Health Professions Student Loan
Pursuing a career in the health professions is a noble endeavor, although not inexpensive. Fortunately, there are many opportunities for financial aid available to you. The first things you should check into are grants and scholarships that you may qualify for. After you have exhausted all forms of free money, you may need to explore student loans. The Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL) is a federal loan offered by participating schools through the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services for potential health professionals entering fields, such as:
- Podiatric medicine
- Veterinary medicine
To determine your qualification for funding for a HPSL, you will first need to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The information you provide on your FAFSA will decide how much, if any, federal aid you are eligible for by calculating your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and then subtracting any other financial aid you are already receiving. There is no specific cap for an HPSL, although the amount you receive cannot exceed the cost of attendance at your school. Some schools may not have enough funds to disburse the total amount you may qualify for as well, so the amount you receive may be less than the amount you are awarded.
HPSL awards are funded by the federal government and disbursed by your participating school. To qualify for an HPSL, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- Be enrolled full-time in one of the eligible fields at an accredited school
- Maintain good standing at your school as specified by your school
- Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent U.S. resident
- Demonstrate financial need
If you are a dependent student, meaning you are under age 24, not married, don’t have any dependents of your own, and are financially dependent, your parent’s financial information and income tax records are necessary in order to determine your EFC. The HPSL awards are meant for students who are economically disadvantaged.
Application and Disbursement
To apply for an HPSL, you should contact your school’s financial aid office. If you are awarded an HPSL you will receive an award letter from the school with all the details. You then can either accept or decline the award. To accept, you will sign a promissory note that details your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. This note is a legal binding document indicating your agreement to pay the loan back. You will then be required to complete an entrance interview further explaining your loan to you. Funds are disbursed directly to you or placed into your school account. Funds first cover tuition and fees and then any leftover money can be used for room and board and other education-related expenses.
Since 1988, all HPSL awards have a low, fixed annual interest rate of 5 percent. Schools may choose to also charge an insurance premium, but these rates cannot exceed 0.6 percent. Interest does not begin to accrue until after you finish your yearlong grace period. The grace period is a time during which you do not have to make payments, and it starts as soon as you drop below full-time status or graduate. If you are entering into a residency or other qualified program, however, you may be able to apply for a deferment on your repayment. This extends the time before your first payment is due.
You will have the option to choose a repayment plan that works best for you as determined by your loan servicer during your required exit interview. With an HPSL repayment plan, you may not pay less than $40 a month for a period between 10 and 25 years. Certain circumstances may qualify you for a forbearance or even forgiveness of your debt. For example, if you enter into a qualifying public health services position, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Contact your loan servicer for more information on eligibility and repayment options.
Types of Student Loans
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- Interest Free
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- No Co-signer
- No Credit Check
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- Private School
- Subsidized Loans