Parental Contribution for financial aid?

I was looking for a thread that covered this but couldn’t find one in a search.
For those of us that are near or over 30, married, have kids, etc., does the financial aid process require us to report our parents’ incomes?
I was reading the MSAR and for Rush the financial aid section says they take into account parental income regardless of age or status. I find that kind of silly for those of us who have our own families and have been independent tax filers for years!
Please, someone, explain to me what this means!

Yes, I know that it is very confusing but if you go back to the beginning of the FAFSA thread on SDN I copied and pasted the information from individual medical schools. Yes you WILL need parental information even though we are in our 40’s to then qualify for ALL aid provided by the school. Some schools do not require this but “most” do (allopathic). You can access this information at each individual school website under financial aid.

Meg -
I think there was a thread awhile back (like last year) about this, but I’m not sure where it is.
The way it was explained to me about the requirement for parental info is:
In essence, they figure that all medical students will have the same level of income during medical school ($0). Someone, in all their wisdom, has decided therefore, that the fairest way to decide who gets need based aid, is to use parental income.
Now, you are NOT required to provide parental income in order to receive Federal Stafford loans. However, to receive any other type of aid, (federal or school) you may be required to provide parental information. If federal loans are enough for you, and/or you feel it is unlikely that you will get need-based aid because your parent’s have a high income, you “shouldn’t” have to provide it. I put “shouldn’t” in parenthesis, because I’m not sure if a school can require parental information to process your Financial Aid package or not.
I agree, it seems silly. At my age, its actually kind of embarrassing to ask you parents for their tax info. I think, however, at most schools, the parental info requirement is not an “absolute” requirement as long as you understand that the only aid you will get is federal loans.

Thanks you guys. As soon as I posted this thread, I saw the financial aid thread over on SDN!
Now, here’s another interesting question… If your parents could afford it and were willing to lend you the money for med school with 0% interest, just a promissary note and set repayment plan, would you take it?

Hell yeah! that would be the “optimal” situation for anyone no interest? yipeee!

Interesting. My mother eludes to something like that when we talk about my plans, but some part of me feels guilty for thinking about taking a loan from my parents. Maybe it’s just me watching The People’s Court with so many cases about contracts and family members sueing each other!

Well if they offered I am assuming that they “can” afford it and are willing to help you out right? sometimes we over analyze things… they are just trying to help one of their kiddos out…same thing you would do if you are in that position one day right? so look at it as an honor that speaks well for the trust your parents are placing on you paying them back…I hope that one day I can do the same for my two kids.

Oh, they can definitely afford it (probably more like paying as I go, not in a lump sum) and I did borrow a few thousand when I moved back from being overseas (and paid them back promptly).
For some reason I felt kinda bad about it, like I can’t grow up and stop asking my parents for help. But you’re right. If I could afford it for my kids and I knew they would pay me back, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
If I get into the state school I want, then the only issue would be tuition and I could live at home.
Well, thanks for the insight. I was almost too embarrassed to ask!

I have an idea! If you don’t feel comfortable accepting your parent’s offer, then please submit my name to them as an alternative. I’m not above groveling, begging, pleading. . . . and I’ll even say thank you as many times as they want to hear it!
Above all else, though, remember you ARE their child and they really want to help you. Since you have such a good relationship with your parents, take advantage of their offer and make your trip through medical school a little easier!

Hi there,
This means that if you wish to be considered for need-based financial aid, you need to furnish your parent’s financial information. I was 45 years old and I put all of their info on my financial aid forms. That (and my incoming GPA/MCAT) translated into a full-ride tuition scholarship for me. (Since they were retired, that put me into a need-based bracket even though my income had been fairly high). You can omit their information but you can put yourself out of receiving money that you do not have to pay back. As it stands, I owe $40K for undergraduate, graduate and medical school combined. It was worth it for me to get the extra info (a couple of income tax returns).

I don’t think I will get that lucky. My mom is pretty young (51) and my dad won’t retire for a while (60 this year) and together per year they make, well, more than I’ve made ever. I was worried that it would somehow count against you for borrowing, but I see how it works now.
I am truly financial aid retarded. Sorry guys.

Don’t apologize, Meg. This stuff is really dense and hard to get your brain around, and med school FA is a little different from other sorts of FA so it’s really like learning a new language.

You know I just have to ask this, because while it doesn’t apply to me, you’d think they would have thought of this. What if someone who’s going into med school and obviously grown up if their 40 and they have their own family doesn’t talk to their parents and their parents make a lot of money but don’t want to help them out? From the sounds of it they’d be totally out of luck as far as FA for medschool goes…

Tim -
Again, it totally depends. You do NOT have to provide parental info for Federal Loans. So, you’re always eligible for those. To be quite honest, parental income has to be quite low in order to get a lot of need based aid (this may be school dependent). I reported a parental income of $12,000 last year and originally didn’t qualify for need based aid at my school. After they distributed aid to all of the students that met the EFC, I ended up getting a couple of scholarships because they still had some money left.

Both when I did my post-bacc and for med school, I chose not to list my parent’s income. My mom probably makes less than half of what my husband makes (from what I can guess) and by no means has a lot of money. My dad passed away when I was 15. My sister and I are clearly instances of children who have succeeded because of parents who wanted us to move up in the world and have a better lot in life.
By no means was I going to ask my mom to divulge her personal income information to me in an effort to protect her pride. It’s none of my business. Though I probably would have benefitted from listing her info, I could never forgive myself for making her feel bad by having her bare her financial info to me.
Just my 2 cents,

I don’t think it can be emphasized enough: you are NOT required to divulge parents’ financial information IF ALL YOU WANT IS A FEDERAL STAFFORD LOAN. The Stafford loan for medical school is up to about $40,000 per year and the current interest rate is around 3%. The Stafford loan comes in two flavors - subsidized and unsubsidized; the government will pay the interest on a subsidized loan while you are in school. The upper limit for a subsidized loan is much less than the upper limit for unsubsidized, so many people will qualify for a combination. (e.g., my first year - remember, this is several years ago so amounts aren’t current - I borrowed the max unsubsidized, $8500, and another $25,000 unsubsidized.)
If your loan is unsubsidized, the interest will be accruing while you’re in school but you don’t have to pay it. During school your loan is automatically deferred; yes, it’s accruing interest but at 3% it’s not really bad. During residency you can apply for further deferral of loan payback; again, interest will accrue.
Your ability to qualify for a subsidized Stafford loan (where the government picks up the accruing interest) is also determined solely by YOUR information on the FAFSA - you don’t have to supply parental information to qualify for a subsidized Stafford loan.
I know, it’s a lot of detail and it’s really confusing until you actually get into it. None of this made any sense to me until I was actually in medical school filling out the forms.
But back to the original question: you will be much more limited in the kinds of financial aid you’ll be eligible for if you do not divulge parental information but you WILL still be able to get plentiful financial aid for med school.