filled out the Need Access fro Duke. What many people do not realize is that if you state you are independent on the FAFSA, whether or not your parent's info is there, they will calculate your EFC based on YOUR INFO ONLY. Mine was around 2,000. I filled out the Need access for Sinai and Duke and there numbers were somewhat similar. Around 12,000 (including my parents and myself).

    I think you should first check to see if what they gave you is accurate, but it maybe since the Need Access is Calculated WITH your parent's info while the FAFSA (whether on not you put it), is not.

    K?

    Bebe
     
  12. Anath

    Anath Senior Member
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    Yes, I completely agree with Bebe. I talked to financial aid officers at several med schools, and also to my friend from college who is a financial aid officer down in Florida.

    Even if you are claimed as a dependant, the EFC is calculated ONLY according to what YOU have made because you are attending a professional school. They consider you INdependant for financial aid purposes. Tax wise, you can be dependant. Taxes and financial aid/FAFSA independence are two different things.

    Your EFC seems incredibly high to me, unless you had the bomb ass job while in school and made a ton of money doing work-study or whatever other job you had. Are you sure you indicated that you're going to a pre-professional/graduate school??

    Take for example my case. I am claimed as a dependant on my parent's taxes.
    For undergraduate, my EFC was ~$4500-$6000 depending on the year. However, this year, b/c I'm in a graduate/pre-prof program for med shool, my EFC was calculated to be about $300 despite the fact that I included my parent's info and am claimed as a dependant.

    Double check the information you placed on your FAFSA
     
  13. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    hmmm, lets see, Duke, MCG, Duke MCG....
    either...
    work your rear end of to land, if you're lucky, a good residency somewhere in Atlanta or...
    finish middle of the pack and land damn near any residency in any field you want to.

    If the decision were MCG and Emory, then I'd probably take MCG cause its a lot cheaper and there's not much difference in the quality of school. But this Duke we're talking about. That 160K will be just a small investment for what doors that Duke MD could open for you.
     
  14. dlc

    dlc Senior Member
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    Wow so many responses! Its 24 hours later and I am still confused. Okay, so I called the financial aid office...they did tell me about how they just use information from the Need Access and I guess because of my parents' assets, even though their income is average, this is why the parent contribution came out to be so high. They did say to send in one more form but I don't know how much of a difference this is going to make. I have claimed independent status for the past 2 years at least and I have been working a measly research tech job at a university, which pays very very little...ie, I am used to living very frugally. So I still don't understand why overall, my total family contribution is sooo much! $36000! My dad pretty much thinks I would be stupid to take on so much debt...but he does everything the cheap way anyway and cannot understand when an investment like this should be made (or so people have told me). But the FAO did say that many scholarships go unclaimed each year and, if I end up at Duke, you can bet that I am going to work diligently to find that money...no matter how many letters I have to write! Also, the third year, which is open at Duke, can be used to get some type of assistantship or get some big scholarships to cut down loans. Finally, I thought about how some states have tuition reimbursement programs...now I can't wait until tomorrow to call and see if North Carolina has such a program! I would not mind practicing in North Carolina if it means my debt will be erased. Anyway, thanks everyone for your responses! My mind has been spacey all day, going back and forth in my mind from one school to the other. On the one hand, I know that it is what I put into my education that will matter in the end. But then, as some of you have suggested, Duke can open a lot of doors in the future, which is good for someone that is pretty open to anything. Also, I know I would regret not taking this opportunity! I am just so afraid of ending up on the streets begging for money...
    Dana
     
  15. Bikini Princess

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by dlc:
    <strong>Wow so many responses! Its 24 hours later and I am still confused.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I hope you find the school that's right for you - I recommend Duke, but I've heard financial aid is an important consideration. good luck! :)
     
  16. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    Do realize, too, that since you won't be working next year, your EFC will be that much lower...
     
  17. Sweet Tea

    Sweet Tea Girl Next Door
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    Although it hurts my Tarheel heart to say this, it sounds like Duke is the better school for you, and it sounds like it's the place you'd rather be.

    What's more important to you? Paying off years of debt and going to a school you love, or going to a cheaper school and feeling bitter the entire time you're there and wondering if you could have gotten a better residency if you had gone to Duke.

    I promise I'm not trying to sound flippant-- Duke is damn expensive. But I think it might be worth it for you-- loans and all. The tuition reimbursement program is definetly worth checking out.

    I can't believe I just promoted Duke. I must go surround myself with UNC memorabilia now. Go Heels!!

    --Sweet Tea (UNC c/o 2001)
     

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