How to Get Financial Aid for Med School

There are 8 easy steps to getting financial aid for med school.  

And because those 8 easy steps are forbidden by the laws of most nations and at least two major religions, I am instead offering you these 8 really sucky ones.  Because that’s the kind of reliable blogger I am.

1.  Print out all necessary forms and tax info, grab pen, sit down purposefully at desk.

Yes, your college financial aid was always filled out by your parents – but now that you’re in med school, you are going to fill out these forms yourself.  Because you are an adult. An adult who knows exactly what your – let’s see here – “parent’s J509b form categorization” is.

2.  …Call Parent

You:  Hey, can you, um… tell me what your J509b form categorization is?  Also the original and adjusted-current worth of your car, house, all savings accounts, major electronics, and SSN?

After several incredulous phone conversations (“I thought graduate schools weren’t allowed to require our info for financial aid.”  “Right. They don’t require it as long as you don’t need the financial aid.”) they will end up filling out almost all the forms themselves.

3.  And now you can fill out the rest of the forms

Like an adult!  An adult who knows things like your “total income from part-time employment”!  And the total amount of Stafford loans you’ve taken out over the… past 4 years…

… Hmm. Okay, but you can still be an adult who knows things like “where you put the tax info from your last job” and “what your FAFSA account and PIN number are”.

4.  Repeat Step 2 with “former employer” and “US Department of Education”


5.  Submit all seventy pages of it.  Be proud of yourself.

You did it!  Like.. okay, not like an adult at all.  That’s okay.  Whatever.  It’s over.

6.  Receive financial aid award letter

YES!  … Wait a minute.  That.. can’t be right.

7.  Inform parents what your school thinks their “Expected Family Contribution” should be

Mom:  Ahaahahahaha, this is hilarious.
You:  It’s not a joke. After considering your assets and salaries, my school thinks you’ve put aside this much money for m-
Mom:  HAHAHA, wait until I tell your dad.
Dad:  Tell me what, dear?
Mom:  Look!  The med school – hahaha – thinks we can -hahaha – pay -haha, oh I can’t breathe..
You: Please stop laughing.
Dad:  Ahaha, I’ll stop laughing as soon as it stops being funny.  Hey, check out this line – they think you have an “expected individual contribution”!
Mom:  Oh, that’s adorable.  Look at all those zeros!
You:  *abject horror*

8.  Inform school that you would like to take out additional federal loans. Repeat steps 1-7.

12 thoughts on “How to Get Financial Aid for Med School

  1. Haha love it- the only good thing about being 24 when I started and being “independent” was they didn’t need my parents’ info.

    We started 3rd year over a month ago and still haven’t gotten loans. I’m going to be indebted to both my parents and the government for the rest of my life at this rate.

  2. C — They didn’t? When I applied for financial aid, the fact that I was 29 and had been “independent” for seven years was completely irrelevant, and they wanted that information as well. I think it may have been for “school aid” rather than federal, but obviously you want to be eligible for everything you can get, so I had to do that too.

    It pissed me off. My parents are retired and living on a fixed income, and their savings have to last until they die, potentially 30+ years from now, and they STILL were expected to contribute to med school.

    Oh also, med school would have cleaned out every penny of my savings. And I STILL would have ended up 200K in debt. Woo!

    So glad I did MD-PhD.

    • Haha, oh man… yeah, I’m hearing you on the retired parents. Mine are pretty tired of being expected to pay for me – totally understandable! I’d be irritated as heck if I were them.

  3. *sigh* It’s going to be one, if not the only, benefit of being an orphan. I’m hoping my aid application with be relatively painless. Otherwise, I’d be indignant that, at 33 and independent for 15 years, my financial status would be subject to that of my parents!

    • *sigh* It’s going to be one, if not the only, benefit of being from a third world country. (I said it à la Kate lol). I’m from Algeria and here education is free (as in free beer not as in free speech :p). I accumulated enough scholastic retardation (delay?) to lose my right for the university dorms so I’m going to need to rent a place and that’s gonna suck big time (third world; low income, housing shortage, poor transportation…). I’m going to need all the help I can get from my family and a lot of will and power to get over with my self and just finish med school. I hope my English is less terrible than I think it is 😀 , (FYI Algeria being an Arab country colonized by France, we speak Arabic, we study in French, and English is relegated to a distant third place … ok ok enough excuses)

      The last picture of Sheldon throwing his “roommate agreement” in the air is hilarious. Love that show.

  4. I was told by my school last week that I was not eligible for certain forms of financial aid because I didn’t fill out the form to declare my financial independence from my parents (they waited until mid-July to tell me even though I had submitted my application in March). Even though I am 41 years old, apparently med school thinks that I am by default financially dependent on them and only the special form will take them out of the picture. Why I am financially dependent until proven otherwise and not independent until proven otherwise is totally beyond me.

  5. I wish you would stop being so funny. I start med school tomorrow and Im TRYING to be a gunner and pre-study. (Why do they give you one million page reviews to complete before you start school? its cruel) Instead, I am re reading your blog for the 78975345 time. Fail.

  6. When I started graduate school MANY years ago, my parents were retired and POOR. The school still thought they should contribute a substantial amount to my education. The also thought that my MOTHER IN LAW should contribute the same amount…..we were astonished!
    We found out (35 years later when shredding her financial records) that my MOTHER IN LAW was declaring me a dependent on her tax forms…..

  7. I thought the same thing when I first heard that my parents were going to have to fill out their financial aid forms. My dad chose the year I applied to medical school to sell his company, so it looked like he had a crazy income, when in actuality, that was meant to cover his retirement. Thanks dad! =)

    But actually, looking at it more closely, how else can they differentiate people? 99% of people applying cannot even close to afford it. Many of them are coming straight out of college with no savings and no job. The ones who are coming from jobs don’t make near enough to cover even one semester of some of these schools. I’ve been independent of my parents for four years, in another career. No way are they going to help pay for school.

    And while I think most medical students are independent from their parents, I would rather financial aid be given to someone who cannot borrow money from their parents, than someone who can. Since I got no financial aid, I wound up drafting a promissory note to my parents and borrowed some of the retirement money. I’ll be able to pay it back before they need it. As much as it hurts me to hemorrhage money, I’m glad someone else who doesn’t have that opportunity gets money to go to medical school.

    The people who get hurt in this arrangement are those who are estranged from their rich parents. I haven’t really thought of a way around that, and neither have medical schools apparently. =(

    • I agree in the sense that if Paris Hilton were applying to medical school, even if she had no income she should get no financial aid by virtue of the fact that her parents have $. Even if she were 50 when she was applying. Still, there has to be a better way.

      I also know several people who are estranged from their parents (father bailed on the family 15 years prior and never gave a dime for college or anything else) get royally ass-fucked by this process. By comparison I had it good.

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