Tips for a Successful Transition to Medical School

The following are some tips and information that will help you prepare for financing your medical school education.

Pay off your Consumer Debt. If you have a monthly car or credit card payment, we would encourage you to pay them off/down before you come to medical school. Federal Regulations prohibit awarding additional federal aid for this type of consumer debt.

Check your credit! The reality is you may need to obtain a federal loan that requires you to be credit worthy. The Graduate PLUS Loan is a federal loan that many of you will need to fill the gap between the unsubsidized loan and your actual expenses. This type of loan requires you to be credit worthy. Check your credit, if you have negative findings on your report, clear it up now. You may obtain a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.  (The Unsubsidized Federal Loan does not require a credit check).

Do not allow yourself to obtain additional debt. The summer before medical school is exciting, and many students partake in events that ultimately land them into deeper debt. Be cautious and look to friends and family for assistance. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you additional aid to pay for professional clothing, vacations, engagement rings, weddings, presents, veterinarian bills, home repairs, moving, etc.

Learn to cook and bring your lunch. You can save money and time if you learn to make some simple, inexpensive lunches and dinners. We have microwaves and refrigerators in the student lounge.

Make a budget for yourself and stick to it. Start thinking of ways to cut your spending. Ways to cut include removing yourself from designer coffee drinks, cutting your cable bill, and finding a room-mate to share expenses.

Enlist the help of your parents, friends and family. Just as at times it will take a village to treat your patients, the same holds true for you at this point of your medical career. Let your friends and family help you! Expenses such as professional clothing, prescriptions, eyeglasses, can become burdensome for you. Remember you are on a fixed income.

What type of federal aid can you expect? The federal government eliminated the Federal Subsidized Loan for Graduate and Professional students. This means the federal types of aid you will awarded will be limited to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. The maximum you can expect from the Unsubsidized Loan is $47,167 (for 12 months). The rest of your expenses may be covered by the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. You will receive half of your aid in the fall the other half in the spring. A limited number of students may be eligible for Federal Work Study and Federal Perkins Loans.

Changes in residency classification. The financial aid office is not authorized to change or offer advice on conditions that would allow you to become an Arizona resident. For more information regarding residency classification follow this link: http://registrar.arizona.edu/residency/residency-classification-tuition-purposes.

If you have monthly expenses that are higher than the standard cost of attendance: In order to realize additional funding for expenses that are greater than the standard allowance, you must complete a Cost of Attendance Re-evaluation form from our office (not available until after classes begin in July). We may re-evaluate your housing, food and transportation expenses. Financial aid is meant to assist with costs related to a student’s education.  Regulations prohibit us from including many expenses incurred by a spouse or dependents such as medical expenses and insurance.  Please plan accordingly.

Student Loan Debt: Student Loans are a reality of Professional Higher Education. Don’t let the costs discourage you. Most medical students borrow at least a portion of the money they need to finance their education. According to AAMC for the Class of 2018, the median debt for graduating students was $200,000. That’s significant debt. However, a medical education is an investment that will eventually pay for itself.

Federal Regulations prohibit us from providing you an advance of your aid. Plan to receive your financial aid disbursement the week your classes begin.  If you find yourself short during the semester come in and talk to us we may be able to help you acquire additional funding. Bring your budget with you.