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FAQs about the FAFSA for medical students


Most medical students need scholarship and/or loan assistance to finance their medical education. The first step in the financial aid process is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Navigating financial aid is complex. The Office of Student Financial Services helps current and prospective MD students access the financial resources needed to cover medical education expenses. Learn more about financial aid.

How do I file the FAFSA?

You may complete the FAFSA electronically or in the myStudentAid app for iOS and Android.

What is Indiana University School of Medicine’s federal code for FAFSA filing?


What is the FSA ID?

The Federal Student Aid ID is a username and password combination used to securely access financial aid information and electronically sign federal student aid documents. First time applicants need to create a FAS ID. Students who previously filed a FAFSA electronically, whether for undergraduate school or a previous year of medical school, should use the same FSA ID when completing a new FAFSA.

What are the application deadlines for federal and institutional financial assistance?

There is no deadline for applying for federal student loans. However, students who wish to have loan funds available for orientation/registration should complete the FAFSA by May 1.

For priority consideration of institutional scholarships, students should submit the Application for Financial Assistance to the Office of Student Financial Services by May 31. Applications received after May 31 will be kept on file for consideration if additional funds become available during the academic year.

Do I have to complete the FAFSA every year?

Yes, you need to fill out the FAFSA each year. Your eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including your family’s financial situation and the number of your family members enrolled in college. Each year, many of the nonfinancial questions will be pre-filled for you. Just be sure to update any information that has changed since last year.

I am trying to complete my FAFSA, but my parents and I will not have the most recent financial information until after taxes are due in April. Should I use the previous year’s information?

Yes, if your income last year is similar to your income this year, use last year’s tax return to provide estimates for questions about your income. If your income is not similar, use the Income Estimator in the FAFSA for assistance estimating your adjusted gross income, and answer the remaining questions about your income to the best of your ability.

Once you complete your taxes, you’ll need to update your FAFSA. When you do so, you may be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your tax data directly into your FAFSA. IU School of Medicine will automatically receive any updates from your FAFSA.

Why do you encourage medical students to fill out parental information if it is not required? Will it be assumed my parents are going to help pay for medical school, even if that is not the case?

You are an independent student for federal financial aid purposes (funding through Title IV). This includes the Federal Unsubsidized Loan and Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. We are not expecting your parents to contribute due to your independent status.

The reason we encourage you to include parental information on the FAFSA is to ensure that you are being considered for all possible opportunities. Some federal programs require the parental information regardless of the student’s independency status. These programs include the Federal Primary Care Loan and the Federal Loans to Disadvantaged Students (LDS), which are funding sources through Title VII or the US Department of Health and Human Services. Eligibility for these Title VII programs is solely based on your parents’ income and household size.

Additionally, the IU School of Medicine Scholarship Committee requires parental information for students who wish to be considered for any IU School of Medicine need-based funding, which includes loans or scholarships for students with financial need. Without parental information, a large number of students will show exceptional financial need, but with calculated parental contributions, it makes it more possible (and more fair) to identify truly needy students.

If you do not wish to be considered for any funding sources that require parental information, and you only want to receive Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Federal PLUS Loans, then you can choose not to provide parental information on the FAFSA.

I recently submitted my FAFSA and received an EFC number of $13,334. I am a little confused as to the meaning of this number. The FAFSA website says it is the amount of money that I should pay out of pocket, but I want to take out the maximum quantity of loans available. Can you explain the implication of the EFC number?

EFC means “expected family contribution.” The EFC is the amount of student contribution (SC) calculated from the FAFSA using reported income and assets. If parental information is submitted, a similar calculation will be made on their information to produce a parent contribution (PC). We use these numbers to calculate a student’s financial need and eligibility for aid. As a graduate/professional student, the EFC does not affect how much you can borrow in Direct Unsubsidized Loans (up to $40,500) or Direct PLUS Loans (the amount left to cover your cost of attendance).

Read more FAQs on the FAFSA from the US Department of Education.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Jose Espada

Jose Rivera Espada is the director of financial aid at IU School of Medicine, a nine-campus allopathic medical school in Indiana. Jose’s experience includes working as an assistant director of financial aid at Butler University and a financial aid coun...