Types of Financial Aid
Financial aid is awarded to students based on merit, financial need or both. Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement or some special characteristic, skill, talent or ability. Need-based aid is given to students who can show they have financial need. Most medical school financial aid is awarded on the basis of both need and merit.
Financial Aid can be categorized in three ways:
Gift-aid, or aid that doesn't have to be repaid, can come in the form of a scholarship or grant. Scholarships which obligate you to service at the completion of your residency training are commonly referred to as service grants.
Loans are the most common form of financial assistance for medical students. Federal loan programs at the MU School of Medicine include the Federal Direct Loan Program (the largest program), the Federal Perkins Loan, the Primary Care Loan and the Loan for Disadvantaged Students. Our school also has an institutional loan program.
Work Study is a stipend earned in exchange for work or a service that you provide. This is a very small component of financing considering the academic load carried by medical students.
Definition of Need
Financial need is the difference between total educational expenses and the amount the student is expected to contribute.
Cost of education - expected family contribution = financial need.
Total educational expenses (educational fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses and transportation expenses) usually are called the cost of education. Day care expenses for dependent children also may be added to your cost with proper documentation. The amount the student is expected to pay is called the expected family contribution, or EFC.
How to Determine the Expected Family Contribution
Each year students and parents across America fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and send it to the federal processor. Using federally legislated guidelines, the form asks about income, number in the household, number in college, assets of the family and other questions to help determine what the student is expected to contribute. It should be remembered that while the U.S. Department of Education considers medical students (as well as all graduate and professional students) as independent, the Department of Health and Human Services requires parental information be submitted on loan and scholarship programs. Accordingly, the School of Medicine recommends that applicants complete both the student and parent sections to ensure that he or she is considered for all the aid available.
The federal processor will process and return the information submitted on a Student Aid Report (SAR) which serves as an acknowledgement that the FAFSA was processed. If necessary, you can make corrections and add schools online using the PIN number supplied by the U.S. Department of Education. The federal processor also will electronically send the information on the SAR to the colleges and universities listed on the SAR.
Quality Assurance and Verification
Each year the federal government requires that schools verify the accuracy of the data submitted on the FAFSA forms. Therefore, we may ask you to submit various documents, such as a federal tax return, to our office. Disbursement of any federal financial aid will be held until we have received and processed the requested documents.
Your Financial Aid Package or Award
Once the MU Financial Aid Office has received your FAFSA results and other required forms, a financial aid package is developed based on your financial need. We will send you an electronic award letter outlining the financial aid for which you are eligible and what you need to do to actually receive the money. If you are not eligible for need-based aid, we will tell you about loans offered by the federal government and others that are not based on need. If you accept loans on your award letter, you normally will be sent promissory notes or a web address to complete electronically.
Your eligibility for aid is based primarily on prior-year income and the asset data you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Prior-year income may be an inaccurate indication of a medical student's ability to contribute to his or her education since most students do not have time to work while enrolled. With proper documentation, the financial aid coordinator can use professional judgment to address this problem. However, you must first file the FAFSA with the prior-year income. Once you get your Student Aid Report (SAR) back, contact the financial aid coordinator for further instructions.
Receiving your Financial Aid
All financial aid received, except federal work-study, is applied directly to your MU account. This account is established in the Cashier's Office once we register you. Your account consists of all tuition, fees, room and board (if you live in campus housing), books and any other University charges. Usually one-half of your aid is credited to your account for the fall semester and the other half is credited for the spring.