School of Medicine Introduction
Institutional student aid at the Boston University School of Medicine is need-based and consists primarily of loans. By offering a significant improvement to the repayment terms of institutional loans – no interest in-school and 5% post-graduation – the School of Medicine provides an attractive method for financing approximately one-quarter of each year’s educational costs for eligible students. The remaining three-quarters is generally secured by family resources and/or outside loans such as the Federal Direct Loan or private market-rate loans intended for financing medical education.
Many factors contribute to the formula used to assess financial need. The Federal Methodology (FM) for need analysis generally considers all graduate students as independent and therefore evaluates only the student’s ability to contribute toward the cost of education. Federal Methodology is used for all students applying for assistance such as Federal Direct Loans.
Boston University School of Medicine uses Institutional Methodology (IM), evaluating each family’s income and assets, to determine eligibility for Health Professions and institutional aid. Because Health Professions and institutional resources are limited, BUSM expects that students, parents, and spouses (where applicable) will contribute toward the cost of education. Although a graduate student is considered independent for purposes of Title IV funds such as the Federal Direct Loan Program, Boston University School of Medicine still expects full and complete disclosure of family financial information with documentation to establish eligibility for institutional funds.
Boston University School of Medicine must emphasize that the burden of paying for your medical education rests with you and your family. Depending upon your ability to pay, some of you will qualify for institutional financial assistance and others will not. Once a student’s need has been determined, a financial assistance package is offered. The BUSM package is a collaborative one, calling for contributions from the student, the student’s immediate family, Boston University School of Medicine, and various outside sources. If you are uncomfortable with this concept, you should consider whether or not the BUSM funding philosophy is compatible with your needs before you matriculate.
Those of you who do not qualify for institutional aid may still qualify for federal or other outside financial assistance. Also, you are welcome to use the full range of student financial services that we offer and to contact Student Financial Services (SFS) for professional advice regarding the availability and/or advisability of programs that may help meet your particular financial needs.
You should take an integrated approach to your personal financing. The steps involved include setting goals, planning how to attain them, and then implementing, reviewing, reevaluating, and revising both your goals and plans. The key is to evaluate carefully where you are today financially, define where you want to be in the future, and develop a plan to get there. Remember, based on the job market and your potential earning power, there may be a threshold beyond which debt is not manageable and is hence unreasonable. And there are transitions that occur over time, thus requiring that you recalculate your debt threshold. In addition to helping you meet your student assistance needs, SFS will help you analyze your debt threshold in relation to your future professional plans.
SFS cannot, however, assume responsibility for taking care of your financial affairs–this you must do yourself. Given the high cost of medical education, especially at Boston University, the complexity of the financial aid system, and the conglomeration of financial instruments, you must allocate a sufficient amount of time and attention to managing your own financial affairs. The better prepared you are when dealing with SFS, lenders, guarantee agencies, secondary markets, and credit reporting agencies, the better service you are likely to receive from all.