Financial Aid Sources

University Scholarships & Loans

The College of Medicine has funds available in the form of University scholarships and loans. Most of these have specific eligibility criteria.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of both need and academic performance. The Financial Aid Office will determine the eligibility of students who apply for financial aid through the College of Medicine and will recommend students for these scholarships subject to availability.

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS)

The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program (SDS) is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Eligibility is limited to disadvantaged students as defined by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In order for eligibility for this scholarship to be determined, parental data on the FAFSA and on the Howard University College of Medicine financial aid application must be provided. The Financial Aid Office will determine the eligibility of the students who apply for financial aid through the College of Medicine and will recommend selected students for awards within the limits of availability. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and unconditional permanent residents. Students who wish to be considered for this scholarship should complete section D (Special Circumstances/ Additional Information) on the Howard University College of Medicine Application for Student Financial Assistance.

Outside Scholarships

All students are encouraged to seek out and apply for scholarships from sources outside of the College of Medicine or University. Such sources include foundations, philanthropic organizations, medical and health professions organizations, churches and religious organizations, fraternities and sororities, and state and local service and community agencies. Information regarding outside scholarships can be fund at www.finaid.org and www.fastweb.org.

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program, enacted by Public Law 94- 484 on October 12, 1976, is a program established to bring health care to regions of the country that have critical shortages of health personnel. Scholarship recipients are contracted to the Corps, which attempts to place practitioners in health personnel shortage areas in which they prefer to serve, and where they may decide to stay and retain their practice after completing their service obligations.

Benefits :

  1. Payment to the school of tuition and required fees;
  2. Payment to the student of a monthly stipend (which is taxable income; and
  3. A single payment to the student to cover the cost of certain educational expenses, primarily books and equipment. The amount of this payment will be based on the average expenditure on these specified educational expenses incurred by students in the same class and year as the scholarship recipient.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria for a NHSC Scholarship:

  • Applied for or been accepted for enrollment in an accredited eligible school. To be qualified to actually receive a scholarship award, the applicant must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible school;
  • Have and maintain an acceptable level of academic standing;
  • Be citizens or nationals of the United States; and
  • Be eligible for federal civil service employment.

Obligation: Scholarship recipients agree to serve one year in full-time clinical practice in a federally designated health personnel shortage area for each year of scholarship support. The minimum commitment is two years. Scholarship recipients will have the option of serving all or part of their service obligation through private practice or employment by a public or private nonprofit health care agency in an area eligible for Corps assignees. Students determined by the Department of Health and Human Services to have exceptional promise for medical research may be granted individual post-doctoral fellowships and be allowed to perform their service as participants in the National Research Service Award Program. The post-doctoral fellowships are highly competitive and positions extremely limited.

Priorities for Scholarship Awards: Priority in awarding scholarships is given to former EFN and FADHPS scholarship recipients; applicants having characteristics that increase the probability of their practicing primary care in a health personnel shortage area; and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Deferments for Residency Training: Medical students may defer their service obligations to complete residency training only in the following specialties: general internal medicine, family practice, general pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Penalty for Failure to Complete Service Obligation: Students failing to fulfill service obligations incurred for scholarship support will be liable to repay within one year three times the amount of the scholarship assistance, plus interest at the maximum prevailing rate. No relief is available under bankruptcy laws until five years after repayment becomes due.

How to Obtain an Application: Applications may requested by calling 1-800-638-0824. Further information can be obtained from the NHSC Scholarship Program website http://nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov/join_us/scholarships.asp.

Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship

The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program provides contracts for financial assistance to medical students in exchange for an active duty service commitment to one of the Armed Forces (Air Force, Army, or Navy). Obligations incurred in the program will be served as a medical officer (physician) in the appropriate service. Application is made to each service separately and, although the programs are basically similar, there are a few minor variations. The following applies to all three programs:

Benefits, for each school year, up to four years:
  • Full tuition, whatever that tuition may be;
  • Educational expenses, including required textbooks, lab fees, and medical instruments;
  • A monthly living allowance (which is taxable income); and
  • An annual 45-day Active Duty Tour. Regardless of whether or not students actually spend this time in a military installation, they will be awarded full pay and allowances at the level of an Ensign in the Navy or a 2 nd Lieutenant in the Army of Air Force.

Availability: Because the total number of persons in the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program is restricted, each service offers a limited number of new scholarships each year. This number may include students training in health professions other than medicine. Competition for these scholarships is keen. Scholarships are most often granted to incoming freshmen.

Selection into the Program: Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizenship;
  • Acceptance to or current enrollment in an accredited medical school in the United States or Puerto Rico;
  • Be physically and morally qualified;
  • Willingness to sign an agreement that he or she will:
    1. Complete the educational phase of the program.
    2. Accept a commission in the appropriate military service and accept a reappointment into the Medical Corps of the appropriate military service upon completion of the program.
    3. Accept a first year postgraduate training position in a military institution if offered a position by the service

A selection board of medical officers from the appropriate service selects the applicants on the basis of:

  • Academic performance (GPA and MCAT scores)
  • Faculty recommendations
  • Leadership potential
  • Motivation to become a career medical officer

Applicants who show special interest in military service, who have prior military service, or who are presently in the military may have an edge in the selection process.

Obligation: In return for scholarship benefits, students agree to serve as physicians in the Army, Air Force, or Navy (whose physicians also serve the Marines). The obligation is one year of service per year of scholarship support.

All scholarship students are required to apply to military residencies in a separate and independent military match. While time spent in a military postgraduate training program does not incur additional obligated service, it also does not count toward the fulfillment of the service obligation. Students not matched to a military residency may request permission to pursue a civilian residency.

For applications and information:

  • NAVY: Navy Recruiting District Maryland, Naval Recruiting, 6525 Belcrest Road, Suite 450, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782 - Telephone: (301) 394-0502
  • ARMY - U.S. Army Health Care Recruiting Center, 6810 Deer Path Road, Suite 400 Elkridge, MD 21075 - Telephone: (410) 379-0691
  • AIR FORCE - USAF Health Professions Officer Recruiter U.S. Air Force Recruiting Office 5211 Auth Road, Suite 202 Suitland, Maryland 20746-4396 - Telephone: (301) 394-0904

Federal Direct Student Loans

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program enables students to borrow loans from, and repay loans to, the U.S. Department of Education instead of to a bank or lending institution.

Note that no separate financial aid application is required for the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Your eligibility will be determined on the basis of your FAFSA and other documents that may be requested of you by the College of Medicine’s Financial Aid Office.

An unsubsidized loan can be used to offset all of part of a borrower’s expected family contribution.

Important terms and conditions for William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are as follows:

Annual Amounts Available: For subsidized loans, the maximum amount that can be recommended is $8,500. For unsubsidized loans, the maximum amount that will be recommended for a 9-month academic year is $40,500, less the amount of the student’s subsidized loan. Junior medical students, who have a 12-month academic year, may borrow up to $47,167.

Aggregate Amounts Available : For subsidized loans, the aggregate loan limit for a graduate or professional student is $65,500, including amounts borrowed for undergraduate study. The overall aggregate limit for subsidized and unsubsidized loans is $189,125 for a student enrolled in certain health professions programs of study, including medicine. This aggregate limit includes loans received for undergraduate, graduate, and professional school enrollment.

Eligibility : to receive a Direct Student Loan, as well as other federal student aid, you must:

  1. Demonstrate financial need. A student’s eligibility for a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is determined, in part, by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by federal need analysis methodology, plus all other sources of financial aid, from the cost of study. Eligibility for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan is the cost of attendance less total award resources received. The College of Medicine’s Financial Aid Office will assist students in determining their eligibility for Federal Direct Student Loans.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  3. Have a valid Social Security Number.
  4. Be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school.
  5. Certify on the FAFSA that you are not in default on a federal student loan and that you do not owe money back on a federal student grant.
  6. Register with the Selective Service, if required.
  7. Certify on the FAFSA that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.
  8. Answer the question on the FAFSA that asks if you have ever been convicted of possessing or selling drugs.
  9. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a least a half-time student.

Disbursements: Normally, there will be two disbursements of loan proceeds during the academic year here at Howard. There will be one near the beginning of the first semester and a second near the beginning of the second semester. Each of these disbursements will be equal to one-half of the total amount of the loan less fees.

Fees: For Federal Direct Student Loans, there is a loan origination fee of 3 percent. This fee is deducted from each loan disbursement. Loan origination fees are retained by the federal government to help reduce the cost of these programs to the government.

Interest: The interest rate on Federal Direct Student Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2006 will be a fixed rate of 6.8 percent. Borrowers are not charged interest on subsidized loans during periods of at least half-time school enrollment, during the automatic grace period, and during authorized deferment periods. For unsubsidized loans, however, interest will be charged beginning the day the loan is disbursed until the day the loan is repaid. Students have the option of paying the interest when it is charged while in school, during the grace period, and/or during deferment, or may choose the option of allowing the interest to accumulate until the beginning of the repayment period when it will be capitalized or added to the loan principal.

Master Promissory Note: Each student approved to receive a Federal Direct Student Loan must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN enables you to sign a Direct Loan promissory note only once during your academic career at the Howard University College of Medicine. This one note will allow you to continue to borrow each year up to the aggregate amount along as enrollment is continuous. Signing the MPN is your promise to repay your Direct Student Loans in accord with the specified terms and conditions. The MPN also includes important language about your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. Students may go to www.dlenote.ed.gov to access the Master Promissory Note.

Entrance and Exit Counseling: The entrance counseling session or interview occurs before the school makes your first loan disbursement. The exit counseling session or interview occurs at graduation or withdrawal from school. Both sessions are required and will provide important information about your Federal Direct Student Loans, including interest rates, loan fees, yearly and total maximum amounts that may be borrowed, maximum repayment periods, repayment options, grace and deferment periods, forbearance provisions, and the definition and consequences of default. To complete the requirement, access the following website: www.directloans.ed.gov.

Repayment: Repayment begins six months after graduation or from the date enrollment status changes to less than one-half time. There are several repayment options for students who need flexibility in repaying their Direct Student Loans. These options are the standard repayment plan, the graduated repayment plan, the income sensitive repayment plan, and the extended repayment plan. There is no penalty for prepayment of the loan.

Grace Period: For subsidized loans, student borrowers have an automatic grace period of 6 months before repayment begins. The grace period begins when the student graduates or is no longer enrolled as at least a half-time student. No application for the grace period is required.

Deferments: A deferment differs from a grace period in that it must be applied for. For Federal Direct Student Loan borrowers, deferments are available for: (1) at least half-time study at an eligible school and (2) up to three years for any reason that has caused an economic hardship. During deferment periods for subsidized loans, payments on the principal may be deferred but interest is charged. Students may pay this interest or may let it accrue and be capitalized at the end of the deferment period.

Federal Direct Gradplus Loans

The GradPLUS loans are available to students enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program. GradPLUS borrowers may borrow up to the cost of attendance for the period of enrollment, minus other estimated financial assistance received for that period. GradPLUS loans carry a fixed interest rate of 7.9%. Some students may wish to consider the GradPLUS loan as an alternative to Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans.

GradPLUS loans are subject to credit review. A GradPLUS applicant who has an adverse credit history may be able to obtain the loan with an endorser or co-signer who does not have an adverse credit history.

Note that students are required to file a FAFSA for the year in which they plan to apply for the GradPLUS loan.

Private Student Loans

There are several private student loan programs available to medical students. Private loans can be used to substitute for a student’s expected family contribution as determined by need analysis and to fill in gaps between other financial aid and the cost of attendance. In evaluating private loans, one should consider interest rates, interest capitalization policies, annual and aggregate loan limits, minimum loan amounts, fees, the grace period, deferment options, incentives given for on time or automatic repayments, and the number of years allowed to repay the loan. Information on private student loans can be obtained from banks and other lenders. The University accepts loans from any alternative lender and does not recommend or prefer any specific lender. It is strongly suggested that students thoroughly research several lenders, including their own banking institution, before they select their lender of choice.

Loans for Disadvantaged Students

The Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) program is limited to disadvantaged students as defined by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Financial Aid Office will determine the eligibility of students who apply for financial aid through the College of Medicine and will recommend selected students for awards within the limits of availability. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and unconditional permanent residents.

In order for the eligibility for this scholarship to be determined, parental data on the FAFSA and on the Howard University College of Medicine financial aid application must be provided.

To be eligible, a student must demonstrate financial need as determined by need analysis, including calculation of contributions from the student and the student’s parents and spouse.

Repayment of the principal and interest at 5 percent begins one year after completion of medical school or may be deferred until a student has completed residency training. The maximum repayment period is ten years. Students who wish to be considered for this loan should complete Section D (Special Circumstances/Additional Information) on the Howard University College of Medicine Application for Student Financial Assistance.

Primary Care Loans (PCL)

Under this program, schools of medicine may make loans to students who are committed to a career as a family physician, general internist, general pediatrician, or specialist in preventive medicine/public health. Commitment is defined as agreeing to enter and complete a residency training program in primary care as previously defined and to practice primary health care through the date on which the loan is repaid in full.

In order to determine eligibility for the PCL, parental data on the FAFSA and on the Howard University College of Medicine financial aid application must be provided. To be eligible, a student must demonstrate financial need as determined by need analysis, including calculation of contributions from the student and student’s parents and spouse. Eligibility is limited to U.S. citizens and unconditional permanent residents. Repayment of the principal and interest at 5 percent begins one year after completion of medical school or may be deferred until a student has completed residency training.

If a PCL recipient fails to enter and complete a primary care residency training program within four years of graduation, and/or fails to practice primary care until the loan is repaid in full, the following penalties apply: the unpaid balance due on the loan will be immediately computed again from the date of issuance at an interest rate of 18 percent and the computed balance must be repaid within 10 to 25 years after the date on which the borrower fails to comply with the agreement.

If interested in the Primary Care Loan Program (PCL), please contact the College of Medicine’s Financial Aid Office for further information and to request application guidelines.