The Federal Aid Process
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The links below guide you through the federal aid process, from filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receiving federal loans and maintaining your eligibility. You must go through the federal aid application process every year. It is highly recommended that you complete your FAFSA for the upcoming academic year prior to January 1st. You will also find information regarding unusual circumstances during the federal aid process and your rights and responsibilities regarding federal student aid.
To be eligible for federal student financial aid, you must:
- File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
- Be a U.S. Citizen or an Eligible Non-citizen (see below).
- Have a high school diploma or GED High School Equivalency diploma.
- Be enrolled in a degree-seeking or approved certificate program.
- Not be in default on any federal educational loans or owe a refund on a federal grant.
- Make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)*.
* Scroll down for details on SAP
Note for UIC College of Medicine Students:
To be eligible for financial aid, you must be enrolled as a regular student taking courses in the medical curriculum working towards your degree. Students on a leave of absence are not enrolled and thus are ineligible for financial aid. Students who are studying for the USMLE exam but who are not enrolled as a regular student and taking medical school classes are not eligible for financial aid.
To meet the Citizen or Eligible Non-citizen criteria, you must be:
- A U.S. Citizen (or U.S. National)
- A permanent U.S. resident with an Permanent Resident Card (I-551, or I-551C)
- The holder of an I-94 from the Department of Homeland Security with one of the following designations:
- Asylum Granted
- Parolee – for a minimum of one year and status has not expired
- Victim of Human Trafficking
- T-Visa Holder: (T1, T2, T3, etc)
- Cuban-Haitian entrant
To apply for federal, state, and institutional funds, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. UIC’s priority deadline to apply each year is March 1st. You can file the FAFSA online. The FAFSA website also has information about basic eligibility requirements for federal financial aid.
To sign the FAFSA online, you will need to create an FSA ID. An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. Only create an FSA ID using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. Misrepresentation of your identity to the federal government could result in criminal or civil penalties. This FSA ID takes the place of using a Federal Student Aid Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can create your FSA ID online. Once you have created your personal FSA ID, you can use it to:
- Correct your FAFSA information online
- Electronically sign loan promissory notes
- Reapply for financial aid in future years
- View information about federal loans and grants you have received by logging into StudentAid.gov
UIC’S SCHOOL CODE: 001776
You must list UIC’s school code on the FAFSA. Otherwise, UIC will not receive your FAFSA information and will not be able to award you aid. All College of Medicine students must use UIC’s school code, even those in Peoria, and Rockford.
Approximately 25% of student applicants at UIC are selected each year for verification. If selected, the OSFA will provide you a link to print a Verification Worksheet. You and your spouse, if applicable, must complete the worksheet and return it along with all requested additional documentation. This will include but is not limited to your official federal tax information. This information may be provided using the IRS Data Retrieval option on your FAFSA application, or by providing an official IRS Tax Return Transcript. Those submitting an official IRS Tax Return Transcript or those who are not required to file a federal tax return per IRS regulations, will be required to submit any W-2 forms. Tax and wage information is year specific, so please be sure to read any requests you receive from the financial aid office carefully to ensure your are submitting the appropriate documentation.
The COM OSFA will review the documentation you submit and make any necessary corrections to your FAFSA information. The verification process generally takes two weeks. Once completed, you will be notified via email.
Other Required Documentation
Sometimes the federal processor flags a student’s FAFSA and requires additional documentation to verify FAFSA data. Students might be required to submit documentation regarding:
- Selective Service
- Loan Default
- Loan Discharge
- Veteran Status
- Social Security Number/Name/Date of Birth Discrepancies
- Federal Aid Over Payments
If any of this additional documentation is required, the OSFA will send you a request via email. Please submit any required documentation as soon as possible, so as not to hold up the processing of your awards.
Once your FAFSA and any additional required documents have been processed, the COM OSFA will award you financial aid. You will receive an email instructing you to view your Award Notification online via the UIC Portal under the Finances tab. You will use the electronic award letter to accept or decline the aid offered to you. Make sure you regularly check your university email for notifications from the COM OSFA.
The OSFA begins awarding aid to incoming students in mid-March. Continuing students are awarded starting in June. Complete your award letter online as soon as possible so that the OSFA can finalize your awards for the upcoming year.
Be aware that your financial aid awards can be adjusted at any point during the year. Your aid can be adjusted for a variety of reasons — if you fail to notify the OSFA of enrollment changes, if the OSFA learns of outside financial resources (including but not limited to tuition waivers, scholarships, fellowships), if you do not submit all required documentation to the OSFA, if corrections are made to your FAFSA data, etc.
The COM OSFA may increase, decrease, or cancel awards. If your aid is adjusted, you will receive an email informing you of a Revised Award Notification online.
The OSFA begins disbursing aid no earlier than 10 days before the start of each semester (according to the UIC academic calendar). All aid is credited to your UIC student billing account each semester. Please be aware that based upon notification of other awards, changes in enrollment, etc. your financial aid and bill can change at any time (even after the semester has concluded). Regardless of the timing, the OSFA is required to make the appropriate adjustments. Once notified the OSFA tries to make adjustments as soon as possible, but depending upon the time of the year making the necessary adjustments may take up to two weeks.
You can check your up to date student account balance, including any aid disbursements online via the UIC portal under the Finances tab.
Keep in mind that you cannot receive aid until you have satisfied all outstanding requirements, gone through the awarding process, and responded to your Award Notification online. By accepting your financial aid awards or by them being disbursed to your student account, you are accepting all terms and conditions associated with each award. It is your responsibility to make sure you have reviewed and fully understand the terms and conditions.
If your aid is greater than the charges assessed on your student account, University Bursar’s Office will issue you a refund for the surplus. You must enroll in the direct deposit program with USFSCO in order to receive your refund. For more about refunds, direct deposit, and free banking options, see University Bursar’s information on refunds.
First, Second and Third Year Students
Summer aid is handled separately from the fall/spring terms. The initial Award Notification for first, second and third years does not include summer financial aid. In the spring semester first, second and third years will receive a Revised Award Notification, via email, offering summer aid. Summer is considered the last semester in an academic year, so it will be part of your current year award letter. first, second and third years should have fall, spring, and summer financial aid offered on their award letter by June. Please contact the COM OSFA if this is not the case for you.
Fourth Year Students
Fourth year students are not expected to be enrolled for the summer. If you are a fourth year student and will be registered for the summer, please contact our office.
Similar to the fall and spring semesters, you must be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours to be eligible to receive federal student aid in the summer.
Direct Stafford Loan Borrowing Chart for Medical Students
The below chart displays annual borrowing maximums per year based on a 4 year medical student schedule including 3 summer terms in borrowing year 1, 2, and 3. Borrowing Year Academic Year Unsub Term Loan Amounts Total Unsub Loan Amount for Year # of Months Year 1 Year 1 Fall $20,250 Year 1 Spring $20,250 Year 1 Summer $6,667 $47,167 12 Year 2 Year 2 Fall $20,250 Year 2 Spring $20,250 Year 2 Summer $6,667 $47,167 12 Year 3 Year 3 Fall $20,250 Year 3 Spring $20,250 Year 3 Summer $6,667 $47,167 12 Year 4 Year 4 Fall $20,250 Year 4 Spring $20,250 $40,500 9
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
The University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM) observes federal regulations in evaluating whether recipients of federal financial aid are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a degree. UICOM uses both a quantitative measure and a qualitative measure to determine SAP.
The College Committee on Student Promotions (CCSP) monitors the academic progress of medical students in according with the Student Academic Promotions Policy. The OSFA defers to the CCSP’s decisions regarding the student’s progress through the curriculum and completion of College requirements for promotion. Take a look at UI COM’s Academic Policies and Professional Standards.
Medical students’ aid eligibility is contingent upon completing their degree requirements within these specified time frame limits.
The allowable time to completion begins at the time a student first enrolls in an MD program. All leaves of absence for any reason, repeat years, incomplete courses for any reason, and repeated courses count toward the allowable time for completion of the MD degree.
The college will evaluate SAP each year, following the spring term. If students fail to meet all requirements for SAP, the College will not certify them as eligible for federal student aid.
Program Timeframe Traditional MD program 7 Years Decompressed program or the MD/MS or MD/MPH joint degree program 8 Years MD/MBA or MD/JD joint degree programs 9 Years MD/PhD joint degree programs 12 Years
If aid for a medical student is cancelled due to not maintaining SAP, the student can have eligibility reinstated once he/she is in good standing with all SAP requirements. Students may reestablish eligibility for financial aid at any point during the academic year and be given the same consideration for aid as other students maintaining SAP.
Depending upon when students regain their eligibility, they may become eligible for financial aid for the payment period in which it is determined they have met the SAP requirements; otherwise, it would become effective the following payment period. Students should track their progress as it is their responsibility to notify the OSFA in writing if they feel they have regained their financial aid eligibility. Since SAP is only reviewed at the conclusion of the spring term for all students, it is extremely important that students notify the OSFA in a timely fashion, if they feel they have regained eligibility during the summer and/or fall terms.
Students may appeal determinations that they are not eligible for federal aid. In support of these appeal, they must show evidence of that they meet eligibility requirements and – as applicable – have an action plan to complete UICOM degree requirements.
Students are encouraged to work with the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) to develop their appeal. The SAP Committee, in conjunction with OSFA, will review and decide on all appeals.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
As a financial aid applicant or recipient, you have certain rights and responsibilities. You should clearly understand them before you accept financial aid.
Student Rights – You have the right to:
- Know what financial aid is available, including information on all federal, state, local, and institutional financial aid programs.
- Know the procedures and deadlines for financial aid, including when and how your aid will be disbursed.
- Know how your financial need is determined.
- Expect fair and equitable treatment from the OSFA staff. It is our goal to assist you promptly and professionally throughout the financial aid process.
- Know the interest rate on any educational loan you have, the total amount you must repay, the length of the repayment period, when repayment begins, and what cancellation or deferment provisions apply.
- Know how Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is measured and how you can reestablish eligibility for federal financial aid if you fail to meet one of the standards.
- Have your financial aid information kept confidential, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The COM OSFA will not disclose personally identifiable information contained in you education records without your written consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. See the complete UIC Student Records Policy.
You have the primary responsibility for meeting your educational expenses at UIC. The OSFA expects that you and your family will make every effort to provide a reasonable contribution toward your education.
You are responsible for:
- Filing the appropriate applications and forms for each type of aid that you wish to receive by the established deadlines.
- Providing all requested information to the OSFA accurately and promptly.
- Regularly checking your university email account for important updates and notifications from the COM OSFA.
- Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) according to established university policies and standards.
- Reporting all financial assistance, such as scholarships, received from any outside source to the COM OSFA.
- Reporting any changes in your name, address, or attendance status to the appropriate office within the university.
- Repaying all student loans you receive. You are required to complete an Exit Interview if you receive a federal student loan, a university loan, or a health professional loan.
- Understanding the withdrawal and refund policy of UIC.
- Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, the University cannot disclose personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records without the student’s written consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. A student’s parent or spouse does not have the automatic right to view the student’s records without the express written consent of the student. View the UIC Student Records Policy.
- Complete the COM OSFA’s FERPA form.
- Paying your UIC billing charges, finance charges, and late fees if you apply late for financial aid or if you do not submit required documents to the OSFA in a timely manner. Disbursement of late awards may occur two or more months after the term begins.
Withdrawal, Leave of Absence, and Dismissal
When you withdraw, two separate processes occur—the Office of Admissions and Records (OAR) prorates your tuition and some fees (according to their withdrawal policy and refund schedule), and the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) prorates your financial aid.
When you withdraw, stop attending classes, or are dismissed by the university, you will be billed for any amount of your federal/state aid that is considered an advanced payment. In addition, if you are due a refund of tuition and fees, a portion of that refund may be retained to repay the federal aid accounts on your behalf or to serve as a prepayment on your loan(s). If you have questions about how changes in your enrollment can affect your current or future financial aid eligibility, contact the COM OSFA.
If your withdrawal takes place before completing 60 percent of the term, the OSFA will calculate an earned aid percentage based upon the number of days attended, divided by the total number of days in the term. This percentage will be multiplied by the total amount of federal aid received. The result is the amount of aid you earned before withdrawing and are, therefore, allowed to keep. The difference between the federal aid disbursed to you and the amount of aid you are entitled to must be returned to the federal programs in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
- Direct Grad PLUS Loan
- Other Title IV Funds
If you have received funds from the state or an outside agency, or if you received institutional funds, you will be billed for any amount of funds that is considered an advanced payment. The OSFA must follow the guidelines specified by those organizations regarding withdrawals. For most aid types a prorated return is required.
Financial Aid for Students on a Leave of Absence is Prohibited
No financial aid, in any form, is available to students during a leave of absence. This is regardless of the type of leave, or the purpose of the leave. Students on a leave of absence may not receive federal loans, private loans, institutional loans, institutional scholarships, or outside scholarship funds.
Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended, the University cannot disclose personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records without the student’s written consent, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. A student’s parent or spouse does not have the automatic right to view the student’s records without the express written consent of the student. View the UIC Student Records Policy here.