How to Apply for Financial Aid for Medical School - dummies

How to Apply for Financial Aid for Medical School

By Carleen Eaton

Applying for financial aid of any type means entering a complex world of regulations and interest rates. The starting point for medical school financial aid, like undergraduate financial aid, is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The information you enter on the FAFSA is transmitted to the financial aid offices of the medical schools that you select and is used to determine your EFC (eligibility for aid) and financial need.

The FAFSA is available online and may be submitted as early as January. The deadline for submission is different for each school, but don’t wait until the last minute to send your FAFSA; delaying means waiting longer to find out what your financial aid package is as well as potentially missing out on particular types of aid.

Along with other information regarding your background and financial situation, you need to submit tax information to complete the FAFSA. The easiest way to submit your tax info is by uploading it automatically onto the FAFSA with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).

If you fill out the FAFSA online, you can opt to answer questions within the application that determine your eligibility to use the DRT. If you’re eligible, you’ll be provided with a link to access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

Even if you’re not sure which medical school you’ll be attending, you can still proceed with filling out the FAFSA by designating the federal school codes for medical schools you’ve been accepted to and are still under consideration at.

You must submit a new FAFSA each academic year in order to receive financial aid. In addition, some medical schools require their own supplemental applications in addition to the FAFSA, especially if you want to apply for institutional aid.

Keep in close contact with the financial aid office throughout the process of applying for financial aid. Medical school financial aid officers are experts on the process of applying for aid and are there to help you along the way.

Financial aid officers can also provide you with information about outside grants and scholarships you may be eligible to apply for, help you attain an emergency loan if an unexpected expense arises, and provide counseling about budgeting, debt management, and loan repayment.