VCOM College Catalog and Student Handbook

Programs such as the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program pay for tuition and other costs of attendance and may be applied for as early as their first year. Currently, the federal government offers loan repayment to graduates of residencies who work in certain federally qualified health centers or with the Indian Health Service. Loan forgiveness may also exist when working for certain non-profits. Loan Forgiveness Programs and Service Contracts generally require a commitment from the student to practice in designated geographical locations for minimum time periods and may also include stipulations as to the type of practice specialty. In return, the programs may pay for tuition, books, supplies, equipment, health insurance, living stipends, or a combination of these expenses while the student is in school. A student may also contact a hospital or organization directly and request this type of financial assistance. The VCOM Office of Financial Aid has sample contracts for hospitals or organizations that have no history or experience in this type of assistance. The Office of Financial Aid maintains a list of know programs on our website at: fees/scholarships?campus=All&class=All&type=193&sort_by=title&sort_order=ASC. This is not an all-inclusive list and we urge students to also research programs on their own. Before entering into a Loan Forgiveness Program or Service Contract, a student should fully understand his/her promised commitment and be aware of all penalties for not honoring the commitment. The VCOM Office of Financial Aid is available for any questions a student may have about a program or contract being considered. Loan Repayment Several options for repayment of loans are available to students. Listed below is a brief description of the different options: • Standard (Level) Repayment: Student repays loan in equal monthly installments over a ten-year period. This is, in general, the least expensive way to repay loans because the amount of accumulated interest and the length of repayment are kept to a minimum. • Graduated Repayment: Monthly payments begin small and increase over time, with a maximum length of 25 years. Since the initial payments are applied mostly to the interest and not to the principal, in the long run the borrower pays more through this method. However, it does appeal to some borrowers who need more time to adjust to making the monthly payments. • Extended Repayment: This option is available to new borrowers who accumulate outstanding loans totaling more than $30,000. A fixed annual or graduated repayment amount is established and the repayment period extended for up to 25 years. • Income-Driven Repayment: Payments can be adjusted to the borrower’s current annual income. Payments are based on a percentage of the student’s gross yearly income, so the plan must be renewed each year, up to a maximum length of 25 years. The total amount of interest the borrower pays may be substantially higher than the other methods of repayment. However, if the borrower reaches the maximum repayment plan length with a balance still outstanding, that balance is forgiven. Private (Alternative) Loans Private loans serve to bridge the gap between the Cost of Attendance and other types of financial aid (Direct Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans, scholarships/grants, and service contracts). Private loans are offered by private lenders and are not based on financial need. Private loan eligibility is usually based on the borrower’s credit score. Educational lenders use the credit score in combination with other specific considerations, such as debt-to-


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