Types of Financial Aid
Financial aid programs are available to cover the education
costs you or your family cannot pay for. Two major types open to
dental students are: 1) scholarships and grants, both of which are
gift aid and can be based on merit, special interests, or financial
need; and 2) loans, which are funds that must be repaid. Later in
this chapter we will talk more about different types of
scholarships and grants. This section focuses on how you apply for
federal aid which is open to U.S. citizens and eligible permanent
residents, and constitutes the majority of all available financial
Need-based financial aid programs can include subsidized,
low-interest loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs
(which allow you to work, usually on campus around your class
schedule). The amount of total need-based aid you can receive is
determined by the following formula: Cost of Attendance (COA) ˆ'
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need. The total
amount of need-based aid can't exceed your financial need as
determined by this formula.
The cost of attendance is determined by the dental school where
you enroll. The calculated family contribution is based on the
financial information that you (and perhaps your family) provide on
the school's financial aid application forms.
Most need-based aid is sponsored by the federal government and
is administered by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in the
case of Title IV aid and by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) in the case of Title VII aid. Many dental schools
offer institutional need-based assistance, as do a number of
states. Some loans are either low-interest or interest-free while
you are enrolled in school. To receive need-based funds from
federally sponsored programs, you must meet other eligibility
criteria including being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and
maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
Cost-based aid (also referred to as non-need-based aid) is
different from need-based aid because it does not require you or
your family to demonstrate financial need. Instead, cost-based aid
is determined as follows: Cost of Attendance (COA) ˆ' Estimated
Financial Aid = Cost-Based Eligibility.
As a result, cost-based financial aid can serve as a useful
financing mechanism for students who may not qualify for adequate
need-based assistance and have minimal financial resources of their
own to pay for the full cost of their dental education. The federal
government, private organizations, and some dental schools offer
cost-based loan assistance programs. Note that cost-based aid
consists primarily of loans, and creditworthiness is usually a
criterion for eligibility. Your total education loan debt may also
be a factor in determining eligibility for cost-based aid.
Merit-based and other non-need-based grants and scholarships are
open to students who meet specific criteria. These funds may be
awarded by the dental school itself.
Financing a Dental Education)