Section XIV: Financial Aid and Tuition Policies

General Policy Statement

While the Warren Alpert Medical School (AMS) tries to assist students with documented financial need, the primary responsibility for paying for one's medical education must rest with each student and his or her family. When the amount that a student and his or her family can contribute is not sufficient to meet all of the costs of attending medical school, financial aid is available from several sources. Actual awards depend on federal funding levels as well as on institutional resources, as determined annually in the medical cost of attendance approved by the University Corporation. Although graduate students are considered independent for most types of federal aid, the medical school does not recognize the status of the independent student in the awarding of institutional funds, regardless of the student's age, marital status, or number of years which he or she has been self-supporting. This policy ensures that institutional funds are allocated to students who have demonstrated limited family resources.

In accordance with federal laws and applicable regulations, Brown University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, age, handicap, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin in the awarding of financial assistance.

Eligibility for Financial Aid

To be eligible for financial aid in the Medical School, a student must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-granting program and must be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree as defined in Section V, Policies and Protocols on Academic Standing and Promotion.  Students who attend on a less-than-half-time basis are not eligible for federal or institutional financial aid.   If students drop courses throughout the semester resulting in less-than half-time enrollment, their aid for the semester will be canceled.  

At AMS, enrollment and tuition charges are assessed each semester.  For years 1 and 2, full-time enrollment is defined as enrollment in all required courses for each semester.  For years 3 & 4, full-time enrollment in a semester is defined as 2 quarters of academic study or 24 weeks.  Half-time enrollment is defined as 1 quarter or 12 weeks.  Enrollment for less than 12 weeks is usually considered to be less than half-time.  Enrollment status between 7 and 12 weeks is defined by the AMS registrar for each individual in conjunction with their academic study plan. 

Students are only eligible for aid during periods of enrollment for which they are being charged tuition. AMS scholarships and loans are generally not available for expenses related to enrollment in courses taken by away clerkships, even though transfer of academic credit may be authorized. Students who attend AMS for less than a full academic year will have aid prorated to reflect their actual enrollment. Students are not eligible for institutional aid during periods of enrollment in the Academic Scholar Program, however they may be considered for federal loan funding upon request.   

Students may receive up to ten semesters of AMS scholarship funding while in medical school. This is an important factor that students should consider who wish to pursue other interests and might attend AMS for only a portion of the academic year. While the OFA will pro-rate the base-loan amount which will often allow for a portion of scholarship funding to be retained, this pro-rated amount will count toward the ten semesters of scholarship eligibility to which students are restricted.

International students who do not hold a permanent resident visa are not eligible for federal financial aid programs, although institutional merit aid may be offered through the admission process to  a limited number of students.

Policy for Satisfactory Academic Progress for Receipt of Federal Financial Aid

Federal regulations require that all students receiving federal financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). There is both a qualitative and quantitative measure for determining students’ progress. The Federal SAP policy applies to all medical students receiving federal financial aid. SAP will be assessed at the end of each financial aid year (June 30) to determine medical students' eligibility for federal aid.  The following policy presents the standards established by the Warren Alpert Medical School (AMS).

Policy Qualitative Measure: Grading Policies and Academic Promotion

The Medical Committee on Academic Standing and Professionalism (MCASP) at AMS is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the academic performance of all medical students. On the basis of this review, the MCAS determines whether students are to be promoted, promoted with conditions, not promoted, dismissed, graduated, or graduated contingent upon completion of certain remaining requirements.

The MCASP meets at least six times throughout the academic year to discuss student academic progress. Meeting minutes and letters sent to students are also submitted to the OFA.  The OFA will reach out to each student who has failed coursework, is on either warning or probation and will ask for a remediation plan. The OFA will also advise these students that financial aid may be withheld if they are unable to meet the requirements of remediation within the time-frame set forth.

Medical students are graded on a Satisfactory (S), No Credit (NC) basis in years 1 and 2.  In years 3 and 4, students are graded on a Honors (H), Satisfactory (S), No Credit (NC) basis, when applicable. (See Section II for available grading options for each course.) For a detailed description of AMS grading policies, refer to the Student Affairs Policies Handbook 2014-2015, Section III. Students must complete each required course, clerkship or elective in the curriculum with a satisfactory grade (or an equivalent as determined by the MCASP) in order to graduate. Therefore, grade performance as a measure of satisfactory academic progress is reviewed in the context of each course.  

Quantitative Measure: Student Pace and Maximum Time Limits

The normal period of enrollment for the M.D. degree is four years and eight years for the MD/PhD degree. For purposes of receiving federal aid, the academic progress students will complete satisfactorily is:

In Years I and II students must receive a passing grade in all required courses.  In addition, Year II students must satisfactorily complete the Clinical Skills Clerkship before starting Year III.*

The third and fourth years of the medical curriculum are considered a single 80 week continuum. Students have 100 weeks between the start of the first clerkship block, at the start of their third year and mid-May of the fourth year to complete all 80 weeks of required clerkships and electives.

Students must pass Step 1 and take Step 2 CK and CS of the USMLE prior to graduation. Starting with the MD class of 2018, students must pass Step 2 CK in order to graduate.*

*Note that students can review the specific course and clerkship requirements as listed in the Student Affairs Policies Handbook, Section II, Policies on and the Requirements for the M.D. Degree.

If a student fails a course(s), OFA will contact the student to request the plan for remediation of the failed work and the time-frame in which they have to complete the work.  Failure to complete the requirements in the time-frame set forth will be assessed by the OFA at the end of the financial aid year, June 30.  Financial aid eligibility will be suspended for the next aid year if requirements are not met.

Maximum Timeframe

Students will be permitted a maximum timeframe to complete the medical degree:

Degree Standard Maximum
M.D. 4 6
M.D./Ph.D. 8
9

The MCASP may give approval for a student to repeat a portion of the curriculum.  The required number of courses, clerkships, and electives to be completed at the end of each enrollment period will vary in these cases, according to what portion of the curriculum must be repeated.   In addition, a student may opt to take time away for a project that is relative to their medical education.  To accommodate these circumstances, the maximum time-frame for enrollment for an M.D. degree is six years.  The maximum period of six years includes the time spent on an approved leave of absence or during an approved Research Scholar Program. The maximum time-frame for enrollment for an MD/PhD degree is nine years. Funding beyond the maximum time-frame may be provided only if approved by the MCASP committee and must be based on a student appeal due to significant mitigating circumstances.

Course Completion Requirements, Remedial Study and Course Repetition

The MCASP reviews each student’s situation individually.  In general, the committee follows the guidelines set-forth in the AMS Student Handbook to determine academic progress. Please refer to the AMS Student Handbook, Sections II, III and V for a complete description of the policies and requirements for the MD degree and grading and academic performance policies.

If a student is placed on academic warning by the MCASP, students may receive federal Title IV financial aid, but will be asked to submit the remediation plan set forth by MCASP to the director of financial aid. The student will be responsible for demonstrating to the director that they have met the terms set forth in their academic plan, and within the plan's specified time-frame, to maintain satisfactory academic progress.  As long as they can demonstrate to the director at the end of the financial aid year (June 30) that they have met the terms set forth in their academic plan, and within the specified time-frame, they are considered to be making satisfactory academic progress.

At the conclusion of each financial aid year (June 30), if the student has successfully completed the requirements for making satisfactory progress within the time-frame outlined within their plan, the student continues to be eligible for federal aid.  Failure to do so at the end of the academic year, when SAP is assessed for all federal aid recipients, will result in suspension of financial aid until the work is completed satisfactorily.  The student will receive written notification of the aid suspension.  The student may appeal this decision.  Please refer to the Appeal Process section below. 

Appeals

If the student fails to meet the goals of the remediation plan, the student may submit an appeal along with supporting documentation to substantiate their appeal.  It is the student’s responsibility to keep the OFA informed of progress made toward meeting the plan goals. 

A student whose financial aid has been suspended may appeal, based on the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances.  The student appeal should be submitted to the director of financial aid, requesting reconsideration of the aid suspension.  The appeal must be submitted within three days of the date they received the written notification of aid suspension.

In general, the appeal form that the student prepares should include:

  • Reasons why the student did not meet the minimum academic standards
  • What has changed in their situation to allow them to meet satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation?

Each appeal will be considered on its own merit. Individual cases will not be considered a precedent. The decision once made is final.

Reinstatement

A student shall be reinstated for federal Title IV financial aid eligibility at such time as they have satisfactorily completed sufficient coursework/remediation requirements to meet the standards for progress set forth in this policy, as determined by the Associate Dean of Medical Education, and MCAS. 

Assessing Parental Resources

Graduate and professional school students may wish to declare independence from their parents. Some have been self-supporting for years. While the medical school is sensitive to the desire of students to maintain financial independence of their families, it is not in a position to transfer financial dependence from one's parents to AMS. Therefore, parental information is required for all students applying for institutional funding (i.e., Alpert Medical School loans and scholarships) as well as many types of federal funding, regardless of the student's age, marital status, or number of years which he/she has been self-supporting.

Parental information may be waived in exceptional circumstances. Students who have unusual family circumstances are advised to discuss their situation with the director of financial aid.

Assessing Student (and Spouse) Resources

Students are expected to pay for a portion of their educational expenses. That contribution depends on several factors which are described below:

  • Base Year vs. Academic Year Income: In determining student and spouse contributions, the Federal Methodology, uses base year data, or income data for the calendar year prior to the academic year for which financial aid is sought. The analysis assumes a continuation of that income in the following calendar year. In many cases, that assumption will be wrong. If your income will be substantially different from one year to the next, please explain this change through the AMS financial aid application process. First- and second-year students should take special care to report large decreases in income from year to year.
  • Summer Earnings Expectation: First- and second-year students generally are expected to contribute $1,650 from summer earnings toward their educational expenses. The summer earnings contribution is not waived for students who elect to take courses that are not required for admission to the medical school. Since third- and fourth-year students are enrolled year round, a summer earnings contribution is not expected unless a significant block of time is free from class or clerkship requirements.
  • Student's (and Spouse's) Assets: A contribution is expected from assets which the student and/or spouse own, including, but not limited to, savings, certain types of property, and investments. Please be aware that federal regulations require assets which are held in the student's social security number or his/her spouse's social security number to be considered a resource for the student's education.

How the Student Cost of Attendance is Determined

The cost of attendance is thoughtfully calculated annually based on many resources; market analysis of the cost of living in the Providence area, University charges approved by the Brown Corporation, consumer price index reports (CPI) provided through the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and periodic survey feedback from enrolled students regarding their living expenses. The student cost of attendance reflects costs only for periods of enrollment and includes tuition, fees, books and supplies, national board fees, transportation expenses, and reasonable personal and living expenses.  Federal regulations do not permit student budgets to include expenses related to the cost of purchasing an automobile or home and cannot include consumer debt that is not related to educational expenses. The cost of attendance is finalized in April and typically increases by 3 - 5% each year and is displayed on the financial aid website at Cost of Attendance.

Financial Aid Packages for Students Receiving Institutional Funding

Once financial need has been determined, the OFA constructs a "package" or combination of financial aid resources. The sources of aid are based upon program eligibility criteria, availability of funds and the level of financial need. Awards may consist of scholarship funds, subsidized loans or unsubsidized loans.

The financial need of students who qualify for institutional funding is covered first with a fixed amount in institutional and federal loans, which is called the base loan component. All need remaining after the base loan is subtracted, is met with need-based AMS scholarship.

The amount and composition of the base loan is determined annually upon anticipated institutional resources and the projected aggregate need of financial aid applicants. The first portion of the base loan is the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan. This loan has a fixed rate, but is set each year and based on current market rates.  The interest rate for the 2014-15 year is 6.21%. It is called an unsubsidized loan because interest begins to accrue on this loan from the date that the funds are disbursed to the student’s school account. The amount packaged in the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is determined each year and depends on other aid factors.  An announcement is sent to all students explaining the new aid policy.

Financial Aid Packages for Students Receiving External Funding

Students who do not qualify for institutional funding may borrow from several loan programs. The most common programs are the Federal Direct Loans, and, if necessary, alternative loans such as the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. Together, these loans provide sufficient funds to cover the full cost of attendance each year. Students who prefer to borrow from other alternative loan programs should carefully review all of the terms of each loan program in order to make informed decisions about borrowing plans.  Creditworthiness and repayment programs beyond graduation are factors to scrutinize when considering these loans.  It is advisable to consult the advice of the Office of Financial Aid prior to making your decision. 

Financial Aid for MD/PhD Students

During Years I and II of the MD program, MD/PhD students are eligible for financial aid on the same terms as other medical students. While enrolled in the PhD program, students receive fellowship or assistantship support including full tuition and fees and a stipend for twelve months per year for up to five years.

MD/PhD students who complete all experimental work needed for the thesis prior to re-entry into the third year of medical school receive a full tuition scholarship in the third year, and students who successfully defend their thesis prior to entry into the fourth year receive a full tuition scholarship for the final year of medical school.  Note that the tuition scholarship only covers tuition and does not cover the fees that the University charges, such as health insurance and health services fee. 

Financial Aid for International Students

Eligibility for institutional aid is determined at the point of the admission application for candidates who are neither U.S. citizens nor U.S. permanent residents.  This decision cannot be re-considered afterward.  International students who are enrolled in the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) should be aware of the AMS policy and note that financial aid will not be available to them in their medical years of study.

Outside Awards

Recipients of private loans and/or scholarships are obligated to provide the OFA with written confirmation of the annual award from the outside agency. Outside awards first reduce the student’s higher cost loans (e.g., Federal Graduate PLUS or Federal Unsubsidized Direct loans). Awards that exceed the amount borrowed through these loans then reduce the AMS loans and scholarship.

Appeal of Financial Aid Decisions

A medical student who feels that his/her application for financial aid has not been given full consideration should first discuss the matter with the director of financial aid. If, after discussing the matter with the financial aid staff, the student does not feel the award is appropriate under the University guidelines, he/she may appeal to the associate dean for medical education that has been designated by the dean of medicine and biological sciences for supervision of the OFA. The associate dean will consult with the dean of the medical school. All the matters pertaining to financial aid are confidential, and all decisions made by the dean are final.

Emergency Loans

Short-term, interest-free loans are available to students for emergency situations from AMS through the OFA.  Students are asked to complete a short application and provide a personal check for repayment upon making application.  Funding for these loans is provided by the Office of Biomed Finance and Planning. Loans are repaid to the AMS OFA within three months from the date of issuance. There are no fees associated with these loans. Since this is a small revolving loan fund, prompt repayment is expected. Failure to repay or to make satisfactory arrangements for repayment will result in the withholding of official correspondence by the school on behalf of the student, withholding transcripts and withholding of the diploma, if necessary.  Students should contact the OFA for additional information and application instruction. 

TUITION POLICIES

Definitions

Annual tuition—such amount as is fixed by the Corporation of the University for the medical school for a given academic year. The annual charge does not cover tuition for courses taken in the summer preceding the first year of medical school or between the first and second years of medical school.

Tuition Unit—one-twelfth of the annual tuition.

Full-time enrollment—for years 1 & 2, registration for all required courses. For years 3 & 4, registration in 13 to 24 weeks of clinical courses.

Half-time enrollment—at least 12 weeks of enrollment in a given semester.

Less-than-half-time enrollment—less than 12 weeks of enrollment in a given semester (Note that the minimum tuition charge assessed per semester will be for a half-quarter.)

Students are responsible for paying full-time tuition unless they take approved time away from the medical school.  Adjustment of annual tuition charges will be made for any student in the medical school who withdraws officially or who is dismissed for academic reasons, subject to the following provisions:

Years 1 and 2

1. A student who leaves the medical school prior to the beginning of the semester shall not be charged tuition for the semester.

2. A student who leaves the medical school during either Semester I or II shall be eligible for a refund of the normal charge for that semester (50% of the annual charge for the medical school) during the first five weeks only as follows:

First two weeks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80% refund

Third week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60% refund

Fourth week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40% refund

Fifth week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .20% refund

Years 3 and 4

1. The academic program for the third and fourth year of the medical school is divided into four clerkship periods (quarters) of approximately twelve weeks each.

2. A student who leaves the medical school during or at the end of the first clerkship period shall be refunded 75% of the total annual charge.

3. A student who leaves the medical school during or at the end of the second clerkship shall be refunded 50% of the total annual charge.

4. A student who leaves the medical school during or at the end of the third clerkship shall be refunded 25% of the annual charge.

5. No refund shall be made to a student who leaves the medical school during or at the end of the fourth clerkship period.

Students who have received no credit (NC) grades in coursework and must repeat the course are responsible for additional tuition payments during the academic period in which the course is repeated, unless the course is an add-on to a regular academic load, in which case no additional tuition is charged. If the course is a first or second year course, tuition is calculated on a per course basis. If the course is a clinical rotation, the tuition is calculated on a quarterly basis (e.g. the tuition charge for a 6 week clerkship would be one half-quarter).

Additional tuition is charged for courses taken beyond the traditional course load or for repetition of courses previously failed.

Delinquent Student Accounts

Brown University requires payment of tuition and fees by August 1 for first semester obligations and by January 1 for second semester obligations. Students who fail to make payment in full by these deadlines will be assessed a late payment charge of 1.5% per month on any unpaid balances. In addition, outstanding balances greater than $1,000 will prevent any student from pre-registering for any subsequent semester and may jeopardize their continued enrollment with the University.

Accounts which are not paid in full (except those on the monthly payment plan) will be referred to the University Student Account Committee for review. The committee will then meet with a representative designated by the Dean of Medicine shortly thereafter to review the student's account. The Committee's action may include cancellation of eligibility for enrollment and/or dismissal. No diploma, certificate, transcript, letter of honorable dismissal, or recommendation will be issued to any student or former student, unless all accounts are satisfactorily settled.

The Dean's designate on the University Student Account Committee will be the Associate Dean for Medical Education, or an alternate person designated by the Dean of Medicine who is familiar with the student's academic and personal situation and with the authority to withdraw the student from the University.

Withdrawals and the Return of Title IV Funds

Students must notify the Office of Medical Student Affairs (OMSA) in writing or in person to formally withdraw from the medical school. If the student received financial aid in the form of federal loans, such as the Federal Direct or Perkins Loans, then the student must also notify the AMS OFA as well. The student may be required to complete an exit interview program and satisfy other requirements as a borrower of federal loans.

When a medical student withdraws from AMS, the OMSA must determine the date of withdrawal, based on the date of the student’s last day of attendance. OMSA will work with the University Offices of the Registrar and Bursar to adjust tuition and other charges following the institutional withdrawal policy for the medical school. The policy varies for students in their first or second years and those in their third and fourth years as described above.

Students who receive federal (Title IV) loan funding, such as the Federal Direct or Perkins loans, will be subject to the Title IV Refund Policy which does not necessarily follow the University’s tuition refund policy. Instead, the medical school must determine the earned and unearned portions of the eligible Title IV aid as of the date the student ceased attendance based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance.

The calculation of Title IV funds earned by the student has no relationship to the student’s incurred institutional charges. Up through the 60% point in each semester, a pro-rata schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point in the semester, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period. For a student who withdraws after the 60% point-in-time, there are no unearned funds.