Top 5 Financial Aid Tips for Medical Students
- By Jessica M. Kerchner
Controlling educational cost lowers entry barriers to medical school and enables graduating students to focus on their optimum career choice unburdened by repayment worries. In an era characterized by uncertainty over medical care financing, it is increasingly important to be proactive to ensure that medical school graduates can comfortably repay the investment they made in their education. The Medical Student Financial Services team is here to help educate and guide you through the process, and ensure that you start your career as a physician in good financial shape. Here are five of the top things for medical students to be thinking about to help keep educational debt under control.
1. File your FAFSA and State Grant applications by March 1st each year (include your parent’s information to be reviewed for a need-based scholarship)
- All FAFSAs that are received by UVM’s priority deadline of March 1st (and include parental data) will be reviewed for all forms of institutional funding, including grants, scholarships, and UVM loans.
- State grants are available from many states. Vermont residents should review grant information and apply online through VSAC, who administers the Vermont State Grant Program. Out-of-State residents should check with their state’s higher education agency about the availability and application process for state grants. State grants should be applied for early each year since they are normally awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
2. Find and Apply for Scholarships
Do not assume that scholarships will find you. Becoming a scholarship recipient requires time and energy on the part of the student to find scholarship opportunities and apply. The following websites can assist you in your search:
3. Start tracking your loans while you are a student
- Use an online loan tracker, such as AAMC FIRST Med Loans Organizer, to track your education debt while you are a student. Knowing your total loan debt while you are enrolled will give you more information to make informed financial decisions while you are a student.
- Understand the interest that is accruing on your loans while you are a student. Paying some of the interest off before your loans enter repayment is a strategic way to pay less on your loans in the future.
4. Only borrow what you need (and return any excess loan money)
- Using your financial aid to cover your living expenses is very different than creating a budget from an income that is earned. Students who cover their expenses with financial aid will first need to create a spending plan to determine how much income (financial aid) they will need and then accept that amount in their financial aid award.
- We encourage all students who are requesting loans to use the AAMC Monthly Budget Worksheet to estimate your living expenses and determine how much you actually need to borrow.
- All students have 120 days from the disbursement date of their loan to request a reduction and/or cancelation of the funds they received.
5. Ask Questions
- Reach out and ask questions. Whether you have questions about loan repayment, debt management, or identity theft – our team is here to help.
Medical SFS Coordinator
Courtyard at Given N-125
Student Financial Services
223 Waterman Building
85 S. Prospect Street
COM Financial Guidance Counselor
Available by appt.