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VCOM Campus

Financial Aid FAQs

Does VCOM offer scholarships?

VCOM offers scholarships to students in each year of medical school. VCOM keeps a current list of outside scholarships that our students have received in the past. At the medical school level, nearly all large scholarships are service contracts, such as the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program.

VCOM has a limited offering of internal scholarships to current students. A list of current internal and external scholarships that our students have received in the past can be found at https://www.vcom.edu/admissions/tuition-and-fees/scholarships.

What is a service contract?

Essentially, a service contract is an agreement to work in an organization later in return for receiving a scholarship now. The two most common service contracts are from the National Health Service Corps and the US Military has the Military Health Professions Scholarship Program. Each branch of the military has a program, so check online for information on each branch, or contact a recruiter in your area.

Are the numbers of scholarships at VCOM similar to those in my undergraduate school?

VCOM has a number of selective scholarships and the odds of receiving one if you apply are really good.  Overall though, the number of scholarships at VCOM are pretty limited. The key to finding scholarships is to check the national scholarship search websites like www.fastweb.com, and the Osteopathic-specific-scholarship sites such as www.studentdo.org and www.aacom.org.  Also plan to check with the Osteopathic Societies of the state you regard as your home and the state where you attended undergraduate school, since the rules about who can apply differ by state.  Nearly all 50 states have Osteopathic Associations. And a recent review of their websites indicates state organizations which offer scholarships include: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. For a list of all the State Osteopathic Medical Associations: https://osteopathic.org/about/affiliated-organizations/state-osteopathic-associations/

What is the average student loan indebtedness of graduates from VCOM?

The Louisiana campus enrolled its first class this past summer, so the Louisiana campus doesn’t have an average student loan indebtedness level yet. The average student loans borrowed while at VCOM for the VCOM class 2020 was an average of $225,786 borrowed by 506 students. VCOM prides itself on being one of the least expensive medical schools in the nation as backed up by US News and World Report. 

In addition, Auburn, AL, Blacksburg/Christiansburg, VA and Spartanburg, SC, and Monroe, LA are four of the least expensive places to live in the United States. Students are innovative, creative and frugal in their spending and a number of students are able to avoid borrowing altogether.

Is my parent’s information required on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

As a graduate student, the only information required on the FAFSA is your own at VCOM.  If you see prompts as you complete the FAFSA indicating that “for some medical students, parents’ information is required or recommended,” you can disregard those prompts and not list your parents’ information.  VCOM does not participate in financial aid programs that would require parental information be listed on the FAFSA.

Alternatively, if you feel some compelling other reason to list your parent’s information on the FAFSA, VCOM is more than happy to ignore it when we process FAFSA results.

What’s the school code for each campus?

  • VCOM Virginia’s school code for the FAFSA is G37093
  • VCOM Carolina’s school code for the FAFSA is E01970
  • VCOM Auburn’s school code for the FAFSA is E40408
  • VCOM Louisiana’s school code for the FAFSA is E40498

What month’s best for me to complete the FAFSA?

The best month to file your FAFSA is in April or May, a few weeks after you’ve completed and filed your federal income tax return for the year.  

Students can file their FAFSA after October 1st of the year before you intend to enroll, but certainly file it by May 1st of the year you intend to begin medical school.

Will a copy of my income tax return be required with my application?

VCOM does not routinely require you file a copy of your federal income tax return with the financial aid office.

What is the maximum amount I can borrow while I’m at VCOM?

The maximum amount you can borrow while attending VCOM is the Cost of Attendance for each year you are enrolled as established by VCOM’s Financial Aid Committee and updated each year.  Typically this amount is from a combination of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan and the Graduate PLUS loan programs.

For the Unsubsidized loan, there is one federal aggregate (lifetime) limit of $224,000 that includes loan amounts you borrowed from that program as an undergraduate or prior-to-VCOM-graduate student. If you need money over and above that, (and this includes the situation where you need to borrow money to help with living expenses in addition to VCOM tuition each year), you’ll also have to borrow the Graduate PLUS loan.

Based on current regulations, you will have to pass a credit check each year in order to receive the Graduate PLUS loan.  The Graduate PLUS loan can make up the difference between the annual unsubsidized loan limit and the cost of attendance.

Will I qualify for subsidized Direct Loan while I’m at VCOM?

Unfortunately, Congress discontinued eligibility for subsidized loans for graduate students in 2011-2012.

What month will financial aid awards be available?

Financial aid awards are available for VCOM students in June and July of each year.

Will financial aid awards be mailed to me?

No. Notification of financial aid awards is electronically accomplished through links provided to your VCOM email account. VCOM uses the MyVCOM portal to communicate documents needed and received, and financial aid awards made (and to accept financial aid awards).

What is the process for applying for financial aid?

The process for applying for financial aid involves completing the FAFSA at studentaid.gov and listing the VCOM campus of your choice’s school code.

What is the process for getting a student loan?

Details on the process for accepting or declining a student loan are provided with the financial aid award notification email that will be sent to students who have indicated they want loans. In general terms there are four steps

Receive the Financial Aid Award Notification email from the VCOM Financial Aid Office;

  1. “Accept,” reduce or decline your financial aid award on the MyVCOM portal
  2. Complete online Entrance Counseling at studentaid.gov;
  3. Complete the Student Loan Annual Disclosure under Managing your loans at studentaid.gov;
  4. Complete a Master Promissory Note for the Unsubsidized loan at studentaid.gov  if you are accepting that loan;
  5. Complete a Master Promissory Note for the Graduate PLUS loan at studentaid.gov  if you are accepting that loan;
  6. Attend a virtual or In-Person entrance counseling session. 

What documents other than the FAFSA will be required for my financial aid application?

The only document VCOM will need is the FAFSA. In rare instances when the financial aid office needs additional documentation, students will be emailed at their VCOM email account or can see the documents required in the MyVCOM portal.

Will my outside scholarship automatically reduce my student loan amounts?

Any required reduction will not be automatic. Students are required to notify the financial aid office of any scholarship they expect to receive. Adjustments of financial aid may be needed, based on federal rules and will be determined on a case by case basis.

Will my financial aid cover my moving expenses to VCOM’s city?

Federal regulations require students Cost of Attendance (COA) start on the first day of school, not include any breaks or time away on break, and end on the last day of each school year.    Therefore, since you need to move before the first day of school, moving expenses are not part of COA.  However, if you create a budget for yourself to include this, you can reimburse yourself if your budget allows this.

How much can I borrow the first year?

For your first year, you can borrow the total Cost of Attendance (COA). For more information, please refer to Cost of Attendance page [link located in the menu to the right].

Can I use my loan money to pay for my upcoming marriage? Or to support my spouse and children?

Federal regulations require that a school’s financial aid Cost of Attendance include only tuition and modest and reasonable living expenses for the student only. Student loans should not be used to pay for weddings or to support a spouse or children.

Can I get food stamps while I’m attending VCOM?

Since federal rules require food to be included in the amounts we consider to be in the student’s Cost of Attendance, it is expected your financial aid funding would partially be used for buying food.

Food stamps are federal benefits, and rules regarding eligibility and benefit levels are set by the federal government. However, each state is responsible for administering food stamps to its residents.

In South Carolina and Alabama, you would have to have a 20 hour per week job in order to qualify for food stamps so medical students typically do not qualify.  For current or additional information go to:

Alabama Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
https://dhr.alabama.gov/food-assistance/

Louisiana Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
http://www.dss.state.la.us/page/snap

South Carolina Food Stamp Program and Application
http://www.sciway.net/gov/sc-food-stamps.html

Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-details/1593
In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Virginia and fall into one of two groups: (1) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, or (2) those with a current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $3,001 who share their household with a person or persons age 60 and over, or with a person with a disability (a child, your spouse, a parent, or yourself).

Once I have accepted my loans in the MyVCOM Portal, when will my student loan funding arrive?

Your student loans arrive the first couple of weeks of class and again 6 months later after beginning your spring term.

Do loan funds come to me directly, or to VCOM?

Loan funds do not come to you directly. The funds come directly to VCOM from the US Department of Education (the lender) in your name. Your account is then credited and any tuition or charges due are paid. If there is a remainder, or if you have borrowed living expense money, those funds are forwarded to an account you have specified – usually by direct deposit. If you did not sign up for direct deposit, then a check will be made out to you, which you can pick up in the business office.

How often do funds arrive?

Funds arrive once every 6 months, assuming you continue making satisfactory academic progress and remain in good academic standing with VCOM.

How can I tell when my next disbursement will be made?

For the first year, disbursement arrive during the first two weeks of classes and approximately six months later, in late January of the following year.

What do I have to do in order to qualify for my next student loan disbursement?

For the second disbursement in an academic year, which comes in the spring (late January), you have to remain a full time student at VCOM and make satisfactory academic progress. Each year in the spring you will need to complete a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for aid for the next fall. Financial aid funds are not disbursed during student breaks or holidays from school.

Can I get Medicaid while I’m attending VCOM?

Cost of attendance figures and financial aid funding include the average costs for health insurance premiums and incidental medical costs. Therefore VCOM students do not typically apply nor do they qualify for Medicaid while attending VCOM.

Alabama
For more information on Medicaid and qualification for Alabama, see: http://www.medicaid.alabama.gov/ for more information.

Louisiana
For more information on Medicaid and qualifications for Louisiana, see: https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/220

South Carolina
For more information on Medicaid and qualification for South Carolina, see https://www.scdhhs.gov/income-limits for information.  

Virginia
Childless adults in Virginia are not eligible for Medicaid.  For more information on benefits for Virginia, see:  http://www.dss.virginia.gov/benefit/medical_assistance/.

Where can I go to in order to find out about health insurance coverage that’s required at VCOM?

Current information regarding the VCOM health insurance can be found on the website: 
Health Insurance. The premiums for the student’s medical insurance are included in VCOM’s tuition.

Where can I get more information about the Affordable Care Act?

www.healthcare.gov is the place to find out more about the Affordable Care Act and to enroll or check out enrollment and federal subsidies for costs for health care (depending on your family situation and income).

What do I need to do to keep my undergraduate loans in deferment while I am in medical school?

Your loan servicer should have a form on line that you can print and fill out. Once you have filled out the form, you can bring the form to the Registrar’s office for them to complete and send it to your servicer.

How do I find out who my loan servicer is?

You can find out who your servicer is by logging in with your Federal Student Aid ID at studentaid.gov, under Managing your loans. Use your FSA ID and password to log in and view your loan and or grant records. Click on the loan record that you want to know the servicer of and your servicer will be listed along with their website and contact information.