Welcome to Student Financial Aid!
As a student attending the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, you are making a priceless investment in your future. The Office of Financial Aid is committed to your success and stands ready to guide you through the process of financing your education. We strive to provide every student with the resources and information needed in order to develop a sound strategy for meeting your education related expenses. Anytime you need assistance, remember that our door is always open.
The Office of Financial Aid supports the endeavors of the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and empowers future physicians to fulfill their dreams by providing quality advisory services and assistance in selecting and obtaining student financial aid. We promote a student-centered culture which emphasizes continuous learning, efficiency, responsiveness, and open communication in order to provide quality, personalized service. We provide our staff with the technology and training required to exceed our high expectations and pursue professional excellence. Focused on the best interests of the student, institution, and taxpayer, our judicious recommendations adhere to the highest ethical, social, and professional standards.
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD/PROASSURANCE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BLUE CROSS) and the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) announce an important initiative to further expand access to primary care physicians and further improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare for our members and Alabamians. To help meet this need and ensure members continue to have access to quality, affordable healthcare, BLUE CROSS through its private foundation, The Caring Foundation, is investing in the future of the Primary Care Physician Network by making available $3 million in scholarships, over a three-year period, to ACOM for the benefit of eligible third and fourth year students.
ProAssurance is also a contributing sponsor to this program and will participate as a curriculum and governance advisor.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program are low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Eligibility is not based upon need. The student is responsible for paying all interest charges, and interest begins to accrue the day the loan is disbursed. Repayment of the unsubsidized loan may be deferred during in-school, grace, and deferment periods; however, the accrued interest may be capitalized. Interest rates and fees are shown in the chart below.
Eligible medical students may borrow up to $40,500 per nine-month academic year from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. Loans may be prorated for 10, 11 and 12 month academic years, per federal guidelines.
The combined Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized aggregate loan limit for eligible medical students is $224,000. The aggregate loan amounts include any Federal Stafford Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, Federal Direct Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans received as an undergraduate and/or graduate student.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students can use to help pay education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based upon need. The student is responsible for paying all interest charges, and interest begins to accrue the day the loan is disbursed. Repayment of the PLUS loan may be deferred during in-school and deferment periods; however, the accrued interest may be capitalized. Interest rates and fees are shown in the chart below.
Annually, eligible medical students may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid received. There is no aggregate limit.
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history or documenting, to the U.S. Department of Education’s satisfaction, extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history. See Adverse Credit History & PLUS Loans for more information.
Adverse Credit History & PLUS Loans
A professional student with an adverse credit history is prohibited from obtaining a PLUS Loan unless he or she meets additional criteria. The Department of Education obtains a credit report for each loan applicant from at least one national credit bureau. Your credit history may be considered adverse if you are experiencing any of the following credit conditions:
- Bankruptcy discharge within the past five years.
- Voluntary surrender of personal property to avoid repossession within the last five years.
- Repossession of collateral within the last five years.
- Foreclosure proceedings started.
- Foreclosure within the last five years.
- Conveying your real property that is subject to a mortgage (by deed) to your lender to avoid foreclosure (deed in lieu of foreclosure).
- Accounts currently 90 days or more delinquent.
- Collection accounts that have been placed in collection during the two years preceding the date of the credit report with a balance greater than zero.
- Charge-offs/write-offs that have been charged off during the two years preceding the date of the credit report with a balance greater than zero.
- Wage garnishment within the last five years.
- Defaulting on a loan, even if the claim has been paid.
- Lease or contract terminated by default.
- County/state/federal tax lien within the past five years.
Applicants cannot be rejected for a PLUS Loan because they have no credit history—i.e., the absence of a credit history cannot be construed as an adverse credit history. For more details on adverse credit history, go to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/faqs.action, click “credit check,” and click “what is considered adverse credit.”
Someone with an adverse credit history can qualify for a PLUS Loan by securing an endorser who doesn’t have an adverse credit history. Instead of securing an endorser, an applicant may appeal a determination of adverse credit history to the Department by documenting extenuating circumstances (see https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/whatYouNeed.action?page=credit). Note: The Department makes the final decision on whether to make a loan to a student.
A student with an adverse credit history must also complete the Department’s credit counseling for borrowers called PLUS Counseling.
Interest Rates and Fees
|Interest Rates for Direct Loans First Disbursed on or After July 1, 2016|
|Loan Type||Borrower Type||Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/16 and before 7/1/17||Loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/17 and before 7/1/18|
|Direct Subsidized Loans||Undergraduate||3.76%||4.45%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Undergraduate||3.76%||4.45%|
|Direct Unsubsidized Loans||Graduate or Professional||5.31%||6%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||Parents and Graduate or Professional Students||6.31%||7%|
|Loan Type||First Disbursement Date||Loan Fee|
|Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans||On or after 10/1/16 and before 10/1/17||1.069%|
|On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18||1.066%|
|Direct PLUS Loans||On or after 10/1/16 and before 10/1/17||4.276%|
|On or after 10/1/17 and before 10/1/18||4.264%|
*Loans first disbursed prior to Oct. 1, 2015, have different loan fees.
For more information on Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/.
In order to qualify for federal student aid funds, a student must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program of study. Enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home institution may be considered enrollment in the home institution for purposes of applying for federal student aid. The student must be carrying an academic workload that is as least one-half of the minimum program requirements for a full-time student.
The National Student Loan Data System
As a consumer, you need to know that the U.S. Department of Education will post your Federal Direct Loan data on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which is accessible by guarantee agencies, lenders and institutions which the Department of Education has authorized access to this data.
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the national database of information about loans and grants awarded to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants during their complete life cycle, from aid approval through disbursement, repayment, deferment, delinquency, and closure. At any time, students can obtain a free report of their federal student aid history by logging into http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/ and clicking on “My Data.”
Students who are not eligible for federal student loans, scholarships, or other aid programs, or those who wish to supplement their financial aid package may opt to apply for funding through a private lender. While private loans, sometimes referenced as “alternative loans,” may be a good option in some circumstances, students should be aware that these types of loans are not subject to the same oversight and regulations which cover federal loans, and they do not qualify for the same benefits as federal loans. The terms and conditions of loans made under Title IV may be more favorable than those of private education loans. In many cases, it is advisable for students to exhaust their federal eligibility before borrowing from a private lender. Please note that a student’s total financial aid package, including loans, may never exceed the Student Budget.
The Department of Education provides a free resource to assist students with identifying the differences between federal and private student loans. In addition, all students should review the Dept.’s publication, Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid. Students are also encouraged to review Office of Financial Aid’s list of private loan guidelines before applying to a private lender.
Any student who wishes to borrow from a private student loan will be required to complete the federal student aid application process and review their award notice before the private loan application can be processed by ACOM. The purpose of this measure is to assist students in making fully informed borrowing decisions by ensuring that they are made fully aware of their eligibility for federal student loans.Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Director of Financial Aid.
For students who conclude that private loans are the right option, we recommend that you review many lenders and compare costs and terms before borrowing. Our office will process a private loan application with the lender of your choice. However, we cannot recommend any particular private lender. All borrowing decisions are the responsibility of the student.
For information on how to apply for a variety of institutional and outside scholarships and grants, please review our comprehensive list of Scholarship Opportunities. This time-saving resource also includes links to a number of free scholarship, grant, and loan repayment program search services available to eligible medical students.
In order to be considered for one of these awards, students should apply early and follow the application instructions provided by the awarding organization. Unless a scholarship specifically states that it is automatically awarded, scholarships are awarded competitively, and consideration does not guarantee that a scholarship will be approved. To ensure maximum consideration, it is imperative that students are knowledgeable of the specific requirements and deadlines associated with all scholarship programs.
Please note that most of the aid information shown on the list, such as program descriptions, eligibility requirements, deadlines, and award amounts, has been obtained from external sources and is subject to change without notice. If you discover a broken link or information that has become outdated, please notify the Office of Financial Aid by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving Those Who Serve
The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine is proud to assist service members, veterans, and their families in accessing the education benefits they have earned through their years of service to our nation.
If you have served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible for participation in one or more of the GI Bill® education benefit programs administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, if you are the spouse or child of a deceased or disabled veteran or a service member, you may qualify for education benefits as well.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.