The Student Loan Programs
The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program
The primary source of financial assistance for physician assistant students attending PA School will be the federal Stafford Student Loan Program. Beginning July 1, 2012, a Subsidized Stafford Loan will no longer be available, however graduate students may be eligible for as much as $20,500 a year through the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. The student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is capitalized (allowed to accumulate) it will be added to the principal amount of the loan and will increase the amount the borrower will have to repay. If the choice is made to pay the interest as it accumulates, the total interest charges paid during repayment will be considerably less.
The total amount a graduate or professional student may borrow from all Stafford Loans combined is $138,500 (no more than $65,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans). The graduate borrowing limit includes any Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.
Under current law, the interest rate charged on Federal Stafford Loans is fixed at 5.31 percent. There are also origination and guarantee fees associated with each loan up to 1.069 percent. These fees are deducted up front and thus lower the actual amount of each disbursement.
Repayment of Stafford Loans begins six months after graduation or withdrawal from the PA program. This is called the grace period. During the grace period on a subsidized loan, no payment of any principal is due, and no interest will be charged.
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Program
For students who need financial assistance beyond the $20,500 Stafford Loan maximum, there is the federal Graduate PLUS Loan program. The PLUS Loan allows for the deferment of repayment while the student is enrolled in the PA program. The PLUS Loan carries a fixed 6.31 percent interest rate. There are also origination and guarantee fees associated with each loan up to 4.276 percent. These fees are deducted up front and thus lower the actual amount of each disbursement. The maximum amount a student may borrow from the PLUS Loan program will be the Cost of Attendance for the PA Program less any Stafford Loans and other forms of financial aid a student may be receiving.
Forgiveable Education Loans for Service
Created by the 2011 NC General Assembly, this program is a forgivable loan providing funding for to students pursing degrees in certain critical fields. Students must be NC residents. Students in the physician assistant program may be eligible for up to $10,000 annually with a maximum aggregate limit of $20,000. Recipients must sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan by working in North Carolina in their approved field of study. Applications and all additional information are available on- line at www.CFNC.org/.
National Health Service Corps
The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship is a competitive program that pays tuition, fees and provides a living stipend to students enrolled in accredited medical (MD or DO), dental, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, and physician assistant training programs. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers between 2 and 4 years in a community-based site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) that has applied to and been approved by the NHSC as a service site.
Awards are made to applicants most committed to serving underserved people and most likely to build successful careers in HPSAs and meet future needs for care throughout the nation.
Please monitor the NHSC website http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/scholarships/overview/index.html for updated information on future application cycles.
Indian Health Service
Indian health programs need dedicated health professionals – people like you who envision a career with a purpose and mission and who are willing to commit to working in American Indian and Alaska Native communities where they can truly make a difference.
The mission of HIS is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level. Because of the HIS Scholarship Program, many qualified American Indian and Alaska Native health professionals are given the opportunity to pursue their careers as well as help their own communities. Check out their website for qualifications and awards: http://www.ihs.gov/scholarship/.
Depending on your type of service or chapter, you may be eligible for funding to help with your educational expenses. There are specific requirements and forms you must submit in order to start receiving benefits. Please follow this link to learn more about these opportunities.
Other Possible Funding Sources
Candidates and students are encouraged to apply to clubs, organizations, corporations, agencies and foundations for funding that may be used at any school the student chooses to attend. These groups may be able to offer students scholarship and grant funding that does not have to be repaid. In addition, many healthcare institutions offer tuition reimbursement for students who contract to work at their facility where they currently work or are interested in working after graduation. Students should inquire about this possibility at the facility where they are interested in working.
Students may also obtain a listing of potential funding sources by reviewing the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) website.http://www.aapa.org/your_pa_career/pa_students/resources/item.aspx?id=913