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Spouse's income and med school loans

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by ntxawmx, Nov 24, 2000.

  1. ntxawmx

    ntxawmx Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 1999
    Can someone help me understand how financial aid typically works for married students? Would they figure in my spouse's income when considering income? If so, would it adversely affect my chances of getting enough aid for school?

    Thanks for any input.

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  3. medlou

    medlou Junior Member

    May 24, 2000
    Your spouse's income will not adversely affect your ability to get a loan, regardless of what that income may be. They'll let anybody borrow!
    And I was strongly encouraged by our financial advisor to go ahead & borrow whatever they would allow, and invest our money--you'll make a lot more by investing (well) than what you'll have to pay in interest. We borrow for tuition only & live from my husband's salary, and invest what we would've used to pay tuition. As long as the economy stays good, this advice should be sound, but I would talk to your own tax/financial advisor first.
    Good luck!
  4. WingZero

    WingZero Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Your spouse's income WILL affect your financial aid pacakage. Medlou is correct in saying that anyone can borrow money (i.e. federal loans), but what kind of loan you can get is a totally different matter. Your spouse is expected to contribute to the cost of your medical education and her income will decrease your chance of getting low interest loans or grants from your medical school. In fact, your parents' income will be taken into account as well (regardless of dependency or age). The bottom line is that you don't have to worry about funding for school - plenty of places will loan you money. It's just a question of the interest rate you get.
  5. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    Your parents' income is not always taken into consideration--it depends on your school and your age (but most schools probably do). Some schools have very liberal financial aid offices, and others, like mine, are ridiculously conservative (basing their tight-fistedness on the fear of somehow being held liable if medical students default on their loans. How this is a rational fear, since you CANNOT default on student loans--even bankruptcy won't wipe them out--I'm at a loss to understand). The amount you will be able to borrow depends entirely upon the budgets determined for you by your FAO; ours seem based on a cost of living last adjusted in 1964. I am currently waging war with my FAO for the privilege of borrowing some more of that good old $38,500 Stafford federal pie. Medical school is a good time to be married to someone with a good salary, or to have the good fortune to have been born to wealthy parents. I'm glad that there are some schools, like medlou's, which are not so stingy, but be aware that others (particularly UCs) operate differently.

    Paying December's rent with cash advances on my credit card,

  6. RE: why schools are so paranoid about students defaulting on US government loans...

    If a school has a certain percentage of its students defaulting on student loans, the school can become ineligible to provide such loans, thus ruining it for everyone. Schools are therefore a bit worried about their alumnae not paying the bills.

    BTW, fiatslug is also correct in saying that your parent's income is not always taken in to account, especially if you are, ahem...mature like I! [​IMG]
  7. Andre

    Andre Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Houston, TEXAS
    WingZero is absolutely correct:
    I make over $100,000 and pay for my MS3 wife.
    Staffords wanted me to spend/contribute $31,500 before lending me a red cent. (at 8.5% APR)
    Other sources, at 10-12% range is readily available.
    Good luck to you,
  8. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;) 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2000
    In residency HELL
    I'm curious to learn what the "liberal" schools consider a "mature" age? At 30 and married, I don't think my parents income should be ANY factor on whether I get a loan or what kind! I went back to school at 26 and my parents haven't contributed a penny to my education (because they don't have it)...they CERTAINLY won't be financing medical school!! If anything, they're hoping I can get in, get through, and pay off all my loans before they have to be put in retirement homes! [​IMG] I can live with them wanting to see my husbands income, because, by default, that is supposed to be half "mine" (reality is often much different, huh) but I REFUSE to give them my parent's records! It's ridiculus to think that someone MY age would be getting money from my parents! What if I was 35 or 40....WHAT IF I HAD KIDS OF MY OWN (I'm sure many of you do!)...Where does this end???
  9. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2000
    Cobragirl, I'm a similar age and situation- and the truth is, they don't care if you're 50 and a grandmother! Some schools, such as my state school, don't require parental information at all and at most schools, if you want to be considered only for loans, you don't have to supply parental information either. However, if you wish to be considered for institutional loans or scholarships, most schools will require parental data, regardless of your age, marital status, etc. The way that one school justifies this is by saying something like "the purpose of financial aid is to help the truly needy who would otherwise have absolutely no other source to ask. Perhaps students reluctant to ask for parental assistance might arrange an informal loan and repayment system with their parents." etc.
    Yeah, right! I haven't been involved in my parents' financial affairs for over ten years and frankly, I would be utterly embarrassed to ask. I think this is a policy that has to change- it's an artifact of an era when most med school students were traditional young dependents. I understand that financial aid should go to the most needy, but it's absolutely ludicrous to ask grown adults to go begging to their 65-year-old parents for money!
  10. Hi...

    For some reason I thought you didn't have to provide parent's income if you were over the age of 23. As a matter of fact, my FAFSA asks if you were born before 1/1/76 (but I don't have the instruction sheet with me that tells what that query is referring to). I do think the final word comes from the individual schools and lenders, but check out - you might find more info there.

    It IS ridiculous to ask for parent's income - for student's of a "certain age", married, in professional schools, or other situations like mine where you *know* that one of the parents is NOT going to help financially (despite the marked ability to do so). I spent many a day discussing the latter issue with my financial advisor - seems they assume that parents with the financial means are somehow required to pay for their children's college education (oh, were it so).

    Best of luck to you!
  11. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    Another thing you notice, as a med student "of a certain age," (31), is how many of your fellow classmates ARE in fact still on parental welfare, even some who are married with kids. The problem is that the entire medical school selection process screens for the already wealthy--the parking lot at my school gleams with new Beemers and Sport Utes. Some of my classmates are using their student loans to buy these fine vehicles, or letting their parents invest their Stafford monies in the stock market. Meanwhile, those of us who ONLY have loan money to live on are barely making it. I've already had to take out more money to make it through this quarter, and there were textbooks I couldn't afford to buy because our budget is so pitifully low. Quite frankly, few people make it into medical schools who are NOT being bankrolled by someone else. And that just makes it even harder for the po' folks: there's a study that shows a direct correlation between MCATs, USMLEs and parental income. Here's the abstract:

    Acad Med 1995 Dec;70(12):1142-4

    The relationship between parental income and academic performance of medical students.

    Fadem B, Schuchman M, Simring SS
    Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark 07103-2714, USA.

    PURPOSE. To test the hypothesis that family financial status is associated with the academic performance of a medical student. METHOD. The relationships between parental income and mean scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 were examined for the students in the 1994 and 1995 graduating classes at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School who had applied for financial aid in 1991 and reported annual parental income. Pearson correlations were used to analyze separately the data for minority and majority students, for men and women, and for the four subgroups by gender and race-ethnicity. RESULTS. The final study cohort consisted of 192 students (55% of all students). Significant positive correlations were found between the (1) MCAT and USMLE Step 1 for the women, men, majority, and minority students, (2) MCAT and parental income for the subgroups of majority men and minority women, and (3) USMLE Step 1 and parental income for the subgroup of minority women. CONCLUSION. Parental income was correlated significantly with performances on the MCAT and USMLE Step 1. These relationships may be particularly strong and persistent for minority women.

    [This message has been edited by fiatslug (edited 11-26-2000).]
  12. Hi...

    I've definitely noticed it (and admit to a *tad* bit of jealousy over it). Cars notwithstanding, I can't often participate in events like flying home for every menial holiday, skydiving (a trip some of my fellow graduates have planned; not that I'd go even if I had the money [​IMG])or other social goings-on.

    Fortunately, some of my classmates are not only the first to go to medical school in their family, but the first to have any higher education at all - the distinct minority, albeit. The whole process of applying to medical school and residency is so darn expensive as well, and there is little in the way of resources for that. I'm living off my credit card now that I've paid for my ERAS applications; with every rejection I think..."well, there goes another $25/dinner for a few days/half a pair of shoes," etc.

    Thanks for posting the abstract; twas very interesting indeed.
  13. alshepard

    alshepard Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2000
    Spouse's income is absolutely taken into account when assessing the student's income. At one of my med school interviews, the fin aid staff member addressed the parent income question. Her info was geared to private schools (primarily in the northeast.) She said that to be eligible for institutional aid you needed to provide parental info. The ONLY exception, your parents are dead. I have been financially independent since 19, I have been married for 7 years, my mother actually owes me money, I will be 29 in a month but I still have to give my parent's info to be considered for SOME forms of aid. Some prior posts were correct in making certain distinctions. To borrow Stafford loans you do not need to provide parental info on your FAFSA after a certain age. To be eligible for certain loans and scholarships, you need to get a hold of your parents' fincial data. I agree that it is,in many cases, ridiculous. There is no chance of my parents paying for my med school (as my undergrad loan payments demonstrate) but if there's a chance I can get some additional aid, I will provide my neighbor's W-2's. That being said, if you get into med school somebody will lend you the money. The interest rate is really the only issue.
  14. Maire

    Maire Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2000
    Topeka, Kansas, USA
    For certain scholarships, the federal government REQUIRES parental information, and the only way to avoid giving it is by providing them with a death certificate!!! I kid you not. I am in my 40s and have been married for over 20 years and I wouldn't apply to any of those programs because I have no intention of asking my parents to provide financial information.

    Your spouse's income does count, and does affect the amount AND the cost of the money you can receive. In addition, I'd be damn careful about borrowing maximal loan amounts and investing it - we were told that could cost you all future financial aid. Government-subsidized financial aid CANNOT be invested. Now if you use your financial aid for school, your spouse can invest from his/her income, I'm sure, but you had better not get caught investing government money that was given to you for school unless you want to be in a whole lot of trouble with the wrong people.
  15. ntxawmx

    ntxawmx Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 1999
    Hey y'all,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your input. I didn't realize I'd get so much response. Finances are obviously a huge part of medical school.

    Best of luck to all of you.


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