Do You Qualify For Financial Aid?December 6, 2013
More than half of all full-time medical students in the United States receive some sort of financial aid. Even if you think you will not qualify, you might in fact be eligible. Take the time to apply, and you may be very surprised by the results. Remember: you can only receive financial aid if you apply for it.
How to apply
First of all, you will need to fill in the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Once the form is filled and submitted, a general formula is applied to all students in order to determine two things – whether they qualify for financial aid and how much aid they will need. The formula basically calculates the difference between the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the tuition fees of the particular course that the student has been accepted into. The difference in amount will then determine the aid eligibility of the student.
Some medical schools may give you complete financial coverage whereas others may only grant you financial aid for a fraction of your expenses.
Qualifications for financial aid
In order to be eligible to receive any kind of aid, the very first requirement is that you have to be a citizen of the United States or an eligible non-citizen with a social security number.
Other qualifications include:
- A General Education Development (GED) or high school diploma certificate or you should have received a passing score from any examination approved by U.S. Department of Education. One such exam is the Ability-to-Benefit exam.
- Acceptance or enrollment in the course for which you seek financial aid and a demonstration that you need financial aid for the course.
- Above average academic grades while attending school.
In addition to all of the above, you also need to submit a certificate that states that you do not have any default on any other student loan payment and a certificate which states that the aid will be strictly used for educational purposes only.
The Department of Education in the US may compare any of this information with other federal bodies in order to verify that the information is authentic. The Department of Justice may also look to see if the student has ever been denied aid due to any drug related problems. These students who have lost out on aid due to drugs are allowed to reapply for aid only conditional to passing two drug tests that are approved by the Department of Education.
Other factors that can affect your qualification for financial aid include ethnic factors, the kind of course that you have enrolled in, whether it is a full time or part time course, any military service and achievements in sports or other extracurricular activities. It should also be noted that students who are under the age of 24 years are still considered to be dependent on their parents or guardians so being under 24 years of age could affect your chances of getting financial aid.
Through submission of the FAFSA, students can also apply for aid through non-federal bodies and private organizations, which is an avenue worth exploring.