Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine Introduction
Student Financial Services (SFS) provides a full range of student assistance services for Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) and administers a limited institutional student loan program and three small federally funded grant programs. There is no institutionally funded need-based grant money available. Therefore the majority of students’ need is met through a combination of federal and market-rate loan programs. There is detailed information on all programs in the following sections of our website. If you are a full-need or high-need student who requires substantial funding to pay for your dental education, it is likely you will need a creditworthy co-signer to support some of your loan applications. Most of the loan programs also require that you be creditworthy, and so I encourage you to read about the criteria for approval of loans even as you read about the loan programs that may meet your financial needs.
Many factors contribute to the formula to assess financial need. The Federal Methodology (FM) for need analysis 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 Federal Direct Loans.
GSDM uses Institutional Methodology (IM) to evaluate each family’s income and assets to determine eligibility for Health Professions and institutional aid. Because resources from these programs are so limited, GSDM expects that students, parents and spouses (where applicable) will contribute toward the cost of education. Although a graduate student is considered independent for the Federal Direct and private sector loans, GSDM requires full and complete disclosure and documentation of family financial information to establish eligibility for Health Professions and institutional funds.
The GSDM package is a collaborative one, calling for contributions from the student, the student’s immediate family, and Boston University. Depending upon your ability to pay, you may qualify for limited institutional assistance averaging $4,000 per year. Most of your financing will come from outside sources. There may be instances in which funds from all available sources will not meet all your budgetary needs. If you are uncomfortable with this concept, you should consider whether the GSDM funding philosophy is compatible with your needs before you matriculate.
Those of you who do not qualify for institutional funds may still qualify for federal or other outside assistance. Also, you are welcome to use the full range of student financial services that we offer and to contact SFS for professional advice regarding the most appropriate sources of funding for your particular circumstances.
You should take an integrated approach to your personal financing. The steps involved include setting goals, planning how to attain those goals, 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 dental education, the complexity of the financial aid system, and the conglomeration of financial instruments, you must allocate a sufficient amount of time and attention to 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.