Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of aid will I be applying for by filling out FAFSA?
You can apply for federal student loans and federal work study by filling out FAFSA. Please note Federal Work Study is strongly not recommended for medical students since you will be in school full time. There are no federal grants for medical students. However, some institutional grants and scholarships may be available, based on your FAFSA information.
- What is Federal Work Study?
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a need-based financial aid that requires on-campus part-time employment. Students earn a payback depending on the hours worked. In order to receive FWS students must work part-time, which is why it is not recommended for medical students.
- Is there a deadline to apply for financial aid?
The FAFSA 2011-2012 deadline is June 30, 2012. However, each school has a priority filing deadline. The FIU priority filing deadline for FAFSA 2011-2012 is March 1 2011. It is recommended that you apply for FAFSA as soon as possible since eligibility to receive the institutional grant or scholarships is often based on the FAFSA filing date.
- I have never applied for financial aid before. Do I need to do anything else before I start my FAFSA application online?
If you have never completed FAFSA online before, the first step is to obtain a pin number by logging on to http://www.pin.ed.gov. Your pin will serve as your electronic signature; you will be able to sign your FAFSA application online.
- What other documents do I need to have to complete FAFSA?
You will need your Driver's License, Social Security number, and your 2010 income tax information to be able to complete your FAFSA application.
- What if I can't find my income tax return?
You can contact the IRS to obtain a copy of your income tax information at 800- 829-1040.
- What if I am married but filed separate tax returns, do I still have to include my spouse's income?
Yes. If you are married but filed separately, you are still required to include your spouse's income on your FAFSA application.
- Do I need to select "student loans" on my FAFSA to be considered for Federal Student Loans?
Yes. You must select student loans on your FAFSA. If you do not select student loans, the financial aid office will assume that you are not interested in receiving student loans and you will not be awarded student loans. There are no federal grants for medical students. You may not be awarded enough financial aid to cover your expenses if you do not select loans on your FAFSA.
- Do I need to re-apply every academic year?
Yes. You must complete FAFSA every academic year. FAFSA is available on January 1. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The priority filing deadline for FIU is March 1.
- What is the difference between a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan and a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is a need-based loan and interest free as long as the student is enrolled in a degree-seeking program at least half-time and during grace period. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is not based on need; it accrues 6.8% fixed interest while the student is in school. The grace period for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans is six months after graduation or dropping below less than half-time enrollment status.
- Would I be eligible for both Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
You may qualify for both Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. If you are not eligible for the subsidized portion of the loan, you may receive the monetary value of the subsidized portion as an unsubsidized loan.
- Is there a maximum borrowing limit for Federal Direct Stafford Loans?
The maximum (aggregate) lifetime borrowing limit for Federal Direct Stafford Loans (combined subsidized and unsubsidized) is $224,000 for medical students. If you have borrowed as an undergraduate student, you must subtract the amount of Federal Stafford Loans you have already borrowed from the $224,000 in order to determine your remaining eligibility.
- I am not sure how much Federal Direct Stafford Loans I have borrowed so far. How can I determine my loan balance?
Yes. You may log-on to www.nslds.ed.gov to view your federal student loan balance. This is a National Student Loan Database system for students and financial aid professionals. You will need your FAFSA PIN to access your information. Students can view only their own loan history. The loan history includes all federal student loans you have borrowed but does not include private student loans. You will need to contact your private loan lenders to determine your total balance on private loans.
- Do I need to make any payments on my student loans while I am in school?
Federal student loans are deferred while you are enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. The interest on the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan accrues while you are in school. However, if you choose to pay the interest only, you can contact Direct Loans. Check with your private loan lender to determine whether your private loan payments will be deferred while you are in school. Keep in mind that interest will continue to accrue on your private loan while you are in school and during the grace period (if there is a grace period).
- What is grace period?
Repayment on most educational loans starts after a grace period. The grace period begins when a student graduates, leaves school, or enrollment status drops below half-time status, whichever comes first.
- What is the difference between a Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan and a private student loan?
Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan is offered to graduate students in addition to Federal Direct Stafford loans if there is a need to borrow more loans (or if the student's budget allows it). You must complete FAFSA to apply. The interest is fixed at 7.9% and there are origination and guarantee fees. A credit check is required on the Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan. Private student loans are also available to medical students. Students need to apply with the lender of their choice. Most private loan lenders do not charge a fee; interest rate is variable and based on the student's credit. Students are encouraged to ask all the questions they may have regarding the private loan before they borrow.
- Is there a borrowing limit for Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loans or private loans?
The maximum amount a student can borrow in one academic year is always limited to student's cost of attendance. You can only borrow up to your cost of attendance (student budget) per academic year. There is no aggregate lifetime limit for Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loans or private student loans. However, some private loan lenders have their own borrowing limit. Once you reach their limit, you may not be able to borrow from the same lender but you may be able to borrow from a different lender.
- Do I need to wait until I am admitted to FIU HWCOM to apply for financial aid?
No. You can start your application as early as January 1, 2011. FAFSA allows you to list multiple schools.
- How will I be notified if I have been awarded financial aid?
You will receive an award notice letter which will have your financial aid information for the 2011-2012 academic year. You will be required to accept your award online. Once you have an FIU email address, all financial aid communications will be sent to your FIU email address.
- When can I expect a refund of the amount in excess of tuition and fees paid directly to the university?
Federal loans are disbursed to FIU ten days prior to the beginning of classes. You can expect a refund at the end of the first or second week of classes. The refund is issued after all financial obligations to the university have been met.
- How can I receive my refund?
The check will be mailed to your home address or you can establish direct deposit with the FIU Office of Financial Services.
- Who can help me if I have financial aid questions?
Contact Pemra Cetin, Director of Financial Aid or Maria Araya, Financial Aid Administrative Assistant at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine for help with all financial aid questions. The contact phone number is 305-348-0644 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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