Im just wondering what has everyones experience been with FAFSA. I am married and have not had help from my parents for over 10 years but yet schools require my parents income? What do they do with this information? How will this affect my application. In addition I am earning a good income this year but can not work during medical school yet my income is also listed. I feel the numbers I am having to enter are NOT representative of what I will be forced to live on/pay tuition out of. Any experience with this? (current medical student input would be really appreciated.) Im worried!
There is some good info in older posts, didnt search. Sorry!
I am not yet a med student, but have heard from several that your parents’ information is required if you want to be considered for certain scholarships. It will not affect how much you can recieve in loans.
Your income will affect how much you are expected to contribute to your education expenses. The FAFSA will use your income to determine your EFC (expected family contribution). Let’s say this is $10,000. The government then expects you to contribute that much (but you won’t have to, just bear with me).
The next thing is the “cost of attendance,” which is determined by your school and has nothing to do with the info you put into the FAFSA. Every school has a different cost of attendance. Most factor in living expenses, some don’t. Let’s say your school has a tuition of $15,000 per year, and they factor in $1500 per month in living expenses, for a total “cost of attendance” of $33,000 per year.
The FAFSA is saying that since you are expected to pay $10,000 based on your income, you only qualify for $23,000 in government loans.
If you still need to cover that $10,000 you can apply for private education loans. I have two of these…one from undergrad and one for my post bacc. There are a lot of resources out there.
Now, if $1500 per month isn’t enough to live on, you will have to address that with your school’s office of financial aid. Some schools will adjust your individual “cost of living” figure if you have more expenses than what they allow for. Most won’t, but some will. There is usually a formal process where you show them proof of your expenses (mortgage payment, car payment, etc.) In the end, they are just allowing you to borrow more money because you can only borrow up to your cost of attendance (in this example, $33,000).
If you need more money than what your school allows you to take out in educational loans, you will have to explore other options like a private (non educational) loan which will likely have some ravaging interest rate.