Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at the university.  We encourage students to apply early, regardless of acceptance, to ensure that their financial aid is processed in a timely fashion.

How long does it take to process my student loan application?

When a student applies for federal financial aid, it may take up to 8 weeks for the student’s file to be completely processed and for funds to post to their account.  The Student Accounting Office may require additional processing time if a refund is due.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes.  Your financial circumstances can change year by year, which may cause you to qualify for more or less aid.  After your first year you will receive a "Renewal Application" which contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.

How much money can I request?

The amount of money a student can request depends on his/her estimated cost of attendance. The estimated cost of attendance is the estimated cost for attending the Medical University.  This includes tuition, fees, living expenses, etc.  Each year a copy of the estimated budgets is posted on the Financial Aid website. You may request financial assistance up to your estimated cost of attendance. We encourage students to construct a budget to review their expenses before completing the loan request application.  Also, please see our “Loans” section to determine the amount of federal loan money you are eligible for.

If I run of out of money before the school year ends or if I have an emergency, can I request additional financial aid?

If you have not borrowed up to your total cost of attendance for the year, you may submit

another loan request application for the additional amount of funds you need.  Make sure you also apply for the loan with your lender and/or sign a Master Promissory Note if applicable. 

If you have borrowed the maximum amount of funds available to you in your budget, you will need to contact the Office of Financial Aid Services to obtain a Budget Adjustment Form.  You will need to return this completed form along with documentation of your expenses.  We will review your request for additional funds along with your documentation. A budget adjustment can only be made for expenses which occur during the current school year.  If approved, you will need to submit a loan request application for the additional amount. 

I applied for an additional loan with my lender.  Should I notify the Office of Financial Aid Services?

Yes.  Each time you apply for a student loan with a lender, you must submit an MUSC loan request to notify us.  We will not certify the loan with your lender until you have submitted this document to our office.

Can I send funds back or reduce my loans?

Yes.  If the funds have already been released to you in the form of a refund, you will need to bring a check to the Financial Aid Office for the amount of funds you are returning.  If the funds have not come in for the current semester or are for a future semester, a written statement requesting a reduction or cancellation is all your counselor will need. 

Do I need to report my parents’ information on the FAFSA?

When filling out your FAFSA, you will be asked a series of questions that will determine your dependency status.  Only dependent undergraduate students are required to complete the parents’ section of the FAFSA. 

However, there is an exception. Students who are interested in applying for Health and Human Services (HHS) funds are required to complete the parents’ section of the FAFSA. There is no exception to this requirement. The HHS programs include:

  • Loan for Disadvantaged Students
  • Primary Care Loan

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. Stafford loans have a grace period of 6 months and the Perkins loan has a grace period of 9 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is up.

If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.

I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the Office of Financial Aid Services?

Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university, government or outside sources, you must report the scholarship to the Office of Financial Aid Services. The university will adjust your financial aid package to compensate.

Loan Denial

My Graduate PLUS or private student loan application was denied.  What should I do?

The Federal Graduate PLUS loan and private student loans are credit-based loans.  If your Graduate PLUS or private student loan application is denied, we encourage you to reapply with a credit-worthy cosigner. 

Disbursements and Refunds

How do I receive my funds?

Once you have submitted an MUSC loan request application we will process your request for financial aid. Once Student Accounting receives the funds, they will apply the money to your account to pay your tuition and fees. Any remaining funds will be issued to you as a refund. We encourage you to sign up for direct deposit through WebAdvisor, otherwise you will receive a paper check at your permanent mailing address. Financial aid checks are released to students during the first week of classes.

How are my funds split? 

The total amount you request will be split evenly between the semesters you are enrolled for during the current school year. 

FAFSA Questions

How soon after January 1st should the FAFSA form be sent in? Is it better to wait until the income tax forms have been completed?

Send in the form as soon as possible after January 1st. You do not have to wait until your taxes are done, however it is better to do your taxes early.  If you estimate on your FAFSA and your estimates are incorrect, you will have an opportunity to correct any errors later.

I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven't heard anything. What should I do?

If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.

I was selected for verification.  What does this mean and what should I do?

If you see an asterisk (*) next to your EFC on your Student Aid Report (SAR), this means your FAFSA has been selected for verification.  You will also be contacted by the university regarding this. 

Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Others are selected by the school.

After Graduation

Who is my lender/servicer and how much loan debt do I have?

The National Student Loan Data System will have a list of all federal loans you have ever borrowed, along with the lender and servicer’s names and contact information for each. 

Can my student loan debt be forgiven?

Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of an educational loan. This practice is called loan forgiveness. To qualify, you must:

  • Perform volunteer work
  • Perform military service
  • Teach or practice medicine in certain types of communities
  • Meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program

Volunteer Work

These volunteer organizations offer loan forgiveness:


Students who are in the Army National Guard may be eligible for their Student Loan Repayment Program. (Note:  Military and veterans' associations also provide many scholarships and tuition assistance programs.)

Medical Studies

The US Department of Health and Human Services offer a loan forgiveness programs through the National Health Service Corps. This program offers loan forgiveness to physicians who agree to practice for a set number of years in areas that lack adequate medical care (including remote and/or economically depressed regions).

The US National Institutes of Health's NIH Loan Repayment Programs may repay a portion of student loan debt for US citizens who are conducting clinical medical research.

Other loan repayment programs for medical school students include:

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) maintains a database of state and other loan repayment programs for medical school students.