- Do your “homework” NOW and be PROACTIVE and CREATIVE. It will PAY OFF, literally!
The following resources and links will get you started and are applicable to all health professions, not just those presenting the information.
- Become knowledgeable about basic financial aid information. If you are a dental student see the Dental Loan Organizer and Calculator
- Put together a financial aid toolkit
- Learn about Federal Student Aid
- Know about repayment strategies for health professions graduates
- Learn about debt management
- Check your professional school association websites, available in the Helpful Websites information for your career track. Example: The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine has general information on repayment strategies for osteopathic medical school graduates and income-related repayment plans, consolidation, and public service loan forgiveness programs
- Use search engines to explore all possibilities: professional organization websites, school websites, civic organizations, state and local organizations, potential employers, churches, hospitals, communities, foundations, etc.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report and check for accuracy. Pay off all credit card debt, if applicable
- Consider the costs involved in applying, as well as in matriculating. Application fees alone can easily top $1,000 and there are travel costs as well. Average debt for some professional programs can be $250,000. Find out the specifics for your profession
- Look into fee assistance programs if you are financially disadvantaged. Check the websites of application services and schools for details
- Since many professional schools require financial information from both you and your parents, regardless of your age and/or your relationship to them, alert your parents about early tax preparation next year for FAFSA purposes
- If you are an international student, you will have to find schools that accept non-U.S. students and then guarantee to pay the tuition OR identify a United States citizen to co-sign a loan
There Are Four Basic Financing Options
1. Gift aid: scholarships and grants through the schools, corporations, or various organizations. Some categories of gift aid include:
- Lawrence Johnson Scholarship - full-tuition scholarship for Juniata students at the University of Rochester; available every four years for students accepted to the University of Rochester for the entering class of 2014, 2018, etc.
- Need-based: check with the schools
- Health profession-based: examples include Medicine, Nursing and Various health professions
- Corporation-based: check with specific companies
- Honor society-based: check those in which you are a member
- Professional organization-based: including those to which your parents belong
- Religion-based: check websites for your faith
- Cultural and ethnic-based: example, Minorities
- Gender-based: example, Women in dental school
- Athlete based: check your association
- State-based: awards for need or merit
- State or county medical societies
- Service organizations: example, Daughters of the American Revolution
- International fellowship awards for students interested in professional study abroad: ex. Rhodes, Marshall, Gates Cambridge, Mitchell
2. Student loans: The professional schools cover this information at your interview visit. Some examples are Federal Stafford Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans and private lenders.
3. Employment: Some examples include work study, assistantships, or outside work, but this is very difficult to do in professional school!
4. Service obligations:
- Loan repayment programs: example, Medicine
- Military opportunities
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences - no tuition for medical and nursing schools in exchange for service in one of the branches of the military
- Health Professions Scholarship Programs: full scholarships for several different health fields (examples include medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, nursing—depends on the branch of the service) in exchange for service in the military.
- Providing care to under-served communities
- IBR (Income Based Repayment): after 25 years, loans will be forgiven if all of the payments are made on time
- Public service loan forgiveness
Specific school programs: ex. Primary Care tracks. However, be sure of the conditions. Some require an “upfront commitment”. If you follow through there are significant financial advantages, but if you change your mind, there are stiff penalties.