Meeting the cost of a medical education is a topic of concern for most medical students, their parents, and, if married, their spouses. Students of the Howard University College of Medicine are fortunate that a lower tuition is charged here than at most of the other private medical schools in the country. Indeed, our tuition is comparable to many public medical schools. Although it may be less expensive to attend Howard University than many other medical schools, educational costs exceed personal resources for the majority of our students. This difference between expenses and resources can be met through a variety of financial aid programs. Some of these programs are directly available to the student, while others can only be identified through submission of an application for financial aid to the College of Medicine. For each student who applies and is eligible for aid, a financial aid package will be recommended consisting of an expected family contribution plus scholarships and/or loans. Students should realize, however, that all expenses cannot be met through financial aid. Every effort should be made to supplement financial aid through summer employment and earnings prior to medical school. However, do not plan to work during medical school.
Each student should formulate a carefully planned expense budget. This budget should include tuition and fees, books, equipment, supplies, rent, food, transportation, and personal expenses. The student should make every effort to identify ways to reduce expenditures, such as sharing an apartment with a roommate.
Who Should Apply for Financial Aid
Use the information in this booklet to estimate expenses for the academic year. Discuss with your parents, guardians, and other relatives the amount they are able to contribute annually toward the cost of your medical education. Add to this figure expected contributions from your spouse's earnings (if applicable), from your earnings, summer savings, personal assets, and other income, and from financial aid expected from external sources for which application through the school is not necessary. If your identified financial resources total less than your estimated educational expenses, then you should apply for aid.
How Is Need for Financial Aid Determined
The College of Medicine's Financial Aid Office determines a student's need for financial aid by subtracting the student's total expected family contribution, as determined by Federal Methodology need analysis, from the expense budget as established by the University for the student's year of study. The Financial Aid Manager may exercise professional judgment to adjust data that determines the student's family contribution and/or the student's expense budget when individual special circumstances (such illness or dependent care) indicate that such adjustments would be appropriate.
Independent Student Status
Under current need analysis methodology, all graduate and professional students are considered to be independent. However, expected parental contribution, as determined by need analysis, must be considered in determining eligibility for certain loans and scholarships, including University Scholarships, Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS), Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS), and Primary Care Loans (PCL).
Student with Dependents
Students with dependents generally will have greater expenses than students without dependents. However, financial aid will only cover a student's educationally-related expenses. It is expected that the additional expenses related to having dependents will be met from sources other than financial aid. The exception to this is child care. If child care expenses cannot be met from other sources and additional aid is needed to cover these costs such that the student can attend school, the Financial Aid Manager may use professional judgment to increase the student's budget and may recommend additional financial aid.
It is expected that spouses will seek employment, if possible. If the spouse is a student, the College of Medicine will not consider providing financial aid for any of his or her direct educational or related expenses, except when the spouse is also a medical student at Howard University.
Financial Aid for International Students
Financial aid resources available to assist international students are extremely limited. Therefore, it is imperative that international students make definite financial arrangements for the four-year in-school period before arriving. The College of Medicine must be notified of these plans at the time of admission. An acceptable financial plan is a condition of matriculation for admitted international students. Obligations will include tuition and fees, books and supplies, room, board, travel and miscellaneous expenses.
Approval of GradPLUS and private loans is based on creditworthiness, not financial need as determined by need analysis. Lenders require a good credit report on the applicant and cosigner, if applicable. If your credit is deemed unsatisfactory, GradPLUS and private loans will not be approved. Although lenders may vary slightly in their criteria for good credit, most agree that a credit report cannot include bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, charge-offs, open judgments, or excessive past due accounts within the past two years. In addition, there must be no prior educational loan defaults, unless they have been paid in full or satisfactory arrangements for repayment of same have been made. Moreover, for co-signers, GradPLUS and private lenders will calculate a debt-to-income ratio, including the amount of the loan being applied for. If the debt-to-income ratio exceeds a certain index, the loan may be denied.
Before You Sign on the Dotted Line
Before a student signs an application for a loan or a promissory note, he or she should read it carefully, ask questions, and complete the following steps:
- Determine the maximum amount that may be borrowed per academic year, as well as the maximum aggregate amount;
- Determine the interest rate;
- Determine whether the interest is deferred until after graduation, subsidized, or payable while the student is in school;
- Determine whether the interest, if not deferred, is payable monthly, quarterly, or annually;
- Determine the fees that will be taken out of the loan for origination and insurance;
- Determine the policies governing capitalization or compounding of interest;
- Determine whether the loan may be repaid at any time without penalty;
- Determine if repayment of the principal can be deferred through residency training;
- Determine the maturity date, which is the date upon which the promissory note becomes due and payable;
- Determine the grace period;
- Determine the number of years allowed for repayment of the loan and the repayment options available;
- Determine whether the loan can be forgiven for practice in a physician shortage area;
- Determine what the minimum monthly payment will be during the repayment of the loan;
- Determine what benefits are offered during the repayment period, such as interest reduction for on time payments and/or automatic payments directly from your bank account; and
- Ensure that you are given a Disclosure Statement signed by the appropriate authority at the lending institution. A Disclosure Statement is a legal document and a record of the loan. All contracts between lenders and borrowers for loans are recorded locally or federally as standing legal obligations until terminated through repayment.