Step One: Review the Eligibility Requirements to Ensure You are Eligible
The first step in applying for financial aid is checking through the eligibility requirements to ensure you are eligible to receive financial aid before you start applying.
The eligibility requirements are:
- Must be enrolled at least half time
- Must be a US Citizen or permanent resident
- Must be making satisfactory academic progress
- Cannot be in default on a loan
- Must be registered with selective service (if required)
- Cannot have federal benefits suspended or terminated as the result of a drug conviction
If you can check off all of these requirements, move on to step two. If you have questions about any of these requirements, email us or call the financial aid office at 919-962-6117.
Step Two: Complete the FAFSA
Once you have made sure you are eligible to receive financial aid, the next step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by October 1. You must submit the FAFSA to be considered for financial aid, including need-based scholarships and loans. You can find the FAFSA form here.
You will need the following documents to complete the FAFSA:
- Your most recent tax return
- Your W-2s
- Your bank statements going back at least one month
- Your investment records
- Not needed: Your parental data, as you are considered an independent student at the graduate and professional level. See the “Determining Student and Family Contributions” paragraph below for more information and exceptions.
You will be required to create a FSA ID to get started with the FAFSA form. A FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites, including FAFSA.gov. Be sure to make note of your username and password, as you will need this every year to complete FAFSA forms. You will need to apply for financial aid each academic year. However, in subsequent years, you will only need to complete the shorter Renewal FAFSA Form.
Determining Student and Family Contributions
Financial need is an important criterion for financial aid eligibility. Financial need is determined based on the information you provide on the FAFSA and FAFSA Renewal forms. You do not need to complete a CSS Profile.
Step Three: Review and Make Corrections to Your SAR
One to two weeks after completing the FAFSA, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) via email. The SAR lists the information you reported on your FAFSA, so you can check your information for accuracy. If corrections are needed, make them immediately by following the instructions sent with your SAR. Keep a copy of the SAR for your records. If you listed the UNC-CH School of Medicine school code in the college release section of your FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will receive your information electronically. If you did not list UNC-CH SOM, you can request that your information be sent here after you receive your SAR.
Your SAR will also indicate your Expected Family Contribution, which is used to determine your eligibility for certain types of financial aid, including institutional funds. The formula to determine financial need is the Cost of Education (COE) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Expected Family Contribution represents an estimate of the ability of you and, if applicable, your family to contribute to your educational costs. This standard need analysis is called the Federal Methodology (FM) and was passed into law by Congress under the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1992. The FM uses the previous years’ income in the analysis. An “income protection allowance,” which represents the cost of basic necessities for all family members, is used in calculating the EFC. The FM allows for adjustments to be made by the Financial Aid Officer on an individual basis, with required written documentation.
Step Four: Complete Any Supplemental Documents
The last step in applying for financial aid is complete any supplemental documents requested by the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office must have all requested information back before loan applications can be certified and financial aid can be disbursed. These supplemental documents can include a Verification Form. Some students are selected for random verification by the U.S. Department of Education and must complete a Verification Form and return it to the Financial Aid Office.
Once you have submitted all of your supplemental documents, you have completed the process of applying for financial aid. The next step is receiving your financial aid, and you can find out more about how to receive your financial aid here.