Question of the Week: Med School Financial Aid and Family Contribution

Friday, Apr 16, 2021

Question: My parents have told me that they won’t help me pay for medical school, but while doing research about schools, I saw that a lot require that I include my parents’ financial information. Do I have to send this even though my parents won’t be contributing?
Answer: It’s best to reach out and have these conversations directly with the schools where you’re being considered at the time that you’re filing your FAFSA (which will probably be late fall / early spring during your application year) because every school has their own rules and guidelines. Whether parental information is required will depend on the type of aid available at each school, the type of aid that you want to be considered for, and the school’s philosophy on how to determine aid awards. Many schools require parental information, whether a student is financially independent or dependent from their parent(s)/guardian(s), for any student wishing to access federal and/or institutional aid; many will require this information for students who wish to access institutional (vs. federal) aid. There’s usually an upper age limit (often late 20s/early 30s) at which parental information is no longer required. 
You can always have conversations with financial aid officers individually so that you can understand what they’re asking you for and why, and so that they understand your situation beyond what they can read on your financial aid application. Some offices may have the resources to chat with you even before you’ve applied, some may ask you to wait until after you’ve been accepted, many have good, detailed information on their websites (e.g., Alpert Medical School at Brown has a helpful guide). At many schools, if you’re offered an interview, there will be a presentation that includes information about financial aid as part of the interview day. The AAMC also offers resources to help you learn more about paying for medical school:

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