Planning for Success
Success in the classroom is no accident. It starts with a plan and requires steadfast determination, focus, initiative, and hard work. The Office of Financial Aid is committed to your success and would like to encourage students to utilize all available resources in the process of managing their financial affairs and planning for the future. We invite you to explore our comprehensive listing of links, resources, and planning tools, and contact us if you have questions. Anytime you need assistance, remember that our door is always open.
Cash Course is your guide to making informed financial choices. The site provides tool and resources covering a wide range of topics such as protecting credit, preventing identity theft, budgeting, financial planning, and managing debt. Get prepared for whatever life has in store. Register for a free account, and take charge of your money.
Financial Literacy 101 is a resource provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is intended to increase overall financial literacy among current and prospective medical students. The site is a wealth of information and features lessons and exercises covering a wide variety of topics. Examples include Financial Planning, Understanding Identify Theft, Understanding Capitalization, Postponing Repayment, and many more. After creating a free account, students can complete select modules and exercises to earn a verifiable completion certificate. Get started today.
For students who rely upon student loans to pay for the cost of their education, attaining and protecting a strong credit report is paramount. While Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to most students and are not based upon credit, they will not provide enough funding to cover all of a typical student’s educationally related costs. Students who wish to use loans to cover all of their expenses may need to borrow supplemental funds from additional sources such as credit-based Federal Direct PLUS Loans and private education loans. For aspiring physicians seeking these types of loans, credit management will play a major role in determining whether an application is approved.
Use a common-sense approach to maintaining a healthy credit report. Pay your bills on time. When possible, use cash or debit cards, and keep credit balances low. Don’t close old credit accounts, and don’t open new ones. Keep borrowing to a minimum, and always budget your funds carefully.
In addition, make a habit of monitoring your credit report. By law, you are entitled to one free copy of your report every year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. You can choose to access all three reports at once, or place three separate requests throughout a given year. Reports may be requested at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp.
Repaying Federal Student Loans
It is important to remember that federal student loans must be repaid, even if your financial circumstances become difficult. They cannot be cancelled because you do not complete your education, or because you do not secure the job you expect.
A benefit to federal student loans is that, under certain conditions, students may be able to temporarily postpone loan payments through grace, deferment, or forbearance. Students enrolled in school, serving in the military, experiencing financial hardship, or completing a mandatory medical residency may qualify for one or more of these options.
Another benefit to federal loans is that students have a choice of several repayment plans designed to meet their individual needs. There are even plans designed to reduce a qualifying student’s monthly payment during periods of financial hardship. For eligible borrowers, the repayment period can range from ten to twenty-five years.
Borrowers who have multiple federal student loans may wish to consolidate them into a single Direct Consolidation Loan. This may simplify repayment for those who are currently making separate loan payments to different loan holders or servicers, as they will only have one monthly payment to make. However, there may be tradeoffs to consider. The Dept. of Education provides an excellent resource for students who want to learn more about the advantages and possible disadvantages of consolidation.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and its Council of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CSFAA) provide educational debt management modules designed specifically for upcoming osteopathic medical school graduates. The modules are excellent resources to utilize when preparing your long-term debt management strategy.
Student Loan Update – The Real Cost of Your D.O. Degree presents tips and information designed to assist medical students in becoming wise, well-informed borrowers.
Repayment Strategies for Osteopathic Medical School Graduates – Class of 2014, describes a common sense approach to helping upcoming graduates select a repayment strategy to meet their repayment and career goals and objectives during residency, fellowship, and practice.
Income-Related Repayment Plans, Consolidation, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) as Components of Your Repayment Strategy, delivers an understandable description of income-related plans, consolidation, and PSLF – what they are and how they can be used in tandem as part of an effective repayment strategy.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. For more information, please review the PSLF Fact Sheet.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Programs
The NHSC offers three loan repayment options for primary care providers who work at approved community sites.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers health professionals the opportunity to pay off qualified student loans while assisting the IHS in meeting the staffing needs of Indian health programs. The LRP awards loan repayment to health professionals practicing in specific health profession disciplines who are willing to commit to an initial two-year service obligation while working in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs
NIH offers loan repayment programs to outstanding health professionals who choose to pursue careers in biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research. If you commit at least two years to conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity, NIH may repay up to $35,000 of your qualified student loan debt per year, including most undergraduate, graduate, and medical school loans.
State Loan Forgiveness/Repayment Programs
State governments often provide loan repayment programs as an incentive for service. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides an excellent resource for obtaining information on these programs. In addition, the NHSC provides a chart which shows all states that participate in their State Loan Repayment Program.
Military Health Professions Loan Repayment Program
The HPLRP is available from some branches of the US military. For terms and conditions, please contact a service branch representative.
Counseling & Training
- Federal Entrance, Financial Awareness, and Exit Counseling
- Exit Counseling Guide For Federal Student Loan Borrowers
- Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt
Other Loan Resources
- Direct Loan Deferment/Forbearance Requests
- Direct Loan MPN
- Direct Loan Repayment Calculator
- National Student Loan Data System Student Access
- Loan Servicer Contact Info