SOMA Osteopathic Medicine
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|Eligibility for Financial Assistance||Special Conditions|
|Student Budget Determination||Financial Planning|
Eligibility or unmet financial need is determined by subtracting a student's expected contribution from the student budget. The student's expected contribution is listed on the Student Aid Report (SAR), which is the output document the student receives after completing the FAFSA, and is based on the student's financial strength. Students may choose to receive financial assistance up to their unmet financial need. For example, if a student's budget is $40,000 and the expected contribution is $5,000, the student's unmet financial need is $35,000. The student may receive financial aid through scholarships, loans, etc., to arrive at this figure. (Note: Students may use the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan or any private loan to replace their expected contribution.) Every effort will be made to meet the student's need, but in some instances, the student may have to rely on parents or other outside resources. It is of critical importance to be creditworthy, as the private loans require a credit check.
The student expense budget is determined each year by the Financial Services Director. Every effort is made to ensure that allowances in each category are realistic and fair. Periodically, students are given questionnaires to report their actual expenses in each category. This information is used in determining student budgets for the next academic year. Although the Financial Services Director determines the average student budget, students having credit history difficulties may not be able to borrow the full budgeted amount, due to the private loans being based on creditworthiness.
Verification is the process by which the Financial Services Office checks the accuracy of the information submitted by the student when applying for federal financial aid. It is intended to reduce errors in the financial information that students submit so eligible applicants can receive the correct amount of financial assistance.
ATSU will verify all applicants who are selected for verification from the federally approved edits. If selected, students will need to submit a signed copy of their federal income tax return from the prior calendar year along with a verification worksheet. ATSU will compare the tax return and the verification worksheet to the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to verify required items. Financial aid will not be awarded until the verification is complete.
Professional judgment allows the Director and Assistant Director the flexibility to evaluate individual students with extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis. This authority is clearly stated in the federal regulations and is used as needed. The adjustments may be made in the cost of attendance, expected family contributions, or satisfactory academic progress.
Although every effort is made to meet a student's financial need, financial assistance is not an entitlement and, in some instances, not all of a student's need will be met.
Financing a medical school education is an investment in your future. As a major investment, it should be entered into with conscientious planning. Setting goals and establishing a game plan are essential in order to minimize your debt.
A simple financial plan begins with the establishment of a long-term goal. As an osteopathic student, for example, your long-term goal might be to set up a private practice in your home town. As you plan your strategies to reach this end, keep in mind that your short- and mid-term goals should be consistent with and built upon this long-term goal. To help keep you on track, it is important to develop a budget.
A budget lists all sources of income, as well as all estimated expenditures. To make a budget work for you, keep the following points in mind:
- Have a written plan;
- Set realistic goals;
- Establish priorities;
- Keep expenditures below income; and
- Stick to your game plan.
It is important for you to determine your needs so that you will borrow only the amount necessary, rather than the amount for which you are eligible. Because of accrued interest, you may pay back 2-3 times the amount you borrowed. Therefore, the less debt you accrue in school, the more financially secure you will be later. You can live like a student now, or you can live like a student later. The choice is yours.