The IU School of Medicine Financial Aid Guide for Medical Students is published as a reference guide for present and prospective medical students and provides information about financial aid programs available to medical students attending the IU School of Medicine (IUSM) nine campuses.It is important to recognize that it costs considerably more to provide a quality medical education than what the student actually pays in tuition. Unlike the non-resident medical students, every resident medical student attending IUSM benefits from the subsidies provided by the state of Indiana. In addition, IUSM benefits from supportive organizations and its many generous friends and alumni who assist in making a medical education affordable for all IUSM students.
The purpose of financial aid programs is to assist medical students whose personal and/or family resources are not sufficient to meet the total cost of their medical school education. Any medical student who requires financial support other than through personal and/or family resources will find this guide useful. The IUSM Student Financial Services (SFS) works closely with medical students in identifying and understanding the funding sources available.
IUSM medical students who require financial assistance are also encouraged to utilize the guide in efforts to identify and apply for non-school sources. The limited resources available through IUSM scholarships limit the school’s ability to offer significant help and many medical students turn to borrowing through the federal loan programs. Private loans are generally the main source of funding for International Students and fourth year medical students who need additional funds to cover residency relocation expenses.
Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)
An estimated COA for determining financial aid eligibility is provided and serves as an estimated perspective of cost. It is possible to personalize the financial aid budget further by completing a Professional Judgment Appeal Form (PJAF) to include the purchase of a computer or include childcare expenses. In the fourth year, the inclusion of residency interview expenses as well as away rotation expenses are allowed. This PJAF can be obtained by printing the form using the link provided on our website under FORMS. The form gives students the option of increasing the COA for items not included in the standard financial aid budget. Any adjustment to the standard cost of attendance allows for additional borrowing.
Key Points About the Standard Budget
The medical student living allowance portion of the financial aid budget is established each year by IUPUI. Tuition is determined by the school and recommended to the IU Board of Trustees for approval. The COA includes tuition, fees (set by the medical school and IUPUI), books/supplies, and a reasonable living allowance. All medical students are given a standard COA based on a 9-month academic year while the 3rd and 4th year medical students have an additional COA period for the summer term. The federal guidelines dictate that the school must use the standard or adjusted financial aid budget when determining federal financial aid eligibility and awarding financial assistance.
The COA maintains a manageable level of debt. Your own individual COA may be somewhat lower than the institutional COA. As a result, we advocate borrowing only what you personally need to maintain a comfortable basic existence. The COA allows for a realistic standard of living based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To work within the COA living allowance (Housing, Personal and Transportation) parameters, medical students must make some very specific lifestyle choices. Students must live within the limits of the institutional budget, and to do that, they have to set spending priorities. Non-discretionary items such as books, tuition and fees should be allocated first with discretionary items last. We encourage students to get into the habit of budgeting.
Finally, and most importantly, the inability to maintain a budget and keep track of resources predicts substantial long-term financial difficulties in the future. Think of budgeting as a necessary tool in making informed decisions about finances. We encourage students to consider purchasing a money management software that will help them in keeping and tracking their budget. Programs like QUICKEN are excellent tools to use. Mint.com is another tool that is free and be used with cell phones and tablets. Keeping track of money is a painful process, but the sooner you get into the habit of doing it the better it will help you realize the importance of budgeting later.
The following economical and practical ideas can assist you in minimizing your financial obligations while in medical school. Don’t expect to be able to do all of them; select those that make the most sense and always be mindful of ways to save money and stay within a budget.
- Live with parents, other relatives or roommate(s).
- Shop and compare for an apartment. Consider convenience, security, lease terms and whether or not utilities are included. Get a sublet clause in your lease if you intend to leave for the summer.
- Ask around. Family, friends and neighbors may have things they would love to give away.
- Take advantage of garage sales.
- Watch for discounts and two-for-one sales.
- Get friends and family to help with moving instead of hiring professional movers.
- Shop around for the best cell phone package.
- Steer away from long-term contracts
- Buy only necessary clothing. Shop at discount or secondhand stores when appropriate. Goodwill is an excellent store to consider.
- Minimize dry cleaning costs.
- Consider used books. Ask upper-class students which books are necessary, or if some books can be borrowed.